Learn what drugs college students use for studying and staying awake

College life can be pretty hectic at times with studying, homework and exams, plus all the other things you normally have to do like laundry, eat and hang out with your friends. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy for it all and you need something to help keep you awake. This is where drugs college students use to stay awake come in. Using drugs is a common practice on college campuses across the nation to help students keep up the hectic pace.

Stay Awake

The use and abuse of prescription medications have become a popular way for college students to stay awake for longer periods of time. The prescription drug abuse in college students includes Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse, which are medications used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Students will use these drugs to keep up with the pressure of being over-worked, over-scheduled and stressed out. Surveys on college students indicate that about 65% of students who abuse stimulant medications reported that they received higher grades, gained a competitive edge and improved their overall work performance levels. Having a positive outcome was the result of prescription drug abuse college students use to stay awake to achieve goals.

Most college students feel immense pressure to consistently out-perform their peers. Prescription drug use helps them achieve this goal and also allows them to be more sociable. Obtaining the drugs is easy because the students buy the drugs from their peers who are prescribed the medication by their doctor. The patient may amplify their symptoms to their doctor so that they can receive a larger or stronger dose of the medication. The student who buys the medication may not believe that it is dangerous or addictive to use the drug because it is a prescription.

Study Habits

Prescription stimulants are also drugs college students use for studying. The use of these drugs is purportedly not only able to help the student stay awake, but also helps them focus, and improves mental clarity and retention.  Popping pills is an everyday occurrence for some college students especially during finals week, which is extremely stressful. Because of the large extent of abuse of stimulant drugs among some college students, there has been an increase in anxiety disorders. Students are pushing themselves to the limits of what their body can handle and it is beginning to affect them physically and mentally.


Stress has become a huge factor with college students who feel overwhelmed by the number of stressors that they face on a daily basis. Because there is a greater emphasis on “getting the grade” or “getting the degree,” college students are being pushed beyond their limits to attain the goal. And pill popping has become routine for some students who need the extra push.


Drugs college students use to stay awake, such as stimulant prescription medications, can have adverse side effects when abused. Some of the negative effects of these drugs are:

  • Anxiety, paranoia, restlessness,
  • Suppressed appetite, headache, dizziness
  • Increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, impotence
  • Insomnia, constipation, diarrhea
  • Physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal effects

The use of stimulant prescription drugs by college students can have adverse health complications that may affect the student physically and mentally. Just because a drug is prescribed by a doctor does not mean that it is safe for you to take it. Some medications are used to replace or increased specific activity in the brain or body that the patient is not naturally producing. When a healthy person takes the medication it can interfere and alter the natural flow of specific functions, and negatively affect the person’s health. If you are using someone else’s prescription medication to improve your scholastic achievement in college, you may be doing harm to yourself without realizing it. Most college campuses offer time management and study skills programs as an alternative to taking drugs. You may want to check with your doctor if you have been using a large amount of these drugs because you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop.

Taking Drugs that college students use for studying is not a safe habit to get into. You can find safe alternatives to help you handle the stress and expectations of academic success. And you will not be putting yourself in harm’s way.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.