Tag Archives: prescription stimulants

Prescription Drug Abuse Includes More Than Just Painkillers

Prescription Drug Abuse Prescription painkillers have wreaked havoc on the nation for several years. The number of people who abuse pills like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet are still astronomical, and so are the number of people who have died from prescription painkiller overdoses. In fact, with millions of Americans abusing painkillers, it is likely that everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.

It is no wonder that this is the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about prescription drug abuse. However, there are other types of medications that are being abused as well, and we cannot lose focus on preventing and treating all types of prescription drug problems.

Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse and other drugs that are prescribed to people with ADHD are prescription stimulants that are also commonly abused. These medications have often been dubbed as “study drugs” due to the number of college students who use the drug without having a prescription for it. Although the amphetamine-like qualities may allow them to stay awake longer and concentrate more for a short period of time, the risk is far greater than most young people realize.

Many experts have indicated that prescription stimulants are also popular gateway drugs that lead users on to trying more drugs as well. The abuse potential for drugs like Adderall is very high, and users can also feel cravings, irritability, anxiety and even paranoia.

“The bad side effects of it are that it sometimes makes me less social and sometimes I get easily annoyed if someone interrupts me when I am in the middle of something,” said Lilly, a college student that relies on Adderall and Vyvanse to get through her day.

So, while maintaining a heavy focus on prescription painkillers is important, it is also vital that we include all types of prescription drugs, as there are others beyond stimulants and painkillers that are frequently abused.

Doctors Can Help Curb Adderall Abuse

prescription stimulantsWhen Adderall and other ADHD medications first hit the market, many people were encouraged that those suffering from the disorder would get the help they need. However, as time has passed it has become clear that drugs designed to help people maintain focus and overcome attention deficits have turned into drugs that are commonly abused.

High school and college students tend to abuse these drugs at higher rates than other groups, but some studies have shed light on the growing Adderall problem among professionals and stay-at-home moms, among other populations.

In 2009 a study showed that 5% of high school students in the United States admitted to abusing Adderall. This number jumped to 7% in 2013. And a recent review of studies found that at least 5% and as many as 35% of college students rely on prescription stimulants to get them through their workload. Many experts fear that this early reliance on chemicals only increases the chances that they will resort to further illicit drugs use.

The problem with Adderall, like most abused prescription drugs, is that the pills are very effective for their targeted uses. They allow someone who is suffering from ADHD to be more focused and alert on single tasks. Doctors cannot stop prescribing this medication altogether since it does help some people, but prescribing practices need to be improved to ensure that those who do seemingly benefit an still have access, while other people who misuse the drug aren’t able to obtain nearly as easily as they can now.

The prescription drug problem has put the spotlight on the medical profession, causing some doctors and administrators to shy away from readily prescribing anything that can be addictive. This has caused further problems. Similar situations have been found in other areas of medicine, especially pain management. One of the best ways to help this for doctors to recommend more treatments and therapies that aren’t pharmaceutically-based and that are often just as effective without the side effects or risk of being abused.

Study Examines Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants

drugalcdependcoverA new study shows that teenagers are actually more likely to experiment and abuse ADHD drugs than older college students. This goes against the common belief that college students are the most likely to resort to medications like Adderall or Ritalin in order to study for exams and juggle new responsibilities.

The results of the research are published in the July issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence and shows that children aged 16 to 19 are the most likely to abuse prescription stimulant drugs. The results from the study illustrate the need to educate children against drug abuse at younger ages.

“We need to have a realistic understanding of when young people are beginning to experiment with stimulants, so we can prevent them from misusing for the first time. To prevent someone from using for the first time is often more cost efficient and effective than trying to intervene once they have done it, whether a few times or for years,” explained Elizabeth Austic, the lead author of the study from the University of Michigan.

The benefit to studies like this one is that educators and parents are more aware of the age group that education and prevention methods need to start. Instead of waiting until children are in high school to talk about certain topics or substances, frankly addressing the issues with children at younger ages seems to be a better tactic. By the time children reach the age of 16, where temptation to abuse ADHD medication appears to begin its peak range, they may have already made up their minds about how they feel about drugs.

Another interesting aspect of the study was the revelation that 18 year-old women are twice as likely to abuse prescription stimulants as their male counterparts. Much of this is attributed to the appetite suppressant qualities of the drugs and the pressure to appear or feel thinner. All of this shows that our young people are under tremendous stress and are continuously exposed to dangerous substances as means of coping in life. We must work smarter earlier in their lives to help them be more resilient to those pressures, as well as change cultural norms that create the false perceptions about life.

More Adults Using Prescription Stimulants

lancetpsychTypically, the demographic that seems to abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin has been high school and college-aged students. The drugs are said to temporarily increase concentration and focus, but many people have become addicted to these drugs, as they are amphetamines.

A new trend has started to emerge regarding the abuse of ADHD medicine. Doctors throughout the country are starting to see more and more adults request and receive prescriptions for these stimulants, quite in addition to the rising number of diagnoses.

“What we do know about this is the number of prescription written for adults is far outpacing the number of ADHD diagnoses being made,” explained Dr. Holly Phillips to CBS News.

A paper was recently published in the British medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry that indicates the number of adults who are choosing to take ADHD drugs for “lifestyle” reasons may be in the millions. The American Journal of Psychiatry says that around 4.5% of adults are diagnosed with ADHD, however there are many more prescriptions being written for these stimulants.

The dangers in taking prescription stimulants are basically the same as taking any other form of amphetamine. Increased heart rate, agitation, sleeplessness, paranoia and a high potential for abuse and addiction. Seeking out a healthier lifestyle will typically produce much better results compared to these types of drugs. If you suspect you have a loved one who is hooked on a prescription stimulant, contact us today.

New Study Shows ADHD Drugs Don’t Improve Academics

nberA study recently conducted by the nonprofit National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER) looked at 4,000 students in Quebec taking stimulant medications for ADHD over an average of 11 years. The results might be surprising to many physicians and educators.

The kids taking the prescriptions did not perform better in their studies compared to others with similar symptoms not taking medication. In fact, it found that the boys who were medicated actually did worse.

The Wall Street Journal quoted study co-author Janet Currie from the Center for Health & Wellbeing at Princeton University as saying “The possibility that [medication] won’t help them [in school] needs to be acknowledged and needs to be closely monitored.”

The academic outcomes were only a portion of the study, as they also found that emotional problems increased among the girls who were on the drugs. Both of these findings appear to be contrary to how medications like Ritalin and Adderall are marketed.

There are doctors who seek to change lifestyle factors for ADHD symptoms first such as diet, sleep, exercise and reduction of tv or video games before turning to a prescription stimulant. Although there are undoubtedly many kids, parents, teachers and doctors who have seen positive results from taking stimulant medications for ADHD symptoms, this new study really cannot be ignored. There is also the fact that these drugs continue to be diverted and used non-medically, as they have a high potential for abuse and dependency.

If you or someone you know has had a problem with a prescription stimulant or any other drug and are in need of treatment, contact Desert Cove Recovery today.