If you’re studying for the SATs (which may not even count!) and busting your butt to balance awesome grades with a social life and activities, chances are you or someone you know have thought about study drugs. In a lot of cases, students who try study drugs think they’re pretty harmless–they’ll just help you focus, stay awake, and maybe memorize some more dates for that big AP History exam, right?
Not so much. Study drugs are serious and so are their consequences. A new report says that the increased pressure for students to succeed–and the definition of that success–is driving a skyrocketing number of teens to dabble in, and sometimes get addicted to, study drugs.
These study drugs are usually prescriptions for Adderall and other amphetamines, as well as Ritalin and various methylphenidates. These prescriptions can be highly addictive and super dangerous if they’re not used properly–that is, under a doctor’s supervision. The meds are designed to soothe and calm patients who legitimately suffer from things like ADHD, but students who don’t suffer from the disorders often use the study drugs for energy and focus.
Problem is, these study drugs have some scary side effects, especially if someone gets hooked on them–which is pretty easy to do, considering you’re under such an insane amount of pressure from parents, teachers, and coaches to be perfect. Abusing study drugs can lead to heart problems (since they’re stimulants, they can speed it up to dangerous rates), mood swings and exhaustion (since they keep you up, they can also cause severe sleep deprivation), and even psychosis if you suffer from withdrawal. And if you suffer from sleep deprivation, you may in turn look to sleep aids to help you come down from your “study drug high”–and risk getting hooked on those, too. That’s some really terrifying stuff, girls!
Aside from the physical risks, there are legal ones, too. Study drugs can land you in rehab or jail if you abuse or distribute them (since you’re, in the eyes of the law, dealing drugs if you hand over a pill to a pal), and that will make it even harder to get into your first choice college. Plus, there’s a moral angle to this too: Study drugs can be viewed as a form of cheating, since not everyone has access to them, and they can pose an unfair advantage to those students breaking the law to use them. Not cool!
Obviously, you want to do well. We don’t blame you, and we are totally supportive and super proud of you for being so motivated and generally kicking ass. We also think a lot of you are under way too much pressure–from your parents, from your teachers, from your sports coaches, from your activities directors. And when it starts to get to be too much, it’s only natural to look for a way to deal with everything on your plate. But it’s important to remember that in order to be truly successful, you need a balance, and using study drugs will only bring you further away from that.
A better solution is just to take a deep breath, map out your obligations, and take something off your plate if you don’t love it and if you’re not doing it for you. Trust us–mom and dad may be a little bummed that you don’t want to follow in their footsteps with ballet or xylophone lessons, but they’ll be a lot more upset if you’re hooked on drugs or sent to juvey.
Do you think students are under too much pressure to be perfect?Do you know anyone who uses study drugs? Have you ever tried study drugs? Do you think study drugs is a form of cheating? Tell us in the comments!