College Q&A: To Take Adderall, Or Not To Take It…

Got some college questions? Unsure of a decision? Getting ready to head off to college?! (Lucky…) Just wanna chat it up with some really awesome chics? We’ve got the girls for you. Hit them up in the comments or shoot them an email with the subject “College Q&A”! They’ve got all the answers you need, no matter who you are.

I have been reading your advice for awhile now and I really like what you say. I’ve taken a lot of it in my own life. So here’s my question that maybe you can help with…. And don’t judge me for it, please. So finals are coming up and I really need to do well. I sorta slacked for the past couple of weeks and I need these tests to bring my grades up. My friend offered to give me some Adderall to help me with the studying. I am tempted to take it… I need all the help I can get… But I’m sorta scared? I dunno. Have you ever tried it? Would you do it?

Freaked About Failing

GPA Girl:
DO NOT take it! Look, it’s just not worth it. Adderall is a prescription medication for a reason, and if it were safe for everyone to take, it would be available over the counter. You don’t know how your body is going to react to it or what side effects it might produce in conjunction with any other medications you’re taking, and I worry about the risk of that for you. Additionally, you need to keep in mind that Adderall is not some kind of miracle drug. Even if you did take it and it was able to improve your concentration and alertness, it doesn’t have the power to magically tell you the answers on all the tests you’re going to take or whisper you steps for how to write the best papers. The only one who can do that is YOU. So make up for the time you slacked off by studying now, reviewing as much as you can, getting as much sleep as you can, and trying to relax. You’ll do just fine, and you’ll feel much better about yourself after finals are over than you would if you had taken the Adderall.

Party Girl:
No judgment on this side, for sure, so don’t worry about that! Adderall is one of those things that is a constant presence on any college campus. Some of my friends swear by it (I’m positive that they wouldn’t have survived most of their classes without it). I have tried it once, but I didn’t feel much of anything. In fact, the only effect I experienced was increased drunkenness when I celebrated finishing a 25-page paper at the bar. If I made it through all these years of drinking and cramming without Adderall, you can too. Just grab a cup of coffee/tea, all your books, and plant your ass at the library. It will add up to the same result, trust me. Good luck!

Busy Bee:
Thanks for being an avid follower of our column! Now, I want you to know that I understand how you feel. There are times in life when you may feel overwhelmed, tired, not motivated – the list goes on. Regardless, I am tempted to say that taking Adderall is not the best solution. After reading your question, I did some research on the drug effectiveness, side effects, and asked a few friends if they had any first hand experience.
As for whether or not the drug works, the answer is yes. Many credible websites claim that Adderall allows a person to be more focused and attentive. I do not doubt that taking this pill will let you get all of your studying and last minute papers done.

On the other hand, the side effects can include a loss of appetite, insomnia, headaches, fast-pounding heartbeat, diarrhea, and possible addiction. I know that this may be a one-time thing, but what if the next time you “slack off” you decide to take it again? And again? Adderall is also known as a Type II controlled substance, which means that it can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence if abused. Yes, this is an extreme case, but anything is possible.

I did ask a few acquaintances what they thought of Adderall and one of them mentioned that you will crash very heavily after it is all over. That’s just another physical and mental consequence you may have to endure. I don’t want to be the one to tell you that you will get bad karma from taking this drug, but I do want to be the one to give you these facts and my old fashioned advice. I know that you are tempted to resort to the easiest solution there is, but it’s in times like these that your actions matter most. I’m not saying that taking Adderall is in any way going to make you a bad person, but do you have enough willpower to make yourself focus?

If you decide not to take Adderall, I suggest working out or taking yoga to relieve any stress and to start new. The next step is just sitting down, envisioning your goal (in this case, it’s a passing grade) and getting to it. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to say a lot about your character and determination. Call me crazy for thinking about these things when all you want is a good grade and a job when you graduate, but in the long run, I think this is the most important thing to keep in mind. I strongly believe that you have it in you to get those grades, Adderall-free.



  1. JL says:

    I have a prescription to Ritalin a drug similar to Adderall. I must say it does help but, I would never take it illegally or give it to someone else. Both you and you're friend can get in trouble and it would not be worth it. Besides like GPA girl said, it won't magically give you the answers; however, it will definitely help a lot when used correctly. My advice? Hibernate in the library now with a large cup of coffee and see if you can get a prescription next semester (and don't share it!).

