For over a decade now, the familiarization of Adderall in the workplace has been astonishing. Today is not rare to hear a coworker recommend the coffee for Adderall swap. Many high-effective workers use it as a resource to be more active and help them perform better.
In 2015, The New York Times reported the surge of young professionals turning to Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and other stimulants to help them work harder, longer, and better. They also reported some of the disastrous side effects these men and women experienced due to their stimulant misuse and abuse.
How can a pill doctors gave to millions of children now be causing disruptions in the workplace?
Table of Contents
How We Got Here
According to the biggest prescription drug manager in the US, Express Scripts, just over two-and-a-half million people received ADHD medication in 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, a mere four-year period, stimulant prescriptions rose upwards of 50%. Also, during this time, the medical use of ADHD drugs among adults twenty-six to thirty-four doubled.
According to SAMHSA, the federal agency in charge of mental health and addiction services, there were close to 23,000 ER trips due to prescription stimulants in 2013 alone. SAMHSA also reported that in two years, between 2010 and 2012, 15% more individuals seeking treatment listed stimulants as their drug of choice.
But, as professionals look for something more intense than the effects of caffeine, more and more people are looking for more potent alternatives. Nowadays, energy drinks, caffeine pills, and other stimulants are part of everyone’s day-to-day functioning.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication under the category of stimulants. It operates similar to other addictive drugs like meth and produces a surge in dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. Doctors prescribe Adderall to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and narcolepsy. However, some people fake symptoms to get prescription medication.
The effects of Adderall are so strong and compelling that people without ADHD use it to increase productivity on a stressful day at work or to power through studying sessions during college. However, people take these pills even when they’re not experiencing symptoms. Some people even use it instead of other daily stimulants, like coffee.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in plants like coffee beans and tea leaves. Five ounces of coffee contain caffeine, but foods like tea, chocolate, and cola also include a small amount of caffeine. However, the higher your caffeine intake, the more tolerant of its effects you become.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies caffeine as a drug and a food additive. It is possible to develop a dependency on caffeine and experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it. This is why some people experience irritability, anxiety, headaches, and even feelings of depression when they go without their caffeine.
What Does Adderall Do to a Normal Person?
Ideally, Adderall should only be prescribed to adults struggling with ADHD or narcolepsy. After all, it’s estimated that up to 70% of adults notice an improvement in symptoms. Unfortunately, anyone with even the slightest attention span deficit can get an Adderall prescription under the idea that they’re treating ADHD.
However, when an average person takes Adderall without medical instructions, the effects can be detrimental to their health. Many of those who misuse Adderall have a higher risk of struggling with:
- Sleeping problems
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Nervousness and numbness
- Constricted blood vessels
- Lack of impulse control
Adderall Effects on Personality
The signs are often indistinguishable from someone working hard. So, noticing the effects of Adderall on someone’s personality can be challenging, especially if taken in high doses. However, when you pay close attention to someone’s personality changes, you might see:
- Sudden violent outbursts
- Relationship problems
- Personality disorders or bipolar
- Increased hostility in the workplace
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
Mixing Adderall and Coffee
While ingesting a small amount of caffeine with Adderall is unlikely to cause any harm, mixing these two stimulants is not a good idea.
Mixing Adderall and caffeine can cause unpleasant side effects, nervous jitteriness, sleep disturbance, and increased heart rate. Taking them together can cause severe insomnia, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders.
Adderall for Adults in the Workplace
While there isn’t one specific reason an increasing number of professionals are turning to prescription stimulants to boost their work performance, many factors undeniably influence their decision.
Remember that many of these young professionals are, as their very name implies, young. It wasn’t long ago they were in high school and college. Adderall abuse has historically been incredibly prevalent in the US education system.
Finally, many men and women, new to the workforce, admit to using Adderall and the like to get a leg up only. They argue they’re taking the pills not to catch a buzz but rather to land a job. In today’s high-stress and cutthroat hiring environment, they may well be telling the truth.
The Downsides of Taking Adderall at Work
There are some rather obvious side effects that stimulants bring with them. There’s anxiety, depression, hypertension, arrhythmia, tachycardia, hallucinations, and addiction.
As misuse turns to abuse turns to addiction, an individual’s life can, and often does, spiral out of control. Not only is the individual in question underperforming at work, but now their relationships are strained. This, in turn, fuels more substance abuse. There’s a reason addiction is referred to as a vicious cycle.
There are also many secondary dangers associated with workplace Adderall use. This is something like indirectly pressuring a co-worker to take substances. Even though an individual may have no intention of impacting someone else’s choice to take pills, that someone else may end up using Adderall to keep up.
Be mindful of your Adderall use. These are some signs you’ve taken it too far:
- You’ve literally changed coffee for Adderall
- You believe your success is thanks to the drug
- You’re afraid of what might happen if you stop using it
- You believe everyone around you is using it as well
Once this paranoic mindset starts to set in, odds are you’re becoming dependent on the drug. Be honest with yourself. If you’re noticing any of these behaviors, it might be time to speak with a professional.
Because Adderall has this reputation of being acceptable in college, many young professionals feel it’s acceptable in the workplace. The truth is misusing drugs shouldn’t be acceptable at any stage of our lifetime.
Instead, we should look at what’s lacking in our motivation to work or analyzing if perhaps we’re asking too much of ourselves. In today’s society, where those who rise and grind are being placed on a golden pedestal, it’s essential to stay humble and remember that taking a break is fine.
It’s essential to care for our mental health the same way we care for our overall health. If you believe you’re under a lot of pressure to perform, stay away from drugs like Adderall, which by the way, have been proven ineffective for those without ADHD. If you or someone you know needs help leaving stimulants behind, contact a professional at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we’re to help you find your way to recovery.