Why be Wary of Study Drugs: More commonly referred to as Study Buddies, Smart Drugs, and Brain Steroids. What are they, who uses them, and why?
Study drugs are stimulants taken by students who think using them will increase their grades, alertness, and energy. There are many names for different stimulants used by students as study aids. A few names for study drugs include study buddies, smart drugs, and brain steroids.
Most commonly used for study drugs are:
- amphetamines like Adderall, Dexedrine, or Vyvanse
- methylphenidates like Ritalin or Concerta
Are study drugs safe and effective?
If you think it’s safe to use study drugs, you are not alone. In a 2018 study of US undergraduates, stimulants were thought to improve grades. Some students surveyed were unsure about their use but thought they may have a positive effect and using them regularly was safe.
In fact, study drugs do not increase your learning or thinking ability, they don’t miraculously make you smarter, and they can cause many negative side effects from a lengthy list of possibilities.
Misinformation is rampant these days and the misinformation regarding study drugs affects how students perceive using them. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about the use of stimulants to improve studies.
- Contrary to popular belief, study drugs don’t make you smarter, they actually worsen short term memory and increase distraction and anxiety. The use of stimulants when not properly prescribed for ADHD by a doctor, can create feelings of impulsivity and make concentrating on studies difficult. Research shows that students who use study drugs have lower grade point averages than students who are not impaired by, reliant on, or addicted to stimulants.
- Prescription Drugs are not safe when used unprescribed. When stimulants are used as study drugs, the side effects can range from unpleasant to dangerous. The side effects list is long and can include irregular heartbeats, increased blood pressure, restlessness, anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, headache, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, and even impotence.
- Stimulants are highly addictive and fall under the same category as fentanyl, cocaine, and morphine, all of which are monitored by the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
- It is illegal to use, sell, or buy stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription, and it can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. Selling controlled stimulant substances is a crime that can result in criminal penalties and even jail.
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