  2. L says:

    Don't take it!! Too many people I know abuse Adderall (and if you were to take it without medical reason to, then you would also be abusing) and it does more harm in the long run. Sometimes we just need to deal with the consequences of our actions without resorting to quick fixes like prescription meds. Keep a good attitude, camp out in the library and chug down some caffeine (and short workouts help to keep me up) and you're likely to get that passing grade. If not, you should feel good that you didn't resort to abusing prescription meds like too many college students do.

  3. Guy says:

    God with these responses you would have thought you were asking about crack or meth. Adderall isn't a big deal, as long as you don't make a habit out of it. I don't see a problem using it a couple times to help you study. However, becoming a serial user is a different story.

    I've used it and it was amazing. I have problems focusing and probably could get diagnosed with ADD if I really wanted. The times I used it to study I was able to power through long sessions without distractions.

    I say try it and see how it goes.

  4. Person says:

    I agree with Guy. Stop freaking out. Yeah, it's illegal to take someone else's Adderall…so is speeding and drinking underage, and I do that, too. Adderall is in that special misdemeanor category people tend to overlook, right next to weed and Perkiset.

    Honestly, I very rarely take Adderall to help me study (maybe once or twice in a year), but when I do, it's awesome. Just take it in tiny bits at a time (~5mg), so it's more of an awake feeling than a high. Obviously, there are risks associated with it (if you're stupid and take a lot you can get addicted, and if you're stupid and take it in front of a cop, you can get arrested). Just so long as you know what you're getting yourself into and aren't dumb about it.

    The insomnia and loss of appetite side effects are kind of the point, and they're also temporary. I've never had any of the other side effects mentioned.

  5. T says:

    That's weird, I was just thinking about this the other night…

  6. Linda says:

    I agree with Guy & Person 100%.

  7. Anon says:

    The results you get from studying on Adderall are similar to just cramming the night before in that you're not likely to retain this information for long. I'm a real nerd and am interested in my classes and want to retain the information for general use, not to just pass.

    I don't see much wrong with it for people who actually have serious attention issues. Using it otherwise isn't something I would do.

  8. D says:

    Lol yeah you guys stop freaking out it's not like using Adderall without a prescription is cheating or you know illegal…

    Oh wait. It is.

    But it's not like using drugs to artificially enhance ones performance has ever negativly effected anyone…

  9. FYI says:

    To D. Actually taking drugs to artifically enhance one's performance has negatively effected people. Most recently Chinese athelete's at the Olympics. Shorter Life expectencies by 20 years, Men growing boobs..women growing facial hair and because of such high levels of testosterone from the drugs that they are unable to have children. I'm not sure about the negative effects of Adderall in the long term. Just wanted to let you know you had the facts wrong.

  10. Guy says:

    All this illegal speak is hilarious. I'm sure everyone didn't drink until they turned 21 either, no? I find it so funny where people tend to draw their moral lines; usually with hypocrisy running rampant. If I had to bet, and in the less than 0.001% chance that you got "caught" taking adderall by a police officer he/she wouldn't even do anything. That can't be said about underage drinking. Let's get serious.

    Also, seeing as though a drug is anything that changes the way you think, act or feel, I guess the above posters and authors would be against the use of caffeine products for studying as well, god forbid a late night coffee artificially enhances ones performance.

  11. Caroline says:

    I took it once and I guess I had one of those "adverse side effects" you always hear about because my heart started beating really fast and I felt like I was having a panic attack. Ended up I couldn't study because I was so nervous my heart was going to explode and I only took 10 mg. Obviously that doesn't happen to everyone, but you have to be careful.

  12. steph says:

    I'm on Adderall for ADHD and have been for many years. Just a tip…if you do end up taking it, don't take high doses, don't do it continuously (addiction), and don't do any exercise for 24 hours. It increases the load on your body (your heart specifically) by 20%, so especially if you're not in good shape, don't climb the stairs too fast or anything!

  13. Anna says:

    This kind of question makes me so sad. My brother has a severe case of ADHD and has suffered his entire life because of it. He describes trying to go to sleep as living in a house where a thousand TVs are constantly playing, but he can't turn any of them off. When he was young, he would walk into any busy room and completely shut down from over-stimulation. People who abuse Adderall are making light of a truly painful and trying situation, and people like "Guy" who say they could "get diagnosed," yes, you probably could, but you're causing a growing movement to stop prescriptions of Adderall and similar medications that actually HELP people. So hey, here's an idea- study. Everybody messes up, so instead of turning to a substance that could hurt you and belongs with people who it really helps, accept the consequences. Work hard and wisen up, and quit trying to take the easy way out- it just makes you lazy and, quite frankly, not worth of respect.

