It is not news that people are using different versions of Adderall, a stimulant that uses amphetamine used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in order to keep their productivity up and running.
However, this practice used to be more prominent among students who needed the boost during finals; nowadays, Adderall abuse has been making its way into the work force. Even though there isn’t reliable information about the number of American people misusing stimulants in the workplace, there are, however, dozens of interviews showing this.
People from a wide range of professions have confessed to have abused of amphetamine-based medicine such as Vyvanse, Adderall or Ritalin because they felt their work performance was lacking without it. The majority of them wanted to remain anonymous because they were concerned about losing their positions or even their sources of medication.
On one hand, doctors are worried about the health of the people who abuse such stimulants, as they can have various side effects, from mild anxiety to hallucinations and addiction. On the other hand, medical ethicists have expressed their concern for the pressure that grows in the workplace – where few who use medication might pressure more into hopping on the Adderall train.
According to Dr. Kimberly Dennis, medical chief of Timberline Knolls, a treatment center for substance-abuse that helps women in the Chicago area, said that not only students, but more and more adults in the age range of 25 and 45 are starting to have problems with addiction.
During interviews, the majority of users said they have been prescribed pills by inattentive doctors who don’t do proper evaluations – mostly for faking A.D.H.D. symptoms. ADHD is a more recent disorder that describes serious lack of attention and severe impulsivity.
In the U.S., it is a federal crime to buy and distribute stimulants without a prescription. However, the most serious consequences of abuse seem to be addiction and overdose. The number of people (aged 18 to 34) coming to the emergency room due to stimulant abuse has tripled since 2005 – reaching 23,000.
That is still not the final number, as this report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration dates back to 2013. Since then, more adults have become either addicted, or have experienced an episode of overdosing.
Smart pills – a crutch?
It is still under medical debate if and how much amphetamine-based stimulants help with work performance. However, more young workers confess that such drugs increase their productivity and help them get hired instead of high.
In a recent interview, Dr. Wilson Compton, the representative director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explains that the rates of drug abuse during college should prompt experts to better understand how to help them become better adults once they leave college.
In spite of Adderall and other stimulants being dubbed as “smart pills”, there is little evidence they actually improve the ability of understanding and learning. Instead, they give a boost to your attention and motivation, which in turn can increase your productivity.
There are several industries which have taken measures against the use of stimulants in the workplace. Their reasons range between safety of staff and fairness to the colleagues who don’t use any medical boosts.
For example, the Federal Aviation Administration has banned medications among pilots. Amphetamine abuse was well-known among baseball players and other athletes who used them so they could survive impossible travel schedules and huge amounts of pressure. That had changed when only players with confirmed ADHD diagnosis could continue using drugs as performance-enhancers.
So far, there isn’t any formal assessment of abuse among adults in the work force, as studies have mostly focused on measuring the popularity of amphetamines with college students. But according to Dr. Anjan K. Chatterjee, head of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and specialist in cognitive enhancement, said that abuse is on the rise, even if we don’t have conclusive data.
For kids who used Adderall during high school and college, it’s only normal to continue using it when they enter the work force. That’s why the number of people using it (and those who have become addicted to it) is so difficult to assess.
Is it worth it?
But according to the increased supply, it’s not that difficult to imagine. In 2012, more than 2.6 million American adults have been prescribed some ADHD medication – rising to 53 percent in only four years. This report was provided by Express Scripts, the biggest prescription-drug manager in the U.S.
Proper evaluations before prescribing such medication are almost completely absent; according to experts, it requires a thorough inquiry into the attention deficit and impulsivity of the patient.
Testimonies started following a pattern during the interviews: slow start, only 20 milligrams of Adderall a day – just enough to keep them in the race for partnerships or scholarships. Soon, the dosage ups to 100 milligrams, exceeding the recommended dose by the Food and Drug Administration. With productivity on the rise, both bosses and professors refuse to question the patient about the sudden boost.
Soon after, side effects show up: excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, anxiety and sleep deprivation. Positive effects are then quickly counterbalanced, to the point that any previous boost in performance is not worth the price.
With assistance, most of these people eventually end up in a drug treatment center, learning how to live without this crutch – because that is what stimulants become in the end: a helping crutch, which eventually ruins you.
Image Source: Serving Joy
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