Adderall: A tragically efficient study drug, miracle or tragedy?

Adderall is adored by college students, but how will history judge it?

Do college students really love Adderall? Does Adderall really help them improve their grades? The answers are a clear and concise YES & YES.

Adderall Abuse in Schools
Adderall Abuse in Schools

I decided to do some real journalism and brought a friend with me to the local college bar hangout. We went to The Knight Library in Orlando, Florida, and there was no shortage of friendly college students… or ping-pong-balls and beautiful young college women but I digress. I will say that my job, on that day was one of the best on the planet!

I learned very quickly that students love Adderall, particularly when cramming for an exam. I also learned that students use it for other reasons like staying-up late and drinking beer or just to have fun. I can’t say that I expected much different– but Adderall is a part of life for college students today.


Adderall is staple supply for college students, like it or not

Try asking a college student what they think of Adderall. Here’s a hint though, before you ask keep a close eye on their facial expression. Not all college students are comfortable sharing this information with a stranger, and I can’t say I blame them, but most will grin subconsciously as soon as you say the word, Adderall, which is an answer in itself. Surprisingly most have no problem sharing their feelings of love about the drug. The jury is out, and it says college students like using Adderrall to raise their grades.

But I wonder how badly is Adderall abused, and what are the negative consequences.

Alan DeSantis, a professor and researcher at the University of Kentucky, has tracked study drug use there. “It’s abused more than marijuana and easier to get,” he says. DeSantis’ research found that 30% of students at the university have illegally used a stimulant, like the ADHD drugs Adderall or Ritalin. The numbers increase with upperclassmen. Half of all juniors and seniors have used the drugs, the study found, and 80% of upperclassmen in fraternities and sororities have taken them.  (full story by cnn)

I have mixed feelings about Adderall because it has helped me with my ADHD for many years and I know just how well it can improve focus and attention.

I selfishly worry that its’ abuse will cause the drug to become available to those that need it to function. Is that a sign that I am too dependent on Adderall, or that I might be glorifying the drug too much? Is it possible that I manufactured a list of symptoms that weren’t symptoms and rather signs that life isn’t easy? I don’t know and can’t deny the possibility entirely but don’t think that is the case for me.

How will the future history books judge Adderall?

I have no answer but I have two rhetorical questions that will make you realize that finding the answer will not be easy, and may not be possible with any degree of certainty. 

  1. Has Adderall helped college students to graduate from difficult programs such as medical school?
  2. Will lives be lost because there are not enough good doctors for the aging baby boomers?

Savior of the Universe, Beginning of the End, Or Somewhere In-between?

They were rhetorical questions and the truth is that we may never know. Adderall may just be the savior of the universe, or it may be the beginning of the end. If you have an opinion about which is the right answer please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from some students on the subject.


Amazing Provigil vs Adderall for ADHD

Provigil is some pretty awesome medication for ADHD

Provigil is an amazing medication but it isn’t perfect.

Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil The problem with Provigil is that my body became immune to it very quickly. Provigil works great for the first few days. Provigil works okay for the first few weeks. Provigil loses most of its’ punch after a few weeks. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Never fails, if you get a perfect medication then it won’t work for long. Nothing is free in life. Right?

The Provigil was SO good for me right at first I was so happy. I felt completely alive again after Provigil. I’d love to talk to a scientist about what Provigil does inside our body. Specifically which neurotransmitter is affected. I only used the Provigil for about a month because it quit working and it was so expensive.

Adderall is the gold-standard for me

Adderall just works. It is easy to build a tolerance to Adderall. The potency loss isn’t as bad as Provigil. If you’re careful about never exceeding your dose then Adderall stays effective at low doses around 20mg in the morning and 10mg in the afternoon. I often skip the afternoon dose because I can get by without it. I usually skip one day on the weekend and give my body a rest. Adderall is pretty good, have you tried it yourself?

If you are considering Adderall, you can’t go wrong. Adderall is pretty good for treating ADHD.

MY experience with Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Straterra, and Provigil

YES, I have tried all of them.

Stratera – My doctor started with the Straterra. The Straterra was a nightmare. I felt like a zombie after a week on Straterra. Being on Straterra was like being high. Straterra may work for other people but I hated it.

Ritalin - Ritalin works okay, but it was not as effective as the Adderall for me. The Ritalin seemed to be slightly longer lasting, but I felt more of a crash from the Ritalin in the evening.

