If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 838255
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Travis Zielinski

Looking for a Boost? ADHD Meds Aren’t the Answer

Long hours, changing work shifts and back-to-back trainings may leave you wanting help focusing. Taking ADHD (attention deficient hyperactivity disorder) medications without a prescription is not the answer. Find out why.

What are ADHD meds?

Most ADHD meds, which you may know by names like Adderall® or Ritalin®, are stimulants and come in pill form. They require a prescription and are given to people with ADHD to help them focus. In some career fields, an ADHD diagnosis may be a disqualifier or require a waiver for deployment.

ADHD meds may seem to be commonly prescribed so you may think they are safe to share. However, some studies show that ADHD meds do not have the same helpful effects for people who have not been diagnosed with ADHD. People who misuse the drug are playing a risky game. In fact, to prevent misuse and harmful effects, health care providers prescribe these meds with restrictions on dose and length of use.

You can overdose on and even become addicted to ADHD meds.

What are the risks of misusing ADHD meds?

Misusing ADHD meds isn’t the solution to try to cope with long days and the demands of military life. Before you think about trying a buddy’s prescription or giving them some of yours, know that these drugs will pop positive on drug tests which can harm your career. Also, even if you have a valid prescription, know that using stimulants like ADHD meds can have harmful side effects. As with many stimulants, overdosing on ADHD meds can cause the “shakes,” rapid breathing, hallucinations (seeing things that are not there), stomach problems, heart attack, poisoning, coma and even death.

If you are feeling tired or unable to focus, talk with your health care provider about good nutrition, sleep and other options. You can also try some of these tips to remain alert on duty.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 838255