Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Adderall Abuse After College

If Calvin took Ritalin.
 
 
 NYT
"The number of stimulant misusers who become addicted is unclear. But supply has risen sharply: About 2.6 million American adults received A.D.H.D. medication in 2012, a rise of 53 percent in only four years, according to Express Scripts, the nation’s largest prescription-drug manager. Use among adults 26 to 34 almost doubled.
Most experts say a proper evaluation for the disorder typically requires an extensive inquiry into a patient’s history of impulsivity and inattention. Yet misusers routinely described brief chats with doctors to get a prescription. Two lawyers in Houston said wearing a suit to their appointments guaranteed no scrutiny.
Those lawyers said they and dozens of young colleagues at their firms had casually traded pills to work into the night and billed hundreds of extra hours a year in the race for partnerships.
One said he had originally taken 20 milligrams of Adderall a day, moving up to 100 milligrams — almost double the highest dose recommended by the Food and Drug Administration — by getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, a felony in Texas. His productivity, he said, thrilled his unquestioning bosses and clients.
Then came the downside: rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating and acute anxiety due to sleep loss. These overwhelmed any positive effects on his work performance, he said, and transformed his personality to the point that his wife divorced him. After he lost his job, he spent six weeks at a drug treatment center."

The article includes a link to this research article which reviews the research on ADHD medication: 1) they don't improve the academic performance (e.g., GPAs) of students taking the drugs (but they do reduce behavioral disruptions); and, 2) they don't enhance the cognitive abilities of people without ADHD. If you need to stay up and study during this exam week -- have a cup of coffee.




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