Does the Adderall serve to study better and concentrate more?
We live in an extremely competitive society, in which a high level of performance and productivity is demanded in practically all areas of life and continuously. Work and access to the labor market is one of the areas where most can be seen. Studies are another of them, especially at university level: young students are subjected to a lot of pressure in order to pass and get the highest possible grade in order to stand out and be able to obtain in the future the best job they can achieve, arriving at times to make marathon efforts in exam season.
The pressure can become excessive, to the point that some people decide to resort to some substances and drugs that can supposedly facilitate concentration and cognitive ability. One of these substances is a psychostimulant drug called Adderall, designed to treat various disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Does the Adderall serve to study and concentrate? It's something we're going to talk about throughout this article.
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What is Adderall?
The medicine known as Adderall is a type of psychopharmaceutical with high-potency stimulant properties , which is formed by the combination of two types of amphetamine salts. Specifically, it is a synthetic substance that arises from the combination of dextroamphetamine (75%) and levamfetamine (25%).
This substance acts greatly increases the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain, being agonist of the receptors of these neurotransmitters at presynaptic level. It also generates an agonist action in the serotonin receptors, but the effect on this neurotransmitter is much lower.
The effects of this drug are in practice similar to those of cocaine , generating an increase in brain activity as well as feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, reduced reaction time to stimuli and resistance to fatigue and sleep, as well as an increase in the ability to focus and mental alertness . It also seems to generate an increase in the ability to motivate oneself, as well as an improvement of the capacity and physical resistance and alterations in the libido, frequently causing an increase in it. It also reduces the need to rest and sleep, as well as the appetite and the perception of the need to hydrate.
When it's used?
Adderall is mainly thought of as a drug that, in small doses and correctly prescribed, allows the treatment of different alterations. Thus, the main application of this drug, for sale with a prescription, is of therapeutic orientation.
Specifically Adderall is indicated in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , generating in subjects with this disorder an improvement in their capacity for self-control, in the reduction of disruptive behaviors and in the focus of attention. It also enhances your ability to motivate and concentrate.
This may seem counterintuitive, given that amphetamines tend to increase activity and energy and that at a symptomatic level many children with ADHD present great restlessness and energy, but it has been observed in those who have this disorder that there is a cerebral level a deficit and dysregulation of dopamine and noradrenaline in different brain nuclei.
Another disorder in which Adderall is indicated is in narcolepsy, presenting some effectiveness in reducing daytime sleepiness.
But Adderall's psychostimulant abilities have not only been used therapeutically. Given that in a population without any of the above disorders the effects are similar to those of cocaine, it has been observed that it is often used recreationally, due to its euphoric properties. Likewise, like other derivatives of amphetamines have sometimes been used by athletes in order to enhance their performance and reduce fatigue and fatigue.
Finally and since it seems to favor the ability to concentrate, cognitive ability, mental lucidity or even memory capacity, it is being seen that Adderall is increasingly used by students in order to enhance their abilities for study, . In other words, it is used as a nootropic, although its use should always be indicated by doctors . It is about this last application that we will focus on.
Is it really good to study?
The studies on the nootropic properties of the Adderall have been investigated by different groups of experts, finding that Although Adderall generates an increase in some cognitive capacities it also generates a detrimental effect in other , in such a way that the subject's global capacity does not improve too much. Also, through experiments with cases in which part of the participants consumed this drug and others were given a placebo, it was observed that there were no statistically significant differences in performance level.
Specifically, in a recent experiment it was observed that the subjects taking Adderall did they showed an increase in attention capacity and tended to give a greater number of answers (although this does not imply that they were correct), although in the execution of memory tasks they showed a worse performance.
One result that has also been interesting is the fact that the euphoric properties of Adderall they generated a sensation of notorious activation and it enhanced the subjective feeling of feeling better and more sure of herself.
Other studies show that it allows increasing the level of activity, energy and concentration, but that nevertheless seems to reduce the creativity of those who consume it by decreasing sensitivity to new stimuli by generating hyperfocalization.
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Possible risks of its use
Regardless of whether or not it has a nootropic effect, when Adderall is used therapeutically, the doses used are carefully measured by professionals who will issue a therapeutic dose and reduce side effects as much as possible. But nevertheless, its use as a nootropic or stimulant drug It usually occurs in doses that are not controlled and do not take into account possible side effects, which can be serious.
Among its risks we can find the appearance of insomnia problems, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, erectile dysfunction, depression (after passing the effect), irritability, headaches, hypersudation, lack of appetite and tachycardia. It can cause cardiac problems such as arrhythmias, and in severe cases, it can cause heart attacks or strokes.
In high doses it can also generate neurotoxicity and loss of cognitive faculties, hallucinations and delusions and kidney problems. Also in certain doses it is possible that Adderall causes addiction (although in the therapeutic doses this risk
That is why it is contraindicated for people with heart problems, diabetes, kidney or liver problems, psychotic disorders, anorexia nervosa, glaucoma, thyroid problems, epilepsy, bipolarity, Tourette syndrome or depression. It is also contraindicated for diabetics.
- Rettew, D. (2018). Does Adderall Make You Smarter ?. Psychology Today [Online]. Available at: //www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/abcs-child-psychiatry/201807/does-adderall-make-you-smarter.
- Weyandt, L.L, White, T.L., et al. (2018). Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students. Pharmacy, 6 (3): 58.