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Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: What Are Stimulants?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

In a recent Drug Facts Chat Day, freeman-jones of Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School, Maryland asked:

Can taking Ritalin help you if you have not been prescribed Ritalin?

Ritalin is a drug used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is classified as a stimulant. The term stimulants can be used to refer to any number of drugs, including prescription drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin’s scientific name) and dextroamphetamine (Adderall).

People diagnosed (by a doctor) with ADHD can benefit from these drug when they’re used as prescribed. However, teens with an ADHD prescription are sometimes pressured by friends to share some of their pills because they think the pills will help them focus or stay alert or ace an exam.

Trouble is, when you take a pill that’s been prescribed for someone else’s weight, symptoms and body chemistry, or take more than the right dose for your own body, it can bring on more harm than good. Like changing your mood in ways that you can’t control, or raising your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. And when the effects wear off, you might feel extreme fatigue and maybe even depression.

Better than borrowing someone’s prescription pills is GETTING SLEEP. It’s safe and easy and will help you learn and stay mentally and physically alert. Maybe that’s why sleep is such a major part of our lives. Get it for free now (okay, wait ‘til bedtime).

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


you can get high off of it

doin health, what are stimulants?! :)

@kiekie There's a lot of information on stimulants on NIDA's teen Web site: And a few more posts here that might be of interest: Good luck on the assignment.

what is stimulants used for?

@amanda and ashley You can find a lot more information about stimulants on the NIDA for Teens Facts on Drugs stimulant page: For information on prescription drugs that are stimulants please visit the prescription stimulant page:

you should never do drugs because it can ruin your life. i know this first hand my aunt did drugs and she got her kid taken and none of our family would talk to herand i couldnt see her for years.

Mate.. Don't ever ever touch this [expletive deleted, per guidelines]. I know everyone thinks "oh i'll be fine its just a harmless liitle bit of extra energy i'll be sweet". But no! I'm 15 years old and have developed an addiction to this [expletive deleted, per guidelines] so bad, and don't try and reply saying it's not addictive because I have experienced it first hand, over a period of time you develop a tolerance to it and need to buy/loan more and more off your mate/dealer to get that buzz that you love. But the problem is the more you have the bigger the 'come down'.

when i'm not on ritalin or know that I can't get anymore it's like someones gone and kicked my happiness and positivity out the door. I feel so depressed that... well lets just say i'm lucky that I have an amazing friend that sticks by me and gives me a reason to carry on.

6 MONTHS! - of atleast 60mg a day, give or take a few days that I couldn't get it (most likely paying off the $100's of dollars of debt I rack up from borrowing money to buy it). Which brings me to my next point that it ruins friendships, family life at home, and you end up getting in trouble with the police because you just don't give a [expetive deleted, per guidelines] all you think about is your next fix of this piece of [expletive deleted, per guidelines] drug.

At one point I had lost everything, I even lost the one thing that was making me happy and that wasn't a drug it was the girl that I truly loved more than anything, she gave up on me just like almost everyone else because I just couldn't see what I had and I lied and I lied and made more and more promises.. And now I JUST WANT TO DIE. So if you don't believe me that's cool [expletive deleted, per guidlines] and try it because i'll most likely be dead soon, because [expletive deleted, per guidelines] LIFE. good luck.

So MY ADVICE - Don't go near it, and if one of your friends is on it, save them from the pain and debt they will get in the long term. tell them to stay away from this [expletive deleted, per guidelines].

And dont think like I used to after reading this, which was "oh that would never happen to me.. blah blah blah"... BECAUSE IT WILL

Have fun.

Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that you have a friend who is sticking by you. You may also want to talk with a trusted adult. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that at this time, you could use anonymous resources like SAMHSA's crisis line (1-800-273-TALK) -- they help people with lots of different problems. SAMHSA also has a Treatment Facility Locator ( that can help you find programs in your area.

were did the people get the idea of stimulants?

@ashley You can find a lot more information about stimulants on the NIDA for Teens Facts on Drugs stimulant page:

What are the effects of stimulants on learning?


There are many different stimulant drugs and many of them have no medical use such as cocaine and meth, for more information about illegal stimulant drugs visit the NIDA for Teens drug facts page on stimulants:

There are also stimulant prescription drugs that are often prescribed to treat ADHD. Like other stimulant drugs, prescription stimulants speed up processes in the body. To learn more about prescription stimulants visit the NIDA for Teens drug facts page on prescription stimulants:

It’s important to understand that ADHD medications affect people with ADHD and without ADHD differently. You can learn more about the differences in the Sara Bellum Blog post “Prescription Stimulants Affect People With ADHD Differently” here:

Thank you very much for all these important comments and advises. I'm a Mom very worried for her teen daughters. God Bless you all !
I have ADHD, and I take Ritalin for it, but when I don't take it, I don't have withdrawal, and I was wondering, if you actually have ADHD and take the medication, is it still possible to become addicted?

Hi Micah, prescription stimulants like Ritalin affect people with ADHD differently from people without ADHD. That's why it's important to only take them if they have been prescribed for you and to talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about becoming addicted. You can also find out more about prescription stimulants like Ritalin at and