Vyvanse – This is a good ADHD medication. Vyvanse is almost perfect. The Vyvanse is a little bit speedy compared to the others. I would feel my heart skipping beats with Vyvanse around 3 hours after taking it. Vyvanse lasts almost the full day but you do crash a little in the evening. Vyvanse makes you feel nice and level. Sometimes the shorter acting Adderall bounces you like a basket ball.

Adderall – Yes this is my favorite. It works. It is shorter acting so I can take an evening dose if I want.

Provigil – Provigil was my favorite medicine for three days, then it slowly stopped working. Provigil stops working entirely. Provigil must alter your brain permanently because I have tried going back to Provigil and it never has the same magic it had. Provigil is like Ecstacy, it makes permanent changes to your brain. Does anyone agree?  Just my 2 cents here but I have heard other people describe it in a similar way.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of my opinions. You can leave comments without registering, so I’d appreciate hearing from you!

ADHD Drug Equivalency Chart – Amphetamine, Methylphenidate, Provigil, & Straterra

 ADHD Medication Equivalency Chart

What is the equivalent dose of Adderall 20mg? You can find some dosing schedules for ADHD medications here.

This chart shows the basic drug duration and side-effects for most ADHD medications


ADHD Drug Family
Duration Type
Duration  Side Effects
Amphetamine Stimulants
4-6 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
4-6 hours
4-6 hours
Dexedrine Spans.
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.

Adderall XR

8-12 hours


10-12 hours
Methylphenidate Stimulants
3-4 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
3-4 hours
4-5 hours
Metadate ER
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
Methylin ER
6-8 hours
Ritalin SR
4-8 hours
Metadate CD
8-10 hours
Ritalin LA
8-10 hours
10-12 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. .
Quillivant XR
8-12 hours
Focalin XR
6-10 hours
Daytrana patch
10-12 hour
Skin irritation, some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
NonStandard Non-Stimulants
24 hours
Sleep problems, anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth. Rarely, liver damage.
24 hours
Sleepiness, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain.
ADHD Medicines and Safety 

The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.


Clinical Study – Adult ADHD Symptom Changes with Adderall and Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Adult ADHD – Symptom Response Comparision based on Effects of Amphetamines

(Adderall etc.) and Methylphenidate (Ritalin etc.) on Symptoms of Adult ADD

Clinicians treating patients with ADD often have to decide which type of stimulant medication to prescribe, amphetamines (like Adderall, Dexedrine, and others) or methylphenidate (like Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, and others. Vyvanse is an amphetamine type stimulant, but was not on the market when this study was done.) I created a questionnaire designed to see if there is a difference between the effects of these two types of medications on ADD symptoms and had 37 of my adult patients who benefited from treatment complete it.

All patients had taken one or both kinds of medication and had achieved optimal treatment results with at least one of them. Optimal results were defined as those achieved by slowly increasing the dose of the medication to the point where there was definite improvement in a patient’s ADD symptoms but where a higher dose either did not achieve a better effect or caused unacceptable side effects. Patients who benefited from neither amphetamines or methylphenidate were not asked to complete questionnaires.

Each item in the questionnaire contained a statement about the effect of the medications, for example, helps you focus on details, reduces hyperactivity, etc. Patients scored items on a 6 point scale where 0 indicated the medication had no effect, 3 a moderate effect, and 5 a strong effect.

Thirty seven patients completed 50 questionnaires. Twenty four had achieved optimal results after taking one type of medication: for twenty, this was AMP, for four it was MPH. These patients took the questionnaire once.

Thirteen had been treated first with one medication, failed to achieve optimal results, then were switched to the other and did achieve such results. They completed a questionnaire for both medications after achieving optimal results with the second. One patient found neither medication on its own to be optimal and was treated with both simultaneously.

The Overall Effects of the Stimulants on Patient Who Benefited from Treatment
An analysis was first carried out on all subjects’ questionnaires, regardless of which stimulant or stimulants they had taken. The symptoms found to be most affected by the stimulants were those which involved executive functioning such as concentration, focus, task initiation, and others (Table 1). A lesser beneficial effect was seen for hyperactivity and impulsivity. Changes resulting from side effects, such as loss of sleep, loss of appetite, and anxiety, were rated smaller.

