Around test season, tensions get high. Whether it’s midterms, finals, or an SAT, people can get pretty stressed about how they do on a test. They may have their career, their scholarship, or simple pressure to do well upon them. It could be some combination of more than one. They may be trying to live up to a family legacy, or show up one of their friends.
No matter what their personal reasons, most people want to pass their tests. But as you go through school, there seems to be less and less time to study. Whether they have other things (a job, friends, parties, sports, etc.) interfering or simply have a larger study load, some students have a lot of trouble getting everything they need to do done in time.
Some Students Have Been Looking to Outside Help Through Drugs
Some students have started to use stimulants to help them boost their production. Stimulants work by increasing the dopamine levels in your system. The chemical dopamine naturally occurs in the brain, and it influences senses such as pleasure, attention, and movement. When the dopamine is increased, these functions go into high gear. Stimulants that are abused cause the individual to feel less hungry, more awake, and more aware of what’s happening around them.
Students have been using stimulants, such as Ritalin, which is often prescribed to patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, in order to get these kinds of effects. The increased attention and wakefulness allows them to really cram information in. This is especially helpful right before a big test or something like midterms and finals.
They can get it from friends or family, and taken in the right dosage (approximately 10 milligrams), it boosts a person’s ability to stay up late doing last minute studying. Students like the drug because it is pretty cheap as well as being effective. With just a few dollars per pill, many students find that they can scrape together enough pennies to help them get the grade when the time comes.
A survey was done across four universities of more than seventeen thousand students in Australia. The number of people using these methods was higher than we had previously believed it to be. Some researchers worry that if the rate is higher than previously thought in Australia, it could be much more common than we think it is here in the United States too.
Stimulants + Alcohol
Aside from the dangerous effects of using and abusing drugs on their own, there is a great concern about if the students are mixing the stimulants with alcohol. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly popular. The mixing of stimulants and depressants (drugs and alcohol) has become a habit that nearly seventy five percent of students surveyed across the United States and Europe indulge in. This leads to bigger issues.
A study done on the effects of combining alcohol with the stimulant Red Bull (the energy drink) showed that people imbibing these concoctions are more likely to drink more than they should, get involved in physical violence, get hurt, and drive under the influence.
Though this is most common at parties, students often have to use this method too. They get the rush and energy from their stimulants, but then have to bring themselves back down with a depressant like alcohol. This brings them into a dangerous cycle of their energy levels going way up and then crashing down.
How to Recognize ADHD Abuse
Here are some signs to watch for to tell if someone you know is indulging in this dangerous habit:
1. Watch for connections to ADHD. Whether they suffer from the problem themselves, or have a close friend/family member with the problem, knowing someone with ADHD opens an easy access door to the stimulants prescribed to handle it.
2. Abrupt changes in friends or who people hang out with. This could be connected to getting a new supplier.
3. Sudden changes in mood. Study drugs are no different than other drugs in the sense of how they can affect a person.
4. Watch for physical signs of being high, such as unusual energy, small pupils, fast speech, etc.
5. Another sign can be a change in sleeping patterns.
Drugabuse.gov: Stimulant ADHD Medications – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/stimulant-adhd-medications-methylphenidate-amphetamines
Abc.net.au: Students Using Drugs for Study and Exams – http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2013/s3875731.htm
Dailymail.co.uk: Why Red Bull and Vodka is a Recipe for Trouble – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2419579/Why-Red-Bull-vodka-recipe-trouble-Mixing-alcohol-energy-drinks-harmful-previously-thought.html