Back to School: Adderall Abuse Among College Students

Last Updated on August 18, 2022

Back to School - Adderall can help you focus for studying, but is the risk of addiction worth it?

It’s back to school time again, which means cramped dorm living, mountains of coursework, and strict professors. Let’s face it, college comes with a lot of stress and responsibility with not much in the way of leniency for failure. Relying on caffeine and Adderall to finish up a paper due at midnight might seem like a harmless option—as long as it doesn’t become a habit. But Adderall is an amphetamine that can be highly addictive if used improperly. 

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a synthetic central nervous stimulant advertised to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Basically, it helps you stay focused and control impulses so you don’t find yourself scrolling Twitter instead of taking notes on a video lecture.

When properly prescribed and monitored by a doctor, Adderall is harmless. In fact, it can be quite a useful tool for students diagnosed with attention disorders. But many students abusing Adderall hold no prescription for the drug and instead buy it from friends or classmates.

Why College Students Abuse It

In a 2018 survey, an estimated 20% of college students admitted to abusing prescription stimulants like Adderall. Many students innocently start out using Adderall to help them pass classes and progressively begin relying on it more and more. Some students also report that because Adderall is a stimulant, it makes them feel more social and energized enough to attend parties. Obviously, finding a good balance between studying and socializing is important. But relying on an amphetamine to help you get the best of both worlds is dangerous

Adderall Side Effects

The side effects of Adderall abuse have visible indicators. Anxiety and restlessness can lead to a disrupted sleep pattern and tremors. Other common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry Mouth
  • Decrease in Appetite 
  • Constipation
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

Research also suggests that misuse of the drug could lead to worsened memory retention but more testing is needed. Memory loss isn’t exactly ideal when you’re trying to study for an exam. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that these are all side effects when Adderall is being used correctly. All of the conditions listed above are much more debilitating when the drug is being abused.


Overdosing on Adderall isn’t common but it’s also not impossible. If you’re taking the drug without a prescription and the supervision of a doctor, it can be very easy to lose track of dosage. Some signs of an overdose include:

  • Rapid Breathing
  • Stomach Pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever


Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance which identifies it as a drug with a high abuse risk. Meaning people who abuse Adderall will likely require the assistance of a rehabilitation facility to control their addiction. Nova Recovery Center is committed to helping you overcome your addiction so you can get back to school with confidence. If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, Nova Recovery Center can provide support. We have locations in Austin, Houston, and Wimberley Texas. Call today to begin your journey in recovery at (888) 428-1501.

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