Partial List of Attributes

[dt_progress_bars show_percentage="true"][dt_progress_bar title="Concentration & Focus" color="Blue" percentage="84" /][dt_progress_bar title="Detail Oriented" color="Green" percentage="82" /][dt_progress_bar title="Stay on Task" color="Grey" percentage="78" /][/dt_progress_bars]

Full Study on Adult ADHD Symptoms Response Study



ADD vs ADHD – What is the difference?

Adderall for Depression & ADHD

There are side effects of Adderall when used for ADHD, and one of them can be depression, however some people taking the longer lasting version of the medication are less likely to report this. When using long-lasting versions of Adderall depression is not commonly seen. Interestingly Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin and Provigil all ADD medications, have been used off-label to treat depression. To see the source of this information, please look on this ADHD website.


ADD vs ADHD – What is the difference?

What Is ADHD?
This video contains an overview of ADHD and the ADHD video presentation.

Watch This and Other Videos Now >

Adderall and Depression: An Introduction
There are several possible side effects of Adderall®


Also read about the feasibility of using Adderall for treatment of Depression. There are studies being conducted regarding the effectiveness of using stimulant ADHD medications for Severe Depression, Depression Bipolar, Depression. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that Provigil, Adderall, Adderall XR have worked as effective anti-depressants or in conjunction with standard SSRI medications the Adderall has been found to improve the results of Prozac alone.

A Comparison of Ritalin and Adderall: Efficacy and Time-course in Children With Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

A Comparison of Ritalin and Adderall: Efficacy and Time-course in Children With Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Objective. Very little research has focused on the efficacy of Adderall (Shire-Richwood Inc, Florence, KY) in the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and no studies have compared it with standardized doses of Ritalin (Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ). It is thought that Adderall has a longer half-life than Ritalin and might minimize the loss of efficacy that occurs 4 or 5 hours after Ritalin ingestion. We compared two doses of Ritalin and Adderall in the treatment of ADHD in children in an acute study and assessed the medications’ time courses.

Design. Within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design lasting 6 weeks. As in our previous work, medication changes occurred on a daily basis in random order over days.

Setting. Eight-week, weekday (9 hours daily) summer treatment program at the State University of New York at Buffalo, using an intensive behavioral treatment program including a point system and parent training.

Study Participants. Twenty-five children (21 boys and 4 girls) diagnosed as ADHD using standardized structured interview and rating scales, mean age 9.6 years, 88% Caucasian, of average intelligence, with no medical conditions that would preclude a trial of stimulant medication. Thirteen were comorbid for opposi-tional-defiant disorder and another 8 for conduct disorder.

Interventions. Children received 10 mg of Ritalin, 17.5 mg of Ritalin, 7.5 mg of Adderall, 12.5 mg of Adderall, or placebo, twice a day (7:45 AM and 12:15PM), in random order with conditions changing daily for 24 days.

Outcome Measures. Daily rates of behaviors in recreational and classroom settings, and standardized ratings from counselors, teachers, and parents, were averaged across days within condition within child and compared. Within-subject relative sizes of the medication effects were computed by taking the placebo-minus-drug mean difference divided by the placebo standard deviation for each child, and were compared hourly between first daily ingestion (7:45AM) and 5:00 PM to assess the time course of the two drugs. Measures were taken at 12:00 PM (recess rule violations) and at 5:00 PM(parent behavior ratings) to determine whether Adderall was still effective at times when the effects of Ritalin should have worn off. Parent ratings were also made for evening behavior to assess possible rebound, and side effects ratings were obtained from parents, counselors, and teachers. Parents, counselors, and teachers also rated their perceptions of medication status and whether they recommended the continued use of the medication given that day. Finally, a clinical team made recommendations for treatment taking into account each child’s individual response.

Results. Both drugs were routinely superior to placebo and produced dramatic improvements in rates of negative behavior, academic productivity, and staff/parent ratings of behavior. The doses of Adderall that were assessed produced greater improvement than did the assessed doses of Ritalin, particularly the lower dose of Ritalin, on numerous but not all measures. This result suggests that the doses of Adderall used were functionally more potent than those for Ritalin. Adderall was generally superior to the low dose of Ritalin when the effects of Ritalin were wearing off at midday and late afternoon/early evening. The lower dose of Adderall produced effects comparable to those of the higher dose of Ritalin. Both drugs produced low and comparable levels of clinically significant side effects. Staff clinical recommendations for continued medication favored Adderall three to one. Almost 25% of the study participants were judged to be nonresponders by the clinical team, presumably because of their large beneficial response to the concurrent behavioral intervention and minimal incremental benefit from medication.

