In a society where chronic obesity runs rampant, life is becoming faster and faster-paced, and medication is the solution to almost everything, Adderall is becoming a prevalent off-label diet pill for many.
Adderall contains four different types of amphetamines and is often called amphetamine mixed salts. It is normally prescribed to those diagnosed with attention deficit disorder – with or without hyperactivity – and narcolepsy.
Adderall may help develop focus amd concentration, as well as decrease fatigue, but the side effects include loss of appetite, weight loss and insomnia.
“After six hours after taking the drug, I would feel slightly groggy, the way I sometimes get in the early afternoon when my morning coffee wears off. But when I’d lie down for an afternoon nap, I couldn’t (go to) sleep,” said Joshua Foer, a freelance writer for Slate Magazine who took Adderall as an experiment.
Although the purpose of a drug may be to help someone focus, people are taking the medication to experience the side effects.
“Amphetamines classically reduce hunger,” said professor Dee Shepherd-Look, who has been teaching psychology since 1970 and works at the parent-child interaction program at CSUN in Monterey Hall. “People notice that many drugs have desirable side effects and start using them for reasons that are not intended. This is called off-label use.”
At the children’s clinic where Shepherd-Look does her practice, the number two drug prescribed is Adderall, one position shy from Ritalin.
Adderall is FDA-approved for children with attention-deficit disorders. It has not, however, been clinically tested for the use of weight loss. Still, some physicians across the nation do prescribe the drug to, in part, assist with weight loss.
“In my personal view point, there is overuse of Adderall,” Shepherd-Look said. “It is over-prescribed and overused. Sometimes you use the drug to treat something that should be treated with psychological methods and not simply medication.”
According to CSUN dietician Ellen Bauersfeld, at least 50 percent of students come in to lose weight. Hundreds of students visit the Klotz Student Health Center hoping to be prescribed drugs that can help shed pounds.
“There are many that have done crash diets, nutritionally inadequate and not feeling well,” Bauersfeld said. “There is so much nutrition misinformation out there. … Students who try pills are driven for a quick fix.”
She said that chronic dieters and patients who have a tendency to have an eating disorder may resort to taking diet pills.
Shepherd-Look expressed concerns about a society that overuses drugs for a quick fix.
“Whether hyperactive or overweight, people need to find out how to cope with the issues without just popping a pill,” she said.
Amphetamines may initially help with weight loss, but data suggests that when they are not taken anymore, the weight can come back, and generally at a faster rate prior to the drug use.