7 Common Study Drugs and Their Dangerous Side Effects 

January 23, 2023 | Drug addiction , drug rehab


It’s no secret that the life of a student is filled with deadlines, late nights, and stress-inducing finals. For decades, the demand to produce top quality work and prepare for exams has taken its toll. Whether it’s an overnight cram session in the library or fixating on the miniscule details of a project, many yearn for something that will help them succeed—or at the very least, avoid failure. 

As the rigorous nature of academic studies continues, students may find themselves seeking or using various study drugs to make their way through to graduation. While these drugs can be prescribed by your physician, it is also possible to obtain them illegally. 

A study drug may seem like an easy fix for issues such as lack of attention and motivation, though they carry a high risk of side effects that can lead to dependency or addiction. At Quantum Behavioral Health, we want to help inform you of study drug dangers and offer practical skills and solutions to make your education journey a success. 

What Are Study Drugs?

Study drugs, also known as amphetamines, are prescription drugs classified as a stimulant. They are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and aid with focus and studying. While these study drugs do just that, they also suppress your appetite and need for rest. With this combo, it seems there is nothing to stray an individual’s attention away from the task at hand. Though desirable, these prescriptions are often abused.

Study drugs are typically prescribed under the following names:

  • Adderall®
  • Concerta®
  • Dexedrine®
  • Focalin®
  • Metadate®
  • Methylin®
  • Ritalin®

Students of all ages may be prescribed this drug by their physician along with parental consent for those under 18. Though access may seem easy, these drugs can also be obtained illegally for intended misuse. Illegal study drugs may fall under the name Bennies, Black Beauties, Crank, Ice, Speed, or Uppers. Regardless of how a person gains access, the side effects are high risk and can cause long-term damage during prolonged use. 

Typically, study drugs are taken orally, though some may be injected or smoked. Similar to other stimulants, like cocaine, you will experience a slower onset with longer effects. As your body temperature and blood pressure rise, you may be met with the following symptoms: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Insomnia 
  • Physical exhaustion   
  • Rapid heart rate 

It is important to seek medical attention immediately should these symptoms worsen or persist. If you feel a study drug might benefit you, it is crucial to consult your physician and consider what options may be best for you. 


Risks of Abusing Prescription Drugs 

As with any drug, the risk of abusing prescription drugs is high. Study drugs are not offered exclusively to adult students, they can be prescribed when students struggle to stay focused in both elementary and secondary school. While this can be beneficial for many, the gateway to abusing these drugs is present. Doctors will only prescribe the necessary amount with detailed instructions for their use, though it is not difficult to ignore them.

Though your intention may be to only use study drugs as an aid, there are many reasons why a person may become dependent or abuse them. Some causes of abuse include: 

  • Consistent improvement of academic performance 
  • Reducing appetite—ideal for low-income students on a budget
  • Increased alertness
  • Relaxing or relieve tension
  • Easing pain
  • Feeling good or get high
  • Experimenting with mental effects of the substance
  • Be accepted by peers and gain social confidence 

If you are unsure whether you are becoming dependent on a study drug, ask yourself the following: 

  • Are you requesting early refills or continually “losing prescriptions” in order to get more? 
  • Are you taking higher doses than prescribed?
  • Are you taking doses more often than you should? 
  • Are you experiencing mood swings and hostile behavior? 
  • Are you attempting to get prescriptions from more than one source? 
  • Are you stealing study drugs from others? 
  • Are you hoarding your supply and binging it? 

When it comes to substance abuse of any kind, it is not always clear whether or not we feel it has become a problem. Doing consistent self check-ins being honest with where you are at gives you a better chance at combating long-term side effects and health risks. 

If you or someone you know may be struggling, seek support and know that asking for help is a sign of strength and care for your well being. 

7 Study Drugs and Their Harmful Side Effects

The misuse of study drugs produces a wide range of harmful side effects. While these effects will vary based on frequency and quantity of use, there are three main potential outcomes—addiction, reactions to high doses, and medical complications

Addiction—is something that should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. Study drugs are a stimulant that carry similar highs and lows of illegal drugs. People who misuse study drugs may consistently seek out the rush of energy and alertness to avoid the downfall that follows. If you have a history of addiction in your family, this is something to consider before using study drugs. 

Potential reactions to high doses—may occur if an individual is taking a higher quantity of study drugs than prescribed. At high doses, study drugs may induce symptoms such as fluctuating emotions, anxiety, twitching, aggression, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, and more. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.  

Potential medical complications—can arise due to the rise in blood pressure from study drugs. This may place individuals at a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke. Other side effects may include increasingly high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. 

When reviewing the potential side effects, it is crucial to make an informed decision on whether study drugs are right for you. They should not be treated lightly and ongoing discussions with your doctor are imperative.

Drug Addiction Treatments at Quantum 

At Quantum Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to providing individualized care with a personal touch. We believe that every human is worthy of healing and rediscovering the beauty of who they are. Through our various programs and services, we take a whole-person approach to support both patients and their families. 

If you feel you may be experiencing a study drug addiction, Quantum Behavioral Health can give you access to the full continuum of care. We are part of a nationwide network of facilities that offer services from medical detox and inpatient programs, to outpatient and continuing care. 

At our facility you will find a variety of outpatient programming that caters to all backgrounds. We provide both a medical and holistic approach to healing involving services like yoga and meditation, art and music therapy, counseling, and more. Our teams are highly trained, empathetic individuals who are dedicated to your success and will go above and beyond to meet your needs. Addressing addictions can be frightening—let us take your worries away and allow you to begin living the life you deserve.