Conclusions. This is the first investigation to assess comparable doses of Adderall and Ritalin directly. Results showed that Adderall is at least as effective as Ritalin in improving acutely the behavior and academic productivity of children with ADHD. These results show clearly that Adderall should be added to the armamentarium of effective treatment for ADHD, particularly for children in whom the effects of Ritalin dissipate rapidly and a longer acting medication is desired. Measures taken at times of the day when Ritalin is expected to have worn off—4 to 5 hours after ingestion—generally showed that Adderall was more effective than Ritalin at these times. The 7.5-mg twice-a-day dose of Adderall and the 17.5-mg twice-a-day dose of Ritalin produced equivalent behavioral changes. This indicates that a 5-mg dose of Adderall (or slightly less) is equivalent to a 10-mg dose of Ritalin, indicating that Adderall is twice as potent; this potency ratio is similar to the well-known 1:2 ratio between d-amphetamine and methylphenidate. A higher dose of Adderall did not produce incremental improvement beyond that of the 7.5-mg dose, and parents were less likely to desire the continuation of the higher Adderall dose than the other medication conditions. Three-quarters of the responders to medication were recommended the lower rather than higher of the doses assessed. These findings are similar to our previous reports that there is a diminishing incremental value with stimulant medications beyond low to moderate doses, particularly when a behavioral intervention is concurrently implemented. Time-course results indicated that the afternoon dose of medication seemed to have a larger effect than the morning dose, raising the possibility that afternoon doses of stimulant medication may be able to be reduced relative to the morning dose without a corresponding reduction in efficacy. Although this practice is commonly used with some cases in clinical settings, it is almost never used in empirical investigations and no studies have systematically investigated the practice. Our results suggest that systematic studies of a reduced midday dose are indicated. Further studies of dose equivalence and dose-response, including mg/kg dosing rather than absolute dosing, are necessary to firmly establish the Adderall:Ritalin dosing ratio and guidelines for clinical practice. Studies comparing Adderall to d-amphetamine should be conducted to determine whether the compound is superior to d-amphetamine alone. Further examinations of time-course are necessary to determine the length of action of Adderall—for example, whether a single morning dose will be sufficient to provide coverage throughout the school day.

  1. William E. Pelham, PhD*,
  2. Helen R. Aronoff, MD,
  3. Jill K. Midlam, MA*,
  4. Cheri J. Shapiro, PhD*,
  5. Elizabeth M. Gnagy, BS*,
  6. Andrea M. Chronis, BS*,
  7. Adia N. Onyango, BS*,
  8. Gregory Forehand, BS*,
  9. Anh Nguyen, BS*,
  10. James Waxmonsky, MD

-Author Affiliations

  1. From the Departments of *Psychology and

  2. Psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.

Telling Your Employer About Mental Illness – ADHD, Depression, Bi-Polar

Should I tell my employer if I have a mental illness?

Well before answering this question let’s take a look at the rules as they pertain to the employer.


[dt_toggle title="If you had to take time off work due to mental illness, can you be fired?"]No. It’s illegal for your employer to not pay you, or fire you, if you’ve had to take time off. Make sure you read your company’s sickness policy, as what you’re entitled to differs from company to company.[/dt_toggle]

[dt_toggle title="Are employers put off by people with mental health issues?"]

In an ideal world, the answer to this would be ‘no’. But, as you’re probably aware already, attitudes towards mental health can still be pretty warped.

Don’t be disheartened, though. Good employers realise that a staff member who’s experienced mental illness such as depression can be an asset. They often have a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and can help and support other members of staff with similar problems.


[dt_toggle title="Should I even try and work if I’m mentally ill?"]

Only you know what you’re capable of and it might be useful to discuss this further with your GP or counsellor, if you have one. However, most people find the structure of a working day and the fact that they’re contributing something can be helpful.

If you’re open with your employer about your issues, they could take steps to make working life easier for you. Small tweaks, like staggering deadlines, flexitime, and letting you work the odd day from home can make a huge difference.



Employer Perspective – Laws Protecting the Employee

ADA, FMLA, and Work Rule Violations

Many bosses do not like disciplining employees for working rule issues. If the boss doesn’t address the problems then morale and productivity could suffer especially if they relate to absenteeism, disruptive behavior, or drug use.

