Superwoman Syndrome and the Abuse of Adderall
For many years women have been told that they can have it all and, believing that is true, have been busy doing what it takes to try and do just that. What women aren’t told as often is that once you have it all, you have to keep up with it all. This frenetic drive to have it all and keep it all going is sometimes referred to as Superwoman Syndrome.The weight of balancing so many hard-won responsibilities has caused some women to turn to drugs in order to keep from dropping any of their many spinning plates. Today attractive, well-educated, professional women are using pills to help them meet and exceed the high expectations placed upon them by themselves and others. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than seven million women in this country have used prescription drugs to pep themselves up, calm themselves down or help stay at their physical and mental peak.
American women tend to view using prescription stimulants, painkillers and anti-anxiety medications in this way as something other than criminal. Most often, women report misusing prescription drugs, like Adderall, as a way to improve their performance at work, home and in the gym without considering that they are actually living as drug abusers. Government agencies report that the number of prescribed stimulants (like Adderall) has increased three fold over the last 10 years. Sometimes women are abusing their own prescriptions and sometimes they resort to pilfering the prescriptions of their own children and friends.
Nationwide, the trend has been away from use/abuse of harsh street drugs like cocaine and heroin and increasingly toward abuse of prescription medications which are perceived as safer. This shift away from street drugs seems to be largely propelled by women. Men are more often connected to street drugs, but when it comes to prescription drugs, women share equal rank with men in terms of abuse. This could be due to the fact that women are more often prescribed the most-often abused drugs in the first place. On the other hand, it could reflect women’s bumping up against the cold reality that they are not super-women capable of doing, being and maintaining it all.
Stimulants like Adderall are popular with women because the drug delivers a steady stream of energy and mental clarity. However, women are also abusing prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs. Rather than accept their own limitations, modern women are popping a pill to fill whatever tank seems to be running low. Yet, having a doctor’s prescription is no guarantee of safety. These are powerful drugs and they do come with negative side effects. Stimulants can lead to irregular heart rates, a rise in blood pressure and statistics are showing an alarming rise in the number of accidental overdose fatalities.
Superwoman is not reality. Sadly, a growing number of women abusing prescription drugs is the reality.