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Do Stimulants Improve College Student GPA (who don’t have ADHD)?


No, according to a recent large scale study…

In a study published 2017 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, Arria et al., found that grades did not significantly increase for college students without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who take stimulants non-medically.

They looked at a sample of 898 college students over a two year period; one group never used stimulants; a second group used stimulants the first year, but not the second; a third group didn’t use stimulants the first year, but did the second; and a final group that used stimulants over both years of the study.

None of these students had been diagnosed with ADHD, nor did they have a prescription for the stimulant medication.

What did the study author’s find?

None of the groups who used stimulant medication non-medically, that is, were not diagnosed with ADHD and did not have a prescription for stimulant medication…none had a significant increase in their Grade Point Average (GPA).

The study authors did find a small, but statistically significant, increase in GPA for students who never used the stimulant medication.

So, we know from the previous article that college students believe that using stimulants will help increase their grades, but early indications are this just isn’t the case.

Students who have ADHD, appropriately diagnosed, may benefit from appropriate treatment, but those who don’t, likely won’t improve their grades. Maybe, just maybe, the solution for students to increase their grades is to improve study skills and study habits.

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