With the stress of tests, homework and studying, some students believe that the only way to relieve the pressure is to buy and use ADHD pills. They use the ADHD pills in the belief that it will enhance their focus enabling them to study for hours on end.
Today even extremely intelligent students are turning to these pills, especially students who feel the pressure of competition and higher expectations. Most students are not aware that this is a growing problem.
As a peer to students who are dealing with substance abuse, I believe that parents and staff need to educate students about this problem.
With the increased workload schools are expecting, the abuse of the pills is becoming more of a problem. The most common time students use the pills is before exam times, when they feel the need to focus in order to earn good grades. Another reason why students may turn to ADHD pills is when they have hours of extra-curricular activities going on and can’t find time to fit in homework and studying.
“Use of ADHD pills decreases ones appetite, which often appeals to young girls, it also helps greatly with organized thinking,” Karen Pyeatt, school nurse, said.
However there are many justifiable medical reasons for students to be prescribed to ADHD medication. Students who take this medication under the care of a physician can have tremendous benefits in their ability to stay focused and attentive, giving them more confidence in their ability to succeed in school according to Pyeatt.
“However, taking prescription drugs not recommended by a doctor can be more dangerous that people think,” Pyeatt said. “In fact, it’s drug abuse, and it’s just as illegal as taking street drugs.”
As a student body, we need to help students realize that although these pills may help short term, they will not help in the long term and can lead to addiction.
“Among the ADHD participants [in their study], 32 percent developed some type of substance abuse, including cigarette smoking, while only 25 percent of control participants had substance abuse problems,” according to Sue McGreevey, from the Havard Gazzette
Studies by National Institute on Drug Abuse show that this problem is increasing steadily in colleges and is starting to appear in high schools.
“Professionally I do not see this problem in our high school,” Pyeatt said. “I do know, however, that it is well documented that prescription drug abuse exists in the adolescent population and that there is a high probability that we have students who are taking these medications without a doctor’s order.”
To help cope with the stress of studying, Pyeatt recommends having regular meetings with your teachers and counselor to talk with them about strategies to help you study and stay on top of your workload.
“Lots of rest and limiting your caffeine intake will help,” Pyeatt said. “In our culture we seem to think caffeine use is the gatekeeper to all things. When you consume more and more caffeine you build up a tolerance, and are sometimes inclined to try other things.”
The caffeine may work short term but once a student starts drinking caffeine they build up a dependency, or a need to continue using it, and the side effects are not worth it. Teens and young adults who abuse the pills are more likely to develop a smoking problem, alcohol abuse, or an illegal drug addiction according to Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to Pyeatt all prescriptions, when used appropriately, have potential benefits. However, they may well offer adverse side effects as well all prescriptions, when used appropriately, have potential benefits. However, they may well offer adverse side effects as well. Consequently, our health care provider needs to be involved in a students care to comprehensively support your response to treatment.
A great way to help you focus without the pills and avoid addiction is to form a study group with friends. And, if you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, let your parents or school counselor know.