As we all know, addiction can materialize in many forms. And one area that doesn’t always get a lot of coverage is adderall dependencies (the prescribed medication meant to help with attention deficit disorder). Believe it or not, this is a common occurrence for young Americans and recently got put into the spotlight thanks to the trendy news site, Buzzfeed.
This past week, Buzzfeed published an excerpt from a notable new book on the subject. The title is Attention, A Love Story and it is actually written by a contributor to their site named Casey Schwartz. Her addiction battle actually began while she was a student at Brown University and it happened in a rather unconventional way.
Schwartz did not actually suffer from ADD, but was struggling as a first year student. In what has become a common occurrence on campuses across the United States, black market adderall was given to her to help maintain energy levels and focus during all night studying sessions.
Schwartz was never prescribed the drug, but took it anyway. As with most addictions, the initial high actually worked in her favor. As she explained in her Buzzfeed piece, adderall helped her accomplish her study goals and keep up with intense classroom assignments. However, things took a turn for the worse as she became more and more dependent. Mood swings and lost friendships soon followed.
“At first, it was fantastic,” Shwartz explained. “I could study all night, then run ten miles, then breeze that week’s New Yorker. Then I began to lose weight. I started to snap at friends, abruptly accessing huge depths of fury I wouldn’t have thought I possessed.”
It all finally came to a head during Schwartz’ senior year at Brown. After struggling with an adderall dependency for nearly four years, she finally overdosed and nearly lost her life. The harrowing experience that landed Shwartz in the emergency room is intricately chronicled in her Attention book.
“I’d had a drug overdose, which seemed like the kind of thing one told one’s parents about,” she explained in her excerpt. “A few days later, I drew incompletes in all my classes and came home to New York.”
So the thing that Schwartz felt could be a tool to advance her college career, ultimately undid it. Since that night back in 2004, she has become a staunch recovery advocate and influencer; particularly honing in on adderall problems across universities. It is definitely a topic worth addressing and one that is well covered in her new book.