Drug and Alcohol

How Do I Know if My Adult Child Is Abusing Study Drugs?

How Do I Know if My Adult Child Is Abusing Study Drugs?

Study drugs are dangerous stimulants that can do more harm than good to a person's academic career, especially when abused.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

July 6, 2022

Academics come with many stresses. Between tests, assignments, class participation, and more, managing one's academic expectations is a difficult task. With all these stresses throughout the school year, a student may feel as if they need to study more and harder, even at the expense of their health.

Study drugs are a common, if dangerous, way that some students attempt to cope with this pressure. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of this form of prescription drug abuse can help individuals better care for and support an adolescent child while managing the academic stresses they face. 

What Are Study Drugs?

Study drugs are prescription stimulants some students take to stay awake and increase focus while studying, taking tests, or completing assignments. Their use has become common among students on both high school and college campuses to prepare for tests, finals, or even just to maintain a perceived sufficient number of study hours.

These stimulants are typically prescription drugs intended to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly amphetamines like Adderall or methylphenidates like Ritalin

Even when used with an academic focus in mind, their use comes with a myriad of detrimental effects. Their addictive properties can compromise one's academic career and physical and mental health. Identifying the signs and symptoms of the use of study drugs is the first step in helping an adolescent or young adult cease their use and prioritize mental and physical health over a grade. 

Due to the perceived positive benefits of study drugs for one's academic career, and the fact that study drugs are prescribed, many students get the impression that they come without dangers.

However, these drugs are highly addictive and can be easily abused when used outside of a prescription, causing a number of dangerous symptoms and side effects that not only impact one's health but actively work against one's academic goals. 

Study Drug Abuse: The Effects of Study Drugs

The use of study drugs has several effects on the body and mind, many of which are detrimental to academic success: the very thing they are taken to try and improve. They include:

  • Increased and irregular heartbeat

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Nervousness

  • Anxiety

  • Panic

  • Compromised appetite

These symptoms are all common as a result of abusing study drugs.

With these side effects, an individual can do more damage to their academic performance than they would gain through their use. 

For some, staying awake to study compromises their need for rest, and can leave an individual exhausted when it comes time to take the test one has been studying for. Others may find that this forced kind of focus doesn't necessarily translate to effective learning strategies.

A compromised appetite can further negatively impact one's focus and health, not only working against one's physical and mental health but also harming their academic performance. The health costs of study drug abuse may cause individuals to stay home sick and miss classes or assignments or miss out on or lose opportunities because their health has become so poor.

Dangers of Study Drug Abuse

Study drugs can be especially dangerous when taken without a prescription. Even those that decide to only take it once or twice can find themselves in danger as their bodies are not accustomed to the drug, making overdose possible.

Overdosing on stimulants can lead to heart attack, seizures, stroke, and liver failure. These dangers can be further exacerbated if an individual is combining them with other drugs or alcohol. This is an especially prevalent concern on college campuses, often called “crossfading.”

Signs of Study Drug Abuse

There are a number of effects that come with the use of study drugs. Some of the signs of their use include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Skipping meals

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Restlessness

  • Spasms

  • Delusions

However, this is not an extensive list of potential symptoms, and there are other behavioral signs that may indicate that a young adult is abusing study drugs. 

Behavioral Impact of Study Drug Abuse

Anyone abusing study drugs can also exhibit some changes in their daily routine. Noticing that a child is awake at inconsistent or irregular times, skipping meals, spending excessive times at the library or studying in their room, or having sudden boosts in energy at irregular times can all be signs that they may be abusing study drugs.

As one's use of these drugs develops into dependence and abuse, one may also change social groups or become more isolated in their behaviors.

The abuse of these drugs can also have a counterproductive effect on one's scholastic career, with dwindling grades or class attendance. This can create a dangerous cycle where one abuses study drugs in an attempt to perform better in their academics, but doing so actually compromises their grade, thus facilitating the idea that they need more of the drugs to “catch up.”

Identifying these signs is essential for creating an honest understanding of the detrimental effects of study drugs and knowing how best to proceed. It is never too late to address the use of these drugs and create a healthier, more effective approach to one's academic performance in recovery

Get Treatment for Study Drug Addiction at The Edge Treatment Center Today!

Study drugs like Adderall set a dangerous precedent in the academic sphere, and identifying the use and abuse of these drugs is the first step in creating a healthier approach to academic achievement.

At The Edge Treatment Center, we understand the difficult and dangerous side effects that these study drugs can present and are prepared to help you take your academics into your own hands while helping you break free from the use of these substances. Your time with us can be personalized to fit your needs, with programs designed to help you challenge your use of these drugs while continuing your academic career.

To learn more, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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