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Freshmen Seminar NBB on Adderall

Freshmen Seminar NBB on Adderall - Michael Yoon Professor...

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Michael Yoon Professor Crutchner F. Seminar Brain Enhancement Mon, Wed, Fri, 2:00-3:00 It’s 2:00 A.M. A student prepares for his final exam. “It’s going to be an all- nighter,” he thinks to himself. He reaches into his drawer for a pill. This pill not only keeps him alert but concentrated throughout the entire night. Many college students like the student above enhance cognitive performance by abusing Adderall, a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Narcolepsy. When consumed, Adderall increases concentration and energy in users for long periods regardless of lack of sleep or fatigue. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2009), Adderall is abused by more than 7% of students on college campuses to study harder and more efficiently. As the number of students abusing Adderall increases, college campuses should address the issue and focus on awareness and prevention of Adderall abuse in students. Adderall is an amphetamine used to treat ADHD patients. When Adderall enters the bloodstream, it directly affects the dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the many aspects of the brain such as cognition, movement, or motivation. Berridge (2006) discovered that Adderall forces the brain to release excess dopamine reserves, creating an overflow in the synapse regions, the area where neurotransmitters are received. The dopamine binds to the receptor sites, but the excess dopamine has nowhere to go. The overflow of dopamine forces the dopamine pathways to speed up, resulting in amplification of the neurotransmitter signal. This leads to the increases in heart rate and concentration after the drug is used. Adderall also affects serotonin and norepinephrine, other neurotransmitters that regulate reward/punishment and adrenaline respectively. Adderall blocks the receptor sites of these neurotransmitters, and the effect is the same: excess neurotransmitters at the synapse sites. As research continues, scientists continue to learn more about the effects of Adderall on the brain.
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