I had not seen the Wired magazine article on “super-charging your brain” with the chart labeled “Do the Right Drugs” until I read about it in the New York Times. I’m still a little blown away by what I read.
The chart lays out the pros and cons of eight drugs that it says can “boost your cognitive output.” Included on the list is Adderall, the drug for ADHD that is being widely abused by young people these days.
So, what does Wired have to say about Adderall?
Thought to optimize levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, enhancing concentration and turning mundane tasks into wondrous ones. Often prescribed to ADHD patients (wink, wink).
Adderall has been called “college crack” — the new and improved Red Bull for late-night study sessions. Some doctors have even prescribed it for weight loss.
I guess it should come as no surprise, then, that when searching the Web for comparisons of Adderall and Ritalin, this is one of the first online discussions that pops up:
Ive been using adderall a few times (i dont have ADHD or anything, just to have fun without alcohol at private parties). I realy liked the social effects the drug gave me, will I feel basicly the same thing if I use Ritalin? Cos i cant find any adderall, only a bunch of people selling ritalin.
adderall is better but ritalin is still very good but you should snort the ritalin seriously ask every one snorting ritalin is Way better than just swallowing it … yep yep take the ritalin don’t be like ‘no I want adderall not ritalin’ don’t worry about it you will like ritalin just as much
The trivialization of Adderall and its possible side effects — by national publications like Wired, and even by some doctors — is highly irresponsible. Adderall is becoming more popular with abusers than Ritalin ever was. It’s a drug that carries real risks, and as such, should never be taken as a recreational drug. It’s habit-forming and can promote dependency among abusers.
I would argue that it is also irresponsible to prescribe it for weight loss; how about prescribing eating less instead?
In terms of treating ADHD, it’s most common legitimate use, Adderall is an amphetamine that affects brain chemicals and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is an alternative to Ritalin, a methylplenidate and still the most commonly prescribed ADHD medication in children and adults.
Since reactions to the drugs we take are different for every individual, doctors often use Adderall as a Plan B when Ritalin is not effective, or vice versa. Looking at studies online, this comparison by Dr. Marc D. Schwartz found Adderall more effective for adult ADD. Another found Adderall slightly more effective in treating teenagers.173