Misuse Of Stimulant Medication Among College-Age Adults Indicates ADHD and/or Substance Use Disorders

Who misuses stimulant medications during college? The answer is, many people. Adderall and other popular forms of stimulant medications are desirable to college students who are crunching books, writing essays, developing projects, and maintaining a busy schedule of extracurricular activities. In order to stay up all night, retain information, and get everything done that needs to get done, students look to prescription assistance. Adderall and the like are medications prescribed to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most of the students who are abusing stimulant medications do not have ADHD. They wouldn’t qualify for the diagnosis, though the diagnosis process frequently undergoes criticism for being too loose. Can’t watch TV and text and do your homework at the same time? Must be ADHD. Anxiety during a test while you’re in a college program that is supposed to determine the rest of your life? Must be AD.

Proper Evaluation Matters

However, research shows that college age students who are abusing prescription stimulant medication likely are ADHD, or have a substance-use disorder. While this might seem obvious, the information touches on the other side to too many ADHD diagnoses. That is, that many people in America go without a proper diagnosis of mental health problems. By college age, many students are suffering because they were never properly evaluated for attention hyperactivity deficit disorder or any other kind of learning disorder.

According to the researchers, as reported by Medical Xpress, “…college students who misuse prescription stimulant medications are more likely to exhibit clinically relevant psychiatric dysfunction.” The study found “higher levels of ADHD, conduct disorder, and alcohol or drug use disorders,” citing that “the majority of those misusing stimulants met or approached criteria for stimulant-use disorder.”

Undiagnosed ADHD can lead to substance abuse. Misuse of stimulant medication can lead to substance abuse or indicate a substance abuse problem.


Recovering from stimulant use disorder and co-occurring ADHD is possible with long term treatment which emphasizes the development of practical life skills as well as healing through clinical therapy. LEAD Recovery Center provides extended care treatment programs for men and women seeking lifelong recovery. For more information, call 800-380-0012.