Like every generation before it, the members of the millennial generation are now taking their turn under the microscope of scrutiny. Scientists study them, economists track them, marketers cater to them, and the media focuses on them. If you're part of this demographic, this attention can be overwhelming, but it also makes perfect sense.
The world just watched you grow up, after all, and now it must adjust to your increasing influence as you and your peers begin to reproduce, build careers and become the most visible members of society. But what happens when you turn to "smart drugs" to cope with these pressures?
Adderall, Ritalin, and other prescription stimulants have been a constant presence in the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of the millennial generation. The following questions are common among those who struggle to understand this connection.
People in their 20's and 30's have always been stereotyped and analyzed, and millennials are no exception. However, there are two brand new factors that make their experience different and incomparable from any before it: the Internet and the increased use of pharmaceutical drugs.
Millennials spend more time in front of screens and take more prescription medications than anyone has before, throughout all of human history. Many view this as the cause and effect, respectively, of shorter attention spans. In other words, access to information and entertainment is so easy that millennials have become overstimulated. Video games, smartphones, and social media have conditioned them to always move onto the next image, conversation or idea, so they haven't developed the ability to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time. One theory is millennials haven't developed the ability to concentrate in the same way or depth as those generations before them as they haven't needed toâ€”entertainment happens with little input or effort. Entertainment is also non-stop with few restrictions on time or content so it's all fun, all the time!
Some notice this increase in stimulant prescriptions and point to an improved understanding of problems that have always plagued young people — but are only now being understood and treated. Psychological conditions such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are diagnosed at higher rates, and more and more pharmaceuticals now exist to fill this new need for mental stimulation and regulation. Others are concerned that pathologizing normal, healthy transitions of life can make people, in particular, millennials, less tolerant of discomfort and change, and, perhaps, less resilient to stressors as a result.
Increased exposure to pharmaceuticals may change the relationship people perceive with drugs. Saint Jude Retreats doesn't believe in heavy terms like "drug abuse" because substance use is different for every person. However, diversion rates are high for stimulants like Adderall, which means people often sell or exchange them with those who don't have prescriptions. That's because their effects include improved focus and alertness, so they make it easier for people to be productive and retain information.
As a result, stimulants have become known as "study drugs" or "smart drugs". Because millennials were in high school, college, and grad school as stimulant prescriptions increased, they were the first generation to rely on them in significant numbers to make their schoolwork seem easier and to use them in their career and personal lives.
Of course, people have always complained that younger generations don't focus or work hard. In fact, at Saint Jude Retreats, concentration and discipline are among the many skills we can help our guests hone. Millennials may have access to more pharmaceuticals than previous generations but that doesn't mean they have to worry more about addiction. Using smart drugs or any drugs, legal or illegal, as prescribed or to excess, is an individual choice you make.
We prefer to deal with people as the individuals they are and have our guests be the decision makers in whatever changes they feel will benefit them and their particular situation. If you are thinking about changing your drug or alcohol habits, please call one of our Family Consultants so you can make your best informed decision on a program.