Adderall

Adderall

“Do you take Adderall?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“So I don’t fail college.”

My first interaction with ADHD medication was in college.  I had heard of “Addys” in high school, but had never used them or really been around anyone who did.  Now, it is everywhere I go.  The longer I have been in school, the more I have realized that almost everyone I know takes ADHD medication regularly.  Adderall is the lifeblood of any college campus.  Its almost ritualistic.  If you walk into the campus library, you can see who is on it.  People sit down, lay out all their things, and just work for hours and hours at a time.  I have been in the library and seen students using the water from the public fountains to take pills.

Life in college is stressful, we have massive amounts of intellectual work to be done, we are financially strapped, and we binge drink like there is no tomorrow.  This intensity that exists in every aspect of college life, has lead to students self medicating in order to stay on top.

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***

About half way through my Junior year, everyone around me was burnt out and exhausted.  Many of us had been using Adderall or Ritalin in order to do their homework since freshman year.  This was when one of my good friends made a decision.  She made an appointment, drove home, and went to the doctor with the sole purpose of being diagnosed with ADHD.  It worked, she left with a prescription to Ritalin.  Now, she doesn’t have to bug people for their medication, instead she goes to the pharmacy once a month and gets it for herself.  We are now seniors.  She has spent one year using Ritalin every day.  She has lost around 70 pounds, she tells me that eating is just not a priority when she’s on it.  She smokes about a pack every two days now.  She would say that she is glad she made the decision to get prescribed.  I am not so sure.

***

“What does Adderall feel like?”

“Like I can do anything.  Not even just that, it’s that I want to do everything too.”

When you sit down to write a paper, it takes a while to get into it.  You look around.  You listen to the person tapping their foot behind you.  You stare at your screen blankly.  Your mind just wanders.  But, when you’re on Adderall.  Your mind just works.  You sit down, you lay out your things and you go.  It feels like you can do it.  ADHD meds make you feel really good.  They make you feel accomplished at everything.  You write a paragraph and the only thing in the world you want to do is to write the next paragraph.

Are people supposed to be able to work on a computer for six hours?  Are we drugging ourselves to force our bodies to do things that they shouldn’t be able to do?

I think the answer is probably yes.

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