Focus Drugs: Have They Sucked You In Yet?

Focus drugs sales, also called smart drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin are at an all-time high. In our dog-eat-dog world, everyone from elementary students to college students to business owners are looking for leverage. Often times this comes in the form of performance. Focus drugs, energy drinks, and even some nutritional products are being used to enhance performance, productivity and focus. From parents to professionals, the question being asked is:

Can they get the grade?

Will I be able to close the deal?

Am I performing at my highest potential?

What really needs to be asked is, at what cost?

The condition of Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has been increasingly diagnosed since it was first published as a condition in 1987. What follows an increase in a diagnosis? An increase in prescriptions, of course. Focus drugs are big business.

From $4.7 billion in 2006 to a projected $17.5 billion by 2020.

There is no debate that these drugs work. They stimulate the central nervous system and affect chemicals in the brain helping with impulse control, focus, and alertness. For those that need them (we can discuss why they are in need of them another time), taking these medications can be life-changing and life-saving, but there is a large amount of misuse as well.

Potential side effects of focus drugs are:





Blurred vision

Dry mouth



Increased blood pressure


Loss of appetite

Hair loss


Increased heart rate

Heart palpitations


There is practically no research on the long-term effects of using these drugs on humans.

Our children, our college students, and our spouses are the guinea pigs. Once tried, the effects of these drugs are so enticing that people will go to great lengths to acquire more. Legally or illegally.

And just like any other amphetamine, focus drugs stimulate a release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters increase feelings of focus, motivation, and arousal. It is the presence and the binding of dopamine to receptor sites that contribute to the sublime feeling we get with anything from sex to chocolate. The body, being brilliant, seeks homeostasis and will remove dopamine receptors to balance the extra dopamine coming in causing a need for more and more of the chemical in order to achieve the same effects. This leaves a person lost when the drug isn’t available causing in its withdrawal a feeling of loss and depression.

Side effects of withdrawal can be:




Aches and pain



It’s hard to give up on something so tied to productivity, performance, and success. Help can be found with a therapist trained in addiction and here. It is so important to break this addiction if you can’t avoid the slippery slope in the first place. Rest assured once you are completely off, you will find yourself again and exceed your expectations of what you are capable of.

Seek Help. Stay strong.

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