The Dangers of Study Drugs

What is now popularly called a study drug began as medication prescribed for people suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy. People use study drugs for their brain-enhancing and educational benefits. They are popular with older teens and young adults, especially college students. According to NeuroHealth, 26% of college students have used study drugs. 

These drugs are also popular with adults in work environments that require them to remain focused while processing large amounts of information. 

What are Study Drugs?

Study drugs are amphetamines. They are prescription drugs classified as central nervous system stimulants. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified many amphetamines as Schedule II drugs. Schedule II drugs have a medically approved use but have a high potential for addiction or abuse. When used as prescribed, the medication is safe and helps people with ADD or ADHD to stay focused.

When Study Drug are Misused

When used illegally, without a prescription, they give people an extra boost of focus, concentration, and energy. They also suppress an individual’s appetite and decrease their need for sleep. 

The most common medications used as study drugs are Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, and Modafinil.

Street Names for Study Drugs

  1. Study drugs are known, in general, as Cramming Drugs, Kiddy Coke, Kiddie Cocaine, and Beans.
  2. Ritalin is commonly known as Smart Drug, Skippy, Smarties, Diet Coke, Vitamin R, West Coast, R Ball, and Poor Man’s Cocaine.
  3. Adderall is known as Black Beauties, Bennies, Speed, Uppers, Addys, Study Buddies, Copilots, Truck Drivers, and Zing.
  4. Additional street names include Pep Pills, Skittles, Kibbles and Bits, Pineapple, Smart Pills, and Dexies.

How Do Study Drugs Affect the Brain?

The chemical structures of prescription stimulants are similar to the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the chemicals the brain releases when nerve cells send messages back and forth. When a person takes the drug, it increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in an increase in brain activity, enhanced concentration and focus, an increase in energy levels, activation of the brain’s reward center, and a feeling of euphoria.

How Do Study Drugs Affect the Body?

Study drugs increase the body’s natural rhythm. They increase the person’s heart rate and raise their blood pressure, putting them at risk for stroke or heart attack. Stimulants increase the individual’s body temperature, activate their metabolism, and cause them to have shortness of breath. 

Study Drugs: Dependency, Tolerance, and Addiction

Just like any other drug that changes the way the brain’s neurotransmitters function, repeated use of study drugs builds tolerance, meaning that more of the drug is needed to have an effect. Once tolerance is created, dependency on the drug follows. When the person stops taking the drug, they will experience physical withdrawal symptoms. Over time, addiction develops – a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. 

Side Effects of Study Drugs

When study drugs are not taken as prescribed or taken without a prescription, they can have potentially serious physical and mental side effects. The person often experiences increased anxiety, depression, irritation, agitation, and nervousness. Their heart rate increases and can become irregular. Their body temperature increases, and their blood pressure rises. Muscle spasms, tremors, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and excessive sweating are common. They may lose their appetite, feel fatigued, and suffer from insomnia.

Additional side effects of study drugs include:

  • Reduced or loss of sex drive
  • Psychosis 
  • Risk of accidental overdose from taking counterfeit pills containing unknown substances
  • Risk of seizure, stroke, and cardiac event

English Mountain Recovery Can Help

If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, you are not alone. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that can affect anyone. It is treatable, and we can help.

At English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, our skilled professionals will provide you with the care you need to regain control of your life. English Mountain Recovery offers a gender-specific, 12-step treatment program for your physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that will put you on a positive track.

Take the first step on your path to recovery. Contact us today.