Tag Archives: Ritalin

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.

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.