Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder, or ADHD, is characterized by impulsive behavior, difficulty paying attention and/or following instructions, restlessness and being easily distracted. While this sounds like most young children you know or have met, there are apparently cases where it is so extreme that some psychiatrists feel it is necessary to prescribe medication to treat it.
The prescription drugs that psychiatrists prescribe for ADHD are usually the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. These drugs serve to calm a patient down and allow them to be more focused. They are often abused by teens before studying for a big test and before exams so that they are more focused and are able to recall the information they need more quickly.
They have their downside, too: memory lapses, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, etc. They have been known to be at the root of sudden problems in school, a sudden change in activities or friends, a shift in sleeping or eating habits or both, unexplained memory lapses, mood swings and weight loss, etc. The surest warning sign that a teen is abusing drugs is anything out of the ordinary. Any sudden shifts in behavior. It is all worth investigating.
Calls to poison control centers related to teenagers who were victims of ADHD medication rose 76% from 1998 to 2005. This was a faster rise than the calls for victims of general substance abuse. There is some cause for concern since this indicates possibly more increase in the future. The rapid growth of such abuse can spell disaster on a large scale in a short amount of time.
If more and more teens abuse prescription ADHD drugs, more and more deaths and/or accidents will occur. Abuse of prescription drugs should not be treated lightly as they are very powerful and their use must be strictly monitored by a license medical professional. Untold damage can be done to a teens life, relationships and/or future career. It is important to frown on prescription drug abuse whenever possible.
The side effects are often your best indicator that something is amiss. A responsible parent or teacher needs to be aware of what the side effects are of the most commonly abused drugs so they can vigilantly spot them should they arise. It would behoove a person to know what drugs are most popular in their area by statistic, so they know what to look out for. Asking the school nurse or local sheriff’s office would be the best way to do this.
But the very best treatment is prevention. And the very best way to prevent prescription drug abuse is education. A parent should educate him or herself and educate their teenager. They must remember that time they don't spend with their teen, learning about life, is time they are learning about life from someone else. Who are they learning about life from?
If they are learning about life from their soccer coach and the rest of their team, they are probably getting good lessons. If they are learning about life from the shady kids who smoke cigarettes outside 7-11, they are probably not learning good lessons. If they are learning about life at a party with no adult supervision, they are probably not learning valuable lessons that will help them be successful and happy in life.
Teens and children need lots of love, patience and kindness and lots of attention and constant positive activity if they are going to avoid becoming addicted to drugs. The more time they spend with a parent or other positive role model, the better chance they have of avoiding the trap of drugs.
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