These days the drug of choice for many teens isn’t found on the streets, it’s in the medicine cabinet. Abuse of prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall is on the rise among high school students according to a study by Monitoring the Future. The project researches the behaviors of high school students through surveys in order to monitor changes in the patterns of smoking, drinking and illicit drug use among teenagers.
Stimulant drugs are used to treat people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They improve focus and attentiveness, increase attention span, and help calm impulsive behavior. They improve symptoms in about 70% of ADHD sufferers.
Many teens taking these drugs without a prescription are doing it to help with their schoolwork. They are also more likely to use them during the school year. The pills are sometimes called “study drugs.” High school students take them so they can stay up all night to study for exams or write papers. Students who feel they have to live up to high academic standards are more likely to turn to using these drugs when feeling the pressure to do well academically.
With the number of children and teenagers diagnosed with ADHD increasing every year, teens are going to have easier access to these drugs even if they haven’t been diagnosed. A separate study done in 2012 found that 12 percent of high school seniors said they had used stimulants without a prescription. There are reports of teens faking symptoms in order to get a prescription or asking for the drugs from friends who have been diagnosed.
Unfortunately for parents, it’s not easy to detect if your son or daughter is abusing these prescription drugs. Teens are able to hide their drug use because the effects of stimulants are more subtle than the effects of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. You may not even realize that your teenager took Ritalin in order to pull an “all nighter” to study for an exam the next day until you see him crash the next afternoon. Even then, you may think it’s just normal teenager behavior.
Extended abuse of stimulants can cause health problems. One major side effect of ADHD drugs is decreased appetite. This can lead to weight loss and possibly malnutrition, especially if the person taking the drug is not monitored by a physician. The drugs can also cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to cardiovascular problems and seizures.
They can also cause psychological symptoms that may be more evident. Teens abusing stimulants may become hostile or paranoid. If they go through withdrawal from the drug, symptoms such as depression and anxiety can surface and last for days, possibly prompting the user to take more in order to get the sense of euphoria and extreme concentration he or she once had.
Stimulants can also be addictive if they are not taken properly or are taken at higher dosages than a physician would prescribe. If the drugs is crushed and snorted or injected rather than taken orally, the risk of it becoming an addict is even greater.
Dependable Drug Rehab in Raleigh for Teenagers
If your teen has a problem with prescription drug abuse, call us today to talk to an admissions counselor about our drug rehab in Raleigh treatment options. We are here to give you the support you need to get your teen into a program that will help them get on the road to recovery. With our personalized treatment plans, your son or daughter will be able to find a solution that works. Because we offer outpatient programs, he or she can continue to go to school or work while getting help in Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville, and Wilmington as well. Call us today to learn more.