Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, are commonly used as long-term treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prolonged benefits seen by individuals with ADHD who have been prescribed Adderall include enhancement in focus, concentration, memory, and other executive functions. Many college students take Adderall illicitly to achieve these desired effects. When Adderall leaves the bloodstream, dopamine levels drop drastically, adversely affecting mood, appetite, and other physiological functions. The comorbidity of mental illnesses with ADHD and the effects of Adderall have been studied, but associations pertaining to mental health and unprescribed Adderall have not been explored. Therefore, the investigation of the comorbidities of emotional health with illicit Adderall usage fills a gap. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between illicit ADHD medication usage and emotional health of college students. This study gathered self-reported survey responses from 761 college students regarding experiences with ADHD medication along with diet, mental, emotional and physical health, and prior knowledge about illicit Adderall usage. The survey was built in Google Forms; data was analyzed using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient in SPSS, Version 26.0. Individuals reported feelings of restlessness, nervousness, hopelessness, worthlessness and depression based on a descriptive scale. Data indicated positive correlations between illicit Adderall usage and poor mental health. As Adderall is commonly abused by students not diagnosed with ADHD, minimal evidence exists indicating increased neurocognitive performance, suggesting emotional and mental health are negatively affected. This investigation supports previous conclusions that ADHD medication negatively impacts various emotions and mental health.
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Horowitz, Julia; Hinkley, Courtney; Yuvanavattana, Natalie; Camillery, Gabrielle; and Bonventre, Samantha, "Investigating the Correlations Between Illicit ADHD Medication Use and Emotional Health" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 70.