Adderall Literature Review

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Literature Review
History of Adderall and its Usage
According to DSM-IV (2005), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined as “persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and is more severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable level of development.” A recent study suggests that 9% of U.S. school-aged children (3-17) are diagnosed with ADHD (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). At first, there was a misconception in society that ADHD only affected children and that eventually they would outgrow it. However, recent data suggests that 4.4% of the U.S. adult population have ADHD. Studies also indicate that 30%-70% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults. (Desantis, 2008, p. 31)

In terms of treating ADHD, Adderall is the most commonly prescribed medicine for children and adults. According to Desantis (as cited in Okie, 2006), “The number of American adults who are prescribed medication to treat the disorder has increased by 90% from 2002 to 2005, with adults receiving one-third of all prescriptions” (p. 32). Shire Pharmaceuticals introduced Adderall in 1996. In 2001, Shire introduced an extended release version known as Adderall XR. Adderall is a mixed salt amphetamine. It works to increase concentration and focus by stimulating the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain (Schiffner, 2010). For individuals with ADHD, Adderall produces enough dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to bring them to a normal state of functioning and focus. For individuals without ADHD, Adderall tends to over-stimulate the brain, which results in an even higher level of functioning and focus. Adderall, along with cocaine and other substances, is classified as a Schedule II substance because of its potential for abuse and dependency both physically and psychologically.

Consumption of Adderall by College Students
The main subject being explored throughout this paper is the use of Adderall among college students. There have been numerous studies that have explored the overall usage of Adderall, but only a few have focused specifically on its consumption by college students. Studies have also been done on the illegal usage of other stimulants among college students, which highlight relative statistics. Nichols (2004) indicated,

“…the United States Department of Health and Human Services found in an annual survey of drug use that 1.8 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 25, or 6 percent of those surveyed, admitted having taken Ritalin -- an older stimulant used to treat attention-deficit disorder -- without a prescription” (p. A41). This study indicates that there is a growing population of college students who consume non-prescribed stimulants.

McCabe et al (2005), conducted a study in which 10,904 students were surveyed at 119 different 4-year colleges in the United States. From that study McCabe et al (2005) found that 6.9% of the students surveyed used an illegal prescription stimulant in their life. 4.1% of which used an illegal prescription stimulant in the past year. Also for the study, McCabe et al (2005) found that non-medical prescription stimulant users were “more likely to report use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and other risky behaviors” (p. 96).

Loe et al (2008) conducted a study on Adderall and Ritalin amongst the college population and results showed that students “…may resort to medical means to manage their time and to perform well inside and outside of the classroom” (p.8). Although the primary use of the drug is for academic purposes, students also turn to it for recreational purposes. Statistically, Loe et al (2008) reported, “75% of the students who took these meds indicated doing so for academic purposes. Students also list taking them for fun (68%), to stay awake (56%), and to party (50%) as other reasons” (p.8). Adderall may also help...
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