In a few months, new and returning students will find themselves facing finals week. It’s a time when young people at many universities in the United States, clear their schedules to study. They may skip their favorite television shows, reduce their hours at work and close their door to the outside world in an effort to maximize their study time and focus.
Some students are doing more than that: They are elevating the intensity of their study habits by using stimulant drugs, such as those prescribed to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Prescription stimulants are medications that high school and college students sometimes misuse in attempts to improve their academic performance. In this context, laypeople and medical professionals commonly refer to these medications as “study drugs.” In a less well-known phenomenon, some teenagers and young adults also misuse prescription stimulants in an attempt to improve their athletic performances. In a study published in September 2013 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from the University of Michigan looked at the misuse of one particular prescription stimulant, Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine), among high school athletes across the U.S.
Teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rely on psychostimulants like Adderall properly balance their brain chemistry to concentrate on both mental and physical tasks. Adderall doesn’t make anyone smarter, but it does help people focus, and that attribute has caught hold with students wanting to take it to help make studying easier.
Prescription stimulants are in great demand to treat the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a couple of other mental disorders, but they are also in great demand among students who want help improving their grades. Teens and young adults who misuse prescription stimulants may not be aware that using stimulants can carry health and legal risks.
If you are the parent of a teen or a pre-teen, the latest news about prescription drugs is important for you to understand. New studies are showing that teens have very easy access to prescription medications, including those they have not been prescribed.
The results from a recent poll have indicated that most parents of teens who abuse “study drugs” like Adderall are unaware of the problem, with the significant majority believing that their kids have never abused prescription stimulants. The findings show that the proportion of parents who know their teen has used a prescription medicine like Ritalin or Adderall non-medically is considerably smaller than the rates of abuse from other studies of the same age group. The research serves as a vital wake-up call for parents across the country, and underlines the importance of watching for the signs and symptoms of abuse.
Doctors began ramping up their prescriptions for Methylphenidate (Ritalin) about 20 years ago. As more kids were diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity, more kids were prescribed Ritalin. Now, students who are otherwise healthy are taking the drug to help them get through finals week.