  14. Lexie says:

    my friend took adderall once to cram for an exam and then again because he started i guess relying on the effects of it to pull of his grades. he's been in the hospital for a few weeks because he went completely psychotic a while ago. soooooooo i wouldn't recommend it.

  15. Smart Drugs says:

    Great article on smart drugs. Cheers.

  16. sara says:

    I've debated taking it myself as well, but I definitely don't have ADD or ADHD and feel pathetic for not being able to just lock it up and focus and study… I think not wanting to study is just a mental block and I personally think turning to a drug to get around it is not a good idea

  17. m says:

    For Freaked About Failing:

    I'm not going to give you a moral lesson. Grades MATTER.

    What would you be taking it for? Do you have classes where you need to do lots of reading and then study for exams? If so, take it. The reading material will "just click". No really, it will. Do you have papers to do? DO NOT take it. It will cloud your mind and doing papers on it is horrible.

    Personally, if you can, I would try taking it once and just do some reading and see how you like it. Don't take it the day before your exam and expect it to work. You could really not like it.

    Also, you need to look at time. Yes, you're going to crash horribly. You'll want to sleep and you won't be able to unless you find a way to relax. I've heard that drinking with it is really bad – I think it actually says on the label not to do that but I know people that have and have been okay. If you smoke weed, just smoke when you want to come down and you actually won't get any of the come downs. Also, if you are studying while on Adderall, you'll want to take it during the exam too. But here's a little scenario: If you have a test on Wednesday and you're studying Tuesday late night with Adderall you're going to be fucked up. I suggest start studying early Tuesday and it's going to last more than 8 hours on you, then sleep normally or make yourself and then take it again for the exam Wednesday. I've heard of people doing all nighters with it and I haven't, it's really stupid.

    You will loose appettite so make sure to have a hearty meal before doing it. I've done it often and know many people that have so if you have any questions, post an e-mail address and I can get more in depth about it.

    Your grades matter and if you can get your hands on it, do it. Just do it smart.

  18. […] some college questions? Unsure of a decision? Thinking about dabbling in Adderall? (Don’t!) Just wanna chat it up with some really awesome chics? We’ve got the girls for you. […]

  19. […] some college questions? Unsure of a decision? Thinking about dabbling in Adderall? (Don’t!) Just wanna chat it up with some really awesome chics? We’ve got the girls for you. Hit […]

  20. Jessica says:

    I have taken Adderall before, both as prescribed and a few times just for fun.. and I ended up regretting it. My body just doesn't handle it well, I end up with zero appetite and greatly increased anxiety. Anyways, on my prescription bottle for the generic version, it was labeled as amphetamine salts. In other words, when you fuck around with Adderall, you're fucking around with amphetamines, more commonly known as speed or crank. I suppose with the prescription you at least know it's pure.

  21. Rachel says:

    Honestly, I’ve done it once and was completely fine.

    I want to clarify that I didn’t intend to ‘cheat’. It’s not that I was looking to make my work ‘easy’. It’s just that in the week before finals and final papers were all due, my grandfather got sick. I was behind in a lot of classes and on my work because I had to fly to Florida for a few days. I tried my hardest to catch up when I got back, but shortly after I was back at school he passed and the next couple days it was a little hard to function. I caught up with most of my papers but I had two make up two essays and do my final paper for my biology class as well as write a term paper for my anthropology course.
    Of course, since it was finals week, adderall was all around. Actually, one of my friends has been a habitual user (well, an analogue, vivance), although he seemed to rely upon it for his work and also used it recreationally (but of course I always saw how stupid that was). One of my friends took some to get some of his art projects done and I was curious. Now, I REALLY am averse to prescription medication. I’ve heard way too many horror stories and accounts of careless psychiatrists to take them lightly. I actually had depression, and after trying three types of anti-depressants, decided that prescription medication just wasn’t for me (sides, marijuana is a MUCH safer alternative for when my depression gets too overwhelming). But still, he assured me that I’d be fine and I’ve personally seen many people use it with no averse side affects (other than a little crash and crankiness).
    So I took five mg and waited for it to start. Instantly I felt really talkative and started talking to a friend for fifteen minutes. People were really interesting. But I was aware that people would say that unless I start my work I’d get sidetracked so I headed off to the library and was able to belt out three of my papers and half of the last. Yeah, I came down, but honestly I’ve felt much worse off of a coffee crash (and with a little pot I felt fine). Honestly, I don’t advocate using it as a cure-all. But I don’t really object to it, especially for finals. After all, the negative effects really aren’t that strong at all and most of it is hype from people who haven’t really been around it.
    I just want to end this with stating that people really have to stop being such hypocrites about the legality of something. Yes, adderall is a drug that can be illegal to use, and will make you crash. Caffeine is also VERY MUCH a drug, and will also make you crash. Our culture is just much more tolerant and even embracing of it. Alcohol has also been illegal, and with MUCH better reason. So how many people here that say no to adderall have drunk underage? Seriously, law is determined by man, who is inherently flawed (sodomy banned in Texas, anyone?), so PLEASE don’t buy into that argument.
    Again, I’m no adderall advocate and have only had one experience with it, but grades are VERY important, and while you should never count on adderall as your golden ticket, it can definitely give you the boost you need if it really comes to it.

