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ADHD Medications Enhancing Student Performance

By Brad On April 18, 2011 Under ADHD Medication

There are pockets of activity in certain parts of the country where people take ADHD medication as a study aid. According to this article…”…there are “clusters” of smart-drug use in the northeast states where high performances are demanded at prestigious schools such as Harvard and Yale.”

I have heard about this several times from different high school and college students. Apparently in some schools it’s quite common for some kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD to sell their medications to students as “study aids”.

Stimulant medications will almost certainly cause a non-ADHD person to have better concentration, and so, in theory, be able to study better. Back in the day, people would just buy “speed” or “uppers” to get this effect. Now, it’s apparently much easier to find some unscrupulous fellow-student to be your “dealer”.

I’ve often heard the fact that ADHD medications have this effect on those without ADHD, as “proof” that ADHD is just some made up condition. Their logic goes something along the lines of, since everyone can concentrate better on ADHD medications, then ipso facto, everyone has ADHD, and so if everyone has it, then it’s nothing out of the ordinary, and people who claim to have ADHD are just making excuses.

The Difference Between Stimulant Medication In A Non-ADHD Brain And In An ADHD Brain

The critical fact that people don’t realize it that, for a “normal” person, stimulant medications do in fact speed them up, and perhaps make them concentrate and pay attention better than they could without the medication. This is why many would say that they’re “cheating” or using a performance enhancing substance.

But for those with ADHD, stimulant medications allow the person to concentrate and pay attention. PERIOD. (There are not able to concentrate or pay attention at a “normal” level without the medications.)

To put it another way…for a person with ADHD, stimulant medications make their brain function “normally”, while for someoneĀ  with a “normal” brain, their brain is already performing at a “normal” level and so they don’t NEED the medications to function normally.

It’s like wearing glasses. If your eyes are bad, you can put on prescription glasses that are made for you and you can see normally. But if you give those same glasses to someone who doesn’t need them to see normally, things are going to look mighty weird to them.

(See related post about a lady nearly failing out of college because she refused to treat her ADHD.)

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