The Anxiety Of The Teen Hacker

3411 Words May 3rd, 2015 14 Pages
Deep in Silicon Valley, a startup is scrambling to finish coding for a project. With time running out, the company considers hiring a budding teen hacker to help with the task. The teen hacker assures the company’s founder that he can complete the coding in just two days. “You think you can do our whole job in two days?” the founder inquires skeptically. “I know I can do it in two days,” assures the teen. “I pound Mello Yello, Oreos, and Adderall, and I don’t sleep ‘till I’m done.” Depressives have Prozac, worrywarts have Valium, gym rats have steroids, and overachievers have Adderall.
While this scene from HBO’s Silicon Valley may be fictional, the teen hacker’s penchant for Adderall in pressure situations illustrates an increasingly common reality among young Americans. Made of mixed amphetamine salts, Adderall is one of many stimulants used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) along with Ritalin, Concerta, and Vyvanse. These prescription stimulants are increasingly be used by people without ADHD to increase focus and alertness. Such nonmedical use of Adderall is particularly popular among college students looking to increase their academic performance, garnering these stimulants nicknames such as “study drugs” or “smart drugs” (Clemow & Walker, 2014). Despite these seemingly good intentions, off-label use of Adderall and similar prescription stimulants has serious health effects including addiction.
Considered wonder drugs by many young students,…

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