Students reaching for ADHD drugs to deal with academic stress

October 21, 2013

Some Canadian PSE students are being driven to using study drugs to help them cope with the pressure of exams and essays, reports the Globe and Mail. Following a national study that said 4% of students who have no medical need for a range of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) drugs take them to deal with academic demands, the Globe and Mail asked student journalists to investigate the use of study drugs on their campus. Students replied, in more than 20 interviews, that they used the drugs for various reasons, including too many non-academic commitments, feeling anxious about getting good marks to be accepted to graduate school, and having procrastinated. Many students reported that the drugs often had unpleasant side-effects, such as interrupted sleep, loss of appetite, and dehydration. “Researchers have found the typical study-drug user is a B student with extracurricular commitments trying to keep pace and looking for a just-in-time solution,” says Cynthia Forlini, a research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia. Globe and Mail