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Health Services explain harm in using alcohol and Adderall

With finals week just around the corner this is usually the time of the year when students are feeling both stress and anxiety.

The question is, how do students choose to handle the continuous gnawing in the back of their mind about school and making sure everything gets done? The answer: Alcohol and Adderall.

“In general alcohol will decrease your ability to focus, concentrate and to form memory. It’s a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it decreases your awareness and that’s part of its mechanism. A lot of people use it to calm down anxiety,” said Dr. Vincent Serio, director of Medical Services for Health Services.

Patrick Vanpaepeghum, junior communication major, usually drinks beer when doing homework. He only drinks if he is doing an essay or some sort of writing homework versus something needing more attention such
as math.

“I usually drink beer when I have to type or write things,” Vanpaepeghum said. “I guess for college students like us we need a drink to unwind, but at the same time we’re also doing work. It’s a way to calm down while doing something stressful I guess.”

Of course, alcohol isn’t the only study aid  students have found to help with studying. Many students find Adderall has helped with their focus.

Adderall is a stimulant which helps with focus and is typically prescribed to people who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). It has the opposite effect of alcohol. It is a drug that increases awareness, focus and concentration.

The issue doctors are seeing is students are either borrowing the drug or buying it from their friends or others to use as a study aid.

“The hazard of this is you’re using a drug that is a prescription drug and the reason it’s a prescription drug is because the physician who prescribes it has to make sure he’s responsibly prescribing it to a bonafide disorder and adding that medication to that person’s body won’t cause any harm,” Serio said.

Adderall and stimulants in general come with harms and a concern to the body, the biggest one is to the cardiovascular system.

“These drugs can cause high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and in some cases, those rhythms can lead to sudden death,” Serio said.

The doctors at Health Services want to help detect these types of behaviors in students and have them do self-examinations on why they are using alcohol to calm down or Adderall to stay focused.

“A bit of self-examination is in order if you are engaging in these behaviors because it might indicate it’s a problem you need some help with,” Serio said.