Thanks you guys - those are some really excellent replies.
The Greek - yup I have the XR version. I'll give the rapid release a shot again - good suggestion.
Bill Roberts - that's the best explanation of how it feels to be ADHD I have yet heard. Yeah I am taking the smallest dose I can to still get the intrinsic/extrinsic effect. 20 mg of XR is pretty low on the dosage scale actually.
JerryRicePns - I hear what you're saying, but for me it's not about willpower. I have the big-picture willpower in life. I don't party. Whatever I do in life I want to be the best and I ENJOY putting in the hours and work to achieve my goals - I achieved them in undergrad, then in business. Now my goal is to go to medical school. But it is not fun to have to constantly fight your own brain to finish tasks, and it wears you down.
Also, I don't know if you've ever tried to take a full time load of science courses, but to be the number one student in courses like that takes many hours of work each day. Zero procrastination is possible. Hours of memorization. Hours of practice solving problems. It's honestly the same as training for sports, except you're using a different muscle. My muscle is on or off. With adderall I can study 6 hours a day outside of class, and academically crush most any other students in humanities or sciences. Without it I'm trying to build surfboard fins, as Bill Roberts said.
My goal is to get into a top-10 medical school. The average acceptance rate for top 10 programs is about 3%.
For many pro-bodybuilders it takes optimal genetics, optimal training, optimal nutrition + steroids.
For many "pro students" today it takes a optimal genetics (high I.Q.), optimal study skills, optimal study volume + ADHD drugs. The competition for the top programs is insane. And the rat race doesn't stop once you're in med school - class rank and board scores seriously influence residency options. Anybody wanting orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, radiology, dermatology, plastic surgery needs to be toward the top of their med school class, which of course is already filled with smart people. It is what it is.
Every drug has a downside - only the individual can say whether the benefit is worth the cost.
People definitely abuse it though - the two categories I can think of are models I know who take it to stay abnormally thin, and fellow students who take it simply so that they can party and procrastinate, and still cram the night before a test to pull a C.