Abuse of ADHD Medication Among Teens
Written by Greg Hitchcock, in Section Articles
Abuse of Ritalin and other ADHD medicine is still increasing according to one study done by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It was found that college-aged students were the most likely to abuse these drugs, with high school teens following close behind. These groups are more prone to feel pressured into staying awake long periods of time in order to prepare for tests or do more than is expected to excel in sports or other activities.
The Numbers Are Shocking
Between the years of 2006 and 2011, emergency room visits due to abuse of these drugs increased over 150 percent among those over eighteen. Not only is this scary, but use by those who weren't prescribed the drugs increased about 67 percent during that same period. One reason abuse of these drugs is not as noticeable to parents as that of illicit drugs is that many of these teens are not the type to be considered at risk of drug abuse. They are often high achievers who are looking for a way to excel even further. The risks, however, are many.
Side Effects Can Be Deadly
Abuse of ADHD drugs put the abuser at risk of sleep deprivation, which can cause a multitude of health issues, including heart trouble. When mixed with alcohol, as is often the case among teens, the danger increases considerably.
Medications used for ADHD are stimulants and alcohol has the opposite effect. Rather than "cancel" each other out, they actually cause the body to become confused as to what it needs to do. People who are on the medication often end up drinking more because the effects of the alcohol aren't felt as easily. It wears off, however, and the individual can end up passed out or in a coma because of alcohol poisoning. You simply can't predict how any one individual's body will react to the combination.
What Can A Parent Do?
One of the best things a parent can do is keep an open line of communication with your teen. Talk to them about the danger, but also see where their minds are in regards to feeling pressure. If you suspect your teen has a problem and is abusing ADHD drugs, or any other substance, never hesitate to get them help as soon as possible. Their lives can literally depend upon your quick intervention.