Stimulant medication could be the miracle drug, or the most harmful thing to hit the younger generations. Medications such as Adderall and Ritalin are playing a prominent role in many adolescents’ lives, or the lives of people close to them. There is an “underground market” for medications like these, and the market is growing quickly. Whether just to make sure they pass that next test, or if they really believe they need it, stimulants’ popularity is soaring, and not just among adolescents but doctors as well. Stimulant medication / therapy is being prescribed at a growing rate, leading to many cases of misuse and diversion that can severely affect the users entire life, and play a very unclear part in any other substance abuse they engage in later in life.
ADHD is quickly becoming one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders, and the rate seems to continue increasing as more information on it becomes available. Then again ADHD has a fairly wide range of functions it can affect. While the disorder, for children anyway, can be simplified down to hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, those three symptoms can affect “cognitive, academic, behavioral, emotional, and social functioning,” quickly becoming a major problem. Over the years, a complex diagnostic process has been developed specifically for children. “For children <17 years, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition) diagnosis of ADHD requires ≥6 symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity or ≥6 symptoms of inattention. For adolescents ≥17 years and adults, ≥5 symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity or ≥5 symptoms of inattention are required.” In addition to those exact requirements, in order to even be considered symptoms they have to be frequent, consistent, recurring, excessive,
Drugs classified as “stimulants” include such names as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrin, Daytrana, Metadate, Methylin, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Quillivant. These are considered stimulants because they raise the levels of nervous and physiological activity in the patient, stimulating their nervous system. They are the most commonly prescribed medication to treat ADHD, as the effects of these drugs seem to minimize or completely eliminate the most problematic symptoms, such as a short attention span, hyperactivity, fidgeting, and impulsive and interruptive behavior, while helping the patient complete tasks and build relationships. Stimulants have been found effective in both children and adults, diminishing symptoms in about 70% of adults, and 70%-80% of children.
Along with the outstanding effect of stimulants comes outstanding popularity, and unfortunately along with outstanding popularity comes outstanding cases of misuse. 9% of high school adolescents report misusing stimulant medication, and up to 35% of college students report the same thing. That’s more than one out of every 3 people using those medications when they aren’t prescribed. By the time they become adults,...