But what happens if an employee claims that a medical condition “made me do it”? Unfortunately, you can face legal claims for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if you improperly discipline or terminate protected employees who break conduct rules.Just because employees claim that a medical condition is covered under the ADA or FMLA, however, doesn’t mean they get a free pass to violate your work rules. The following discussion explains how these laws may impact your ability to address problem behavior by legally protected employees.

* Absenteeism *

Regular attendance to the office is important for most jobs and employers have the right to discipline and/or fire employees who have problems with attendance or punctuality. The FMLA and the ADA may
limit your right to take these actions for certain cases that are protected by the laws. The FMLA makes it so that employers have to provide eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in any year period for medical or family reasons. You cannot discriminate employees that use FMLA leave and you can’t take employees FMLA leave into account under “no-fault” attendance policy.

So, employers should not fire or discipline employees for:

    • Excused Absences under FMLA
    • Absences Excused under the FMLA’s provisions.

Thorson v. Gemini, Inc.,

[dt_quote type="blockquote" font_size="normal" animation="none" background="plain"]

205 F.3d 370 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U. S.

871 (2000), the employer violated the FMLA when it terminated an
employee for excessive absenteeism because the absences were
covered under the FMLA.


The ADA requires covered employers to provide:

    • Reasonable Accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
    • Additional Leave be considered “Excused” absenses

If, however a disabled employee is not able to perform even with accommodation then the absenses would not be protected under ADA

Thus, in Wood v. Green,

323 F.3d 1309 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 982 (2003), the court
determined that an employee who suffered from cluster headaches was
not a qualified individual under the ADA. He requested an indefinite
leave of absence so that he could work at some uncertain point in the
future. The court ruled that since he could not perform the essential
functions of the job presently, or in the immediate future, he was not
covered under the ADA.

Should you tell your employer about a mental health issue like depression or anxiety?

Keeping a job when you’re suffering can be hard, but there are laws protecting you. Before you take employment and you have a mental health issue consider looking to see if it has a ‘two ticks’ symbol; this shows they’re committed to employing people with disabilities and mental health problems.

Interesting Facts

[dt_progress_bars show_percentage="true"][dt_progress_bar title="Employees with a current mental health issue" color="Red" percentage="18" /][dt_progress_bar title="Employees who have had at least one mental health issue" color="Yellow" percentage="26" /][dt_progress_bar title="Employees having a friend or family member with mental health issue" color="Blue" percentage="77" /][/dt_progress_bars]


When Applying:

It’s illegal for employers to ask you about your mental health until after a job offer is made, so there’s no need to at this stage. You can choose to disclose your condition if you want, and legally a company cannot let this influence their decision. However, if it did sway them against hiring you it would be difficult for you to prove this.

After Starting The Job:

It’s up to you whether you share with employer or not but it would be easier to deal with a mental challenge if your employer’s already aware of your history.  Legally, people with mental health issues have the same protection as those with physical disabilities. Although, it’s likely you’ll need a GP to confirm that you have mental health problems. If telling your manager seems scary then you can talk to the human resources (HR) department.


HIPAA Privacy Rules for the Protection of Health and Mental Health Information

[dt_highlight color=""]Mental health providers and other covered entities should not rely on this summary as a source of legal information or advice and should consult with their own attorney or HIPAA Privacy Officer for specific guidance.[/dt_highlight]


This summary provides general information about key elements of laws surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), federal legislation passed in 1996 which requires providers of health care (including mental health care) to assure the privacy of patient records and health data. HIPAA requires the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop laws to encapsulate these privacy requirements, called the Privacy Rule, which became effective on April 14, 2003. State statutes offer more stringent protections of health care privacy and remain in effect even after HIPAA.


The HIPAA Privacy Rule

Provides the first comprehensive Federal protection for the privacy of health and mental health information. The Rule is intended to provide strong legal protections to ensure the privacy of individual health information, without interfering with patient access to treatment, health care operations, or quality of care.

Applies to

“covered entities” which generally includes health plans and health care providers who transmit health information in electronic form. Covered entities include almost all health and mental health care providers, whether they are outpatient, residential or inpatient providers, as well as other persons or organizations that bill or are paid for health care.

Basic Principles:

The Privacy Rule protects all “protected health information” (PHI), including individually identifiable health or mental health data that is held or transmitted in any format, including electronic, paper, or oral statements.
A major purpose of the Privacy Rule is to define and limit the circumstances under which an individual’s PHI may be used or disclosed by covered entities.