The college all-nighter has reached a new and disturbing level. Some university students, searching for a shortcut to better grades, have taken attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs to better concentrate while studying for exams.
It’s a temptation that should be resisted, UT Southwestern Medical Center specialists say.
“Stimulant use in healthy individuals is still illegal except with a prescription and may be addictive,” says Dr. Adam Brenner, assistant professor of psychiatry. “Stimulants can also cause side effects that include agitation, abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure.
“Some prominent ethics experts and scientists have advocated for the right of healthy people wanting to boost brainpower to take drugs normally prescribed for sleep disorders, hyperactivity in children and declining memory in older adults. However, other experts argue that more studies are required to determine the potential side effects in otherwise healthy people.”
Until more research has been done, Dr. Brenner suggests that students and other healthy adults use known legal methods to help during tests and for multitasking while at work.
“Caffeine in moderate amounts, healthy eating, a good night’s sleep and exercise can all increase alertness, have limited side effects, and are legal,” he says.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in adult psychiatry.
Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson