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Worried That I've Been Taking Unprescribed Adderall to Study

Published: September 05, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am a University student about to finish my final year of study. Sometimes, when I really need to cram I'll buy an adderall off someone- typically 50 mg. I know how dangerous this can be, but sometimes the pressure builds up and I really need to buckle down. Recently, I've taken 3 in the past 2 week for major study sessions. I'm starting to feel the effects less and less, and worried i have damaged my own brain chemistry. I'm planning to stop this method for good. Have i potentially harmed my own reward centre, and my ability to stay focused on my own? Am I showing signs of drug dependance
Signed: Worried That I've Been Taking Unprescribed Adderall to Study

Dear Worried That I've Been Taking Unprescribed Adderall to Study,

TeenHealthFX understands that balancing schoolwork with other responsibilities can be overwhelming. However, the primary purpose of Adderall is to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and thus, TeenHealth strongly discourages utilizing Adderall for your studies.

It is important to remember that study drugs are stimulants, meaning they can increase alertness, energy, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure for a short time, however do not increase learning or thinking ability. The “feel-good period” associated with study drugs lasts only a few hours. Once it ends, students are often left feeling physically sluggish, and disappointed with their work performance.

Additionally, there are serious medical problems that can potentially result from high dosages of Adderall, including yet not limited to:

  • Heart failures
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregualr heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Stroke


FX believes that there are various ways to improve your study habits and reduce the stress that is causing you to turn to study drugs. These include:

1. Take study breaks every 20-25 minutes. Do not cram all of your studying into one session. Rather, engage in shorter study session more frequently. Take 20-25 minute breaks during your study sessions in order to reduce stress.   

2. Exercise. Engaging in physical activity can stimulate brain power. Identify a physical activity that you enjoy (running, yoga, basketball, etc.) and incorporate it into your weekly routine.

3. Eat healthy & get enough sleep. Your brain performs best when your body is filled with good nutrients and has at least 7-8 hours of sleep.

4. Find a study buddy. Identifying a friend who you study well with can make the overall process of studying enjoyable. You and your study buddy can work together to explain difficult content to one another. Scheduling meetings a few times per week will eliminate the tendency to cram studying into one night, and will allow you enough time to fully grasp educational content.


You can also read the following resources:


TeenHealthFX is glad to hear that you plan to stop your study-drug intake. If, at any time you find difficulty in doing so, or experience withdrawal, FX advises you to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician and/or therapist.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX