PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractADHD is a disorder characterized by attentional difficulties and hyperactivity. Counterintuitively, stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications for the disorder having been shown to reduce hyperactivity and increase ability to focus through affecting brain dopamine pathways. Because of this, these drugs are often used for cognitive enhancement, by people without ADHD, especially college students. The present study seeks to increase understanding of contributing factors to, and effects of misuse of prescription stimulants in college students. A survey was taken by 168 pre-heath undergraduate students assessing student's use and perception of stimulants. Results indicate 29% of Physiology students have used stimulants as an undergraduate, 23% without a prescription. Stimulants were primarily reported to be used to improve focus when studying. Participant users not diagnosed with ADHD were significantly more likely to feel stress stemming from course work than their diagnosed peers. In addition, interviews with 3 professionals associated with treating ADHD patients or dealing with students with the disorder revealed consensus that stimulants should not be prescribed as academic enhancers for various reasons. Therefore, the data suggests that students who are in the pre-health track are more likely to use ADHD stimulant medication than the general student population at UA.
Degree ProgramHonors College