Struggle to pay attention neither good or bad

Struggle to pay attention neither good or bad

ULM Hawkeye

pillsThe use of ADD and ADHD pills isn’t uncommon on college campuses. Students often use the medication for study purposes.

Malena Morales is one of many students who struggle to focus in class and take medication to help.

Although Morales, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, knew she had ADHD early on, it wasn’t always an issue.

“I was able to control it in high school by staying active in extracurricular activities,” Morales said. “But when I got to college, I found it harder to focus while my professors taught.”

Watching teachers write things on the board and listening to what they said became more difficult for Morales. As her class sizes increased, her struggle to focus did too.

Morales also said it was hard for her to consider the fact she might be in need of medication.

“I didn’t think I needed it,” said Morales. “It took a while to accept it.”

Morales eventually gave into the idea after trying to do it on her own during her freshman year. Though she didn’t like it at first, she quickly saw improvement.

“My grades dramatically increased and I can organize everything in my life now,” said Morales.

Morales takes Vyvanse and said she is able to “zone in and focus” on what her professors are saying now.  It has also helped her to organize and study more effectively.

However, Jacob Dycus had a different experience. He said the medicine made him feel “slow and sluggish.”

“It doesn’t just slow your thought process, it slows your reaction time down,” said Dycus, a senior music education major.

Dycus has ADD, and said he took Adderall, Strattera and other drugs that didn’t work for him. It took a toll on his emotions and his life in general.

“It comes to a point where it almost makes you robotic,” Dycus said.

Dycus said he stopped taking the medication his senior year of high school and it made him feel normal again.

“I felt more expressive,” said Dycus. “It gave me more energy.”

Quitting the medication put Dycus in a better mood, but he still had problems focusing.  He said he had to “practice focusing.”

“ADD can be cured by other ways than just taking medicine,” Dycus said.

Dycus said people shouldn’t become dependent on it, but should use it to help them “learn how to focus.”

He said working out or doing a constructive activity could help.

Students will often ask friends for their prescription medication in hopes of a focus boost.

Jon Nickelson said students usually have access to the medication through others that use it and by going to the doctor and claiming to have the symptoms.

“You can approach a physician or practitioner that has prescription authority and tell them the classic symptoms of ADHD and even acquire a prescription without an accurate diagnosis,” said Nickelson, assistant professor of clinical practice.

He said while students may use the medication to help them stay up late, it could also have negative effects on their grades.

“After the drug wears off, you may be overly tired and actually perform worse,” said Nickelson.

Nickelson also said because ADD and ADHD medication are stimulants, they have the potential to elevate the heart rate and worsen any health conditions one may have before taking them.