As high school and college students strive for success, some turn to so-called “study drugs” to give them an advantage. While some are prescribed drugs to help them focus due to a diagnosed medical condition, they may misuse them. Students wind up with drugs they are not intended for. When this happens, addiction can surface, leading to serious consequences. As we look at just what these study drugs are, we’ll also look at how they affect the brain and how addiction treatment in Prescott can help.
What are Study Drugs?
Study drugs, or prescription stimulants, are often medications that are prescribed to treat medical conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs are often referred to as “study drugs” because people started taking them without being prescribed, thinking they would help them perform better in school and while completing their assignments.
Common drugs that fall under this category include:
Many of these drugs are amphetamines. Statistics show that these types of study drugs are being misused by about 4% of older teens and emerging adults. When it comes to study drugs, it’s also important to recognize that:
- 15% of college students have used a medication that was not prescribed for them
- 50% of teens and young adults who were prescribed “study drugs” for medical conditions have been asked or have given their medication to someone who was not prescribed it
Misusing prescription stimulants can lead to addiction, negative reactions, and other medical complications.
Why Do People Use Study Drugs?
Students mainly use study drugs because they think they would help them perform better while studying or finishing their assignments.
They may also take them for the following reasons:
- To be more productive in class
- To have more energy
- To stay up late to study
While some students may take study drugs when they feel as though they need them, others take them as part of their daily routine. Those who take these types of drugs without being diagnosed with ADHD may feel as though they can stay up and get more done. But studies show these drugs do not have the impact people think. They may slow metabolic activation in someone who does not have ADHD and weaken their cognitive performance.
If people with ADHD take these drugs, they may not get the results they were looking for because stimulants can have a calming effect on people who have ADHD
How do Study Drugs Affect the Brain and Body?
Study drugs increase the dopamine and serotonin levels in parts of your brain that are linked to motivation, cognition, and actions. This alters your body’s chemistry, which can lead to certain dangers, especially when you’re taking drugs that are not intended for you.
For example, when someone takes Adderall, it stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to the brain’s reward center. When this is stimulated, the brain releases large amounts of dopamine. This provides focus, clarity, and euphoria. It also provides a sense of calmness. It creates balance for people who are supposed to take this drug as prescribed. But, for those who do not medically need it, it leads to a high that can make them want to use it again and lead to addiction.
Side Effects of Study Drugs
When you take Adderall and similar drugs, your body and brain are activated, so it may feel like you’re getting the energy rush you crave. But your body may react in dangerous ways. This can include these short-term effects:
- Elevated heart rate or irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
When students take study drugs, they may also crash because their bodies go into overdrive when they’re taking drugs and experience elevated dopamine levels. When you stop taking the drugs, the dopamine levels drop, leading to exhaustion.
Long-Term Effects of Study Drugs
Students who take these drugs repeatedly may experience long-term effects such as: 
- Mental health Issues
- Overactive reflexes
- Personality changes
When you’re taking prescription stimulants without being monitored by a doctor, it can impact your performance in the long run. Some research has shown that study drugs can impair your ability to perform tasks that require you to adapt and be flexible. Some people find it harder to multitask or study without taking the drugs.
When your body gets used to these study drugs, you may become dependent on them. This can lead to difficulty focusing and feeling like you need higher, more frequent doses to get the same effects. Misusing these types of drugs at an early age can lead to long-term behavioral and cognitive problems.
Signs of Addiction to Study Drugs
A person may exhibit the following signs indicating that they are addicted to study drugs include:
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Social isolation
- Memory problems
- Seeming overly hyper and talkative
If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, getting them the help they need to overcome their addiction is important.
Addiction Treatment in Prescott for Study Drugs
Silver Sands Recovery offers addiction treatment in Prescott for those dealing with an addiction to study drugs. Our team works to find the best course of treatment for each person because we understand that each addiction is different, so each course of treatment needs to reflect that.
Types of treatment plans can include a 12-step rehab and holistic treatments. Many times, people will benefit most from a combination of therapies. As we discover which works best, we help our patients continue on their journey to sobriety and how to live without the drugs they depend on.
Call us today or send us a message online to learn more about our addiction treatment in Prescott and how we can help you overcome an addiction to study drugs.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.