The most common reason for taking ADHD medication among survey respondents was “to make studying for a test, etc. more effective.” 27 of the 31 participants (87%) who reported using study drugs selected this as the primary or one of the primary justifications for taking psychostimulants. It is also worth noting that 17 of the participants who reported using study drugs for this reason were not prescribed ADHD medication. The next most important justification for the non-prescribed was “it makes studying more enjoyable,” followed by, “to keep up with others who take study drugs.”
It seems that many students find they can focus for longer stretches of time in order to complete assignments or study for exams while experiencing the effects of ADHD medication. In addition, their mentality towards work appears to shift positively under these effects. These aspects together appear to delay the onset of study fatigue, offering an enticing way to complete difficult coursework. One student's report for the justification of illicit ADHD medication use confirms this notion:
"I do find the use of study drugs to be helpful. A lot of times I find myself with a lot to do and not a lot of time. Study drugs help me stay focused and get things done in a way that is easier, faster, and more enjoyable for me."
Despite that fact that most illicit users reported that they were aware of the health risks involved in taking psychostimulants, these benefits are clearly enough to reinforce this dangerous behavior.
Finally, 4 participants reported “to party” as a reason for taking psychostimulants. These respondents were all non-prescribed users.
As for the prescribed users in this study, the most common reason for taking ADHD medication is to restore normal function. Of the 12 prescribed respondents, 7 reported that they cannot focus on their academics without their medication because of their condition – a problem which their medications seem effective in remedying.