  22. Anna says:

    Yeah, but Rachel? You and others like you are making it more difficult and expensive for people who truly need and cannot function in society without adderall SUFFER. You, specifically, and others who abuse that drug are causing a growing movement to limit its use, production, and prescription, which means my brother will suffer. He will lose his job, and then his apartment, and he will have to move in with my mother. It has happened before, and it will be because of YOU. Am I harsh? Yes, I am, but I want you to understand- just because it didn't hurt you doesn't mean it didn't hurt someone else.

  23. […] jobs, late nights at the library and  even later nights at the bar, the college lifestyle can take a toll on our bodies. And, even worse, it can take a major toll on our under-eyes. I don’t know one college lady […]

  24. Infantry says:

    I have a couple of friends who do it, I have tried it once got a pretty good jolt. It's not worth getting introuble over plus there are lots of legal things that you can drnk to give u energy and keep u awake.

  25. Jamie says:

    Okay, can someone please tell me how to get it on campus? Do I ask around?? I'm a grad school student so there is no way I'm gonna ask people within my grad school..was thinking of asking undergrads, but don't know who to ask!

    1. sublime says:


  26. Michael says:

    Wow, some people are just ignorant. i Completely agree with guy, it's so funny where people draw their moral lines. peoples ideas on whats a bad drug or good drug is ridicules. coffee can be considered a drug yet you all suggested that even though coffee is addictive and there are over 1000 chemicals in one cup of coffee, if you have no idea what your talking about why even bother posting. i would suggest you try it if you want to. personally i have used adderall a few times to cram before an exam. all it dose is increase your concentration and helps you study harder.

    Then again i do smoke marijuana recreational :)

    so the majority of these posters will think I'm the devil

  27. c money says:

    do it

  28. […] warnings on the drugs’ labels.” Yet on college campuses, there seems to be a mixed reaction to the drug. Many don’t care about the potential health risks. […]

  29. Psychonautic says:

    Adderall eh? I remember using it to cram my first few years in college…then I graduated to Crystal Meth..much better and longer-lasting focus, and although it's more addictive, I personally preferred Opiates like Heroin and Oxy for my high…so I could binge every now and then on Tweak w/o getting permanently hooked on it.
    But as they say, c'est la vie…mon cheri.

  30. kat says:

    I`m sorry but there are different levels of illegal. Speeding is not the same as buying prescription drugs off someone. It makes you no better than a junkie!

  31. ACE says:

    I have a act soon and NEED to make a great score badly I have taken the test once before and I had trouble focusing and getting through it. I became tired and scored badly. I have been declined to Texas tech and have a chance for reevaluation. I need to score well on this next test. Should I take maybe a little just to give me a tiny boost.

  32. Guy supporter says:

    Wow has out society turned into a bunch of goodie good pricks or is that just this forum? It’s Adderal not meth

  33. whyyouselfish says:

    Goodie good pricks? I would say selfish lazy and ignorant. Most everyone here has your point of view or think but no one even takes in what Anna is saying. If your not prescribed adderall dont take it. You think you might need it, see the doctor. Its not the same as speeding or underage drinking. If your under 21 and you drink, your not going to ruin it for someone who needs alchol to function because no one needs alchol in that way nor will it be illegal to drive for everyone if you get a speeding ticket. When you take adderall when your not prescibed how ever you make those who are trying to ban adderall as a prescription win their fight. Adderall used to be $40.00 without insurance, Now its $140.00 dollars, Because of people like you.

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