Misuse of Adderall
Misuse of Adderall
“Adderall improved attention compared to the placebo, but that’s because it’s a central nervous system stimulant,” Weyandt explains, “If you drink caffeine, doesn’t that make it easier for you to focus? But it’s not going to help you write extreme prose,” she says.
Weyandt and White have a theory that elegantly explains why Adderall isn’t the smart pill some make it out to be. Adderall helps to improve cognitive function the same way that glasses might improve eyesight. But glasses only help you if you have a vision impairment in the first place. “If you have a friend whose vision is fine and they put on glasses, it doesn’t improve their vision,” she explains. “It’s not going to suddenly give them super vision.”
Abstract: Prescription stimulant medications are considered a safe and long-term effective treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Studies support that stimulants enhance attention, memory, self-regulation and executive function in individuals with ADHD. Recent research, however, has found that many college students without ADHD report misusing prescription stimulants, primarily to enhance their cognitive abilities. This practice raises the question whether stimulants actually enhance cognitive functioning in college students without ADHD. We investigated the effects of mixed-salts amphetamine (i.e., Adderall, 30 mg) on cognitive, autonomic and emotional functioning in a pilot sample of healthy college students without ADHD (n = 13), using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design. The present study was the first to explore cognitive effects in conjunction with mood, autonomic effects, and self-perceptions of cognitive enhancement. Results revealed that Adderall had minimal, but mixed, effects on cognitive processes relevant to neurocognitive enhancement (small effects), and substantial effects on autonomic responses, subjective drug experiences, and positive states of activated emotion (large effects). Overall, the present findings indicate dissociation between the effects of Adderall on activation and neurocognition, and more importantly, contrary to common belief, Adderall had little impact on neurocognitive performance in healthy college students. Given the pilot design of the study and small sample size these findings should be interpreted cautiously. The results have implications for future studies and the education of healthy college students and adults who commonly use Adderall to enhance neurocognition.