By now, many parents are aware of the prescription drug abuse epidemic among teens, that is, the abuse of prescription painkillers and antidepressants. But many may be surprised to learn that teens are abusing drugs like Ritalin and Adderall as well. A national study of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2011 showed that 2.1 percent admitted to abusing Ritalin and 4.1 percent admitted to abusing Adderall.
These particular types of prescription drugs are used to treat conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD].
ADHD is often diagnosed as a result of someone displaying impulsive behavior, difficulty following instructions, restlessness and distractibility. As stimulants, these drugs ironically “calm down” someone with ADHD. Kids who take these drugs for recreational purposes get the opposite effect, interestingly. Some take them for the energy or euphoric high, while some obtain a feeling of self-confidence as a result. Others use them in order to stay up late to study or in hopes to increase their performance on an exam.
Actually, high school seniors have been shown to abuse these drugs quite often, as they are ranked the third most commonly abused drug.
ADHD drugs fall into the category of stimulants. Stimulants do just that: they stimulate your body, which means they will raise your heartbeat. Because stimulants are often abused at parties, there is often alcohol involved, which can increase the danger of these drugs markedly.
Typical side effects as a result of abusing stimulants include irregular heartbeat, extremely high blood pressure, seizures, tremors, difficulty breathing and mood disorders. Even more terrifying are the effects of repeated use of high doses, which could result in confusion, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, stoke and even death. Though not all abusers use stimulants as means of partying, that doesn’t mean they pose any less of a danger.
How Can I Tell if My Teen is Abusing Stimulants?
If you ever notice any changes in your teen, pay close attention to them until you find out what is causing the changes. Teens who are abusing stimulants may show a certain changes in mental and physical behavior such as problems in school, changes in activities or friends, unusually long periods of sleeplessness, heightened attention, or not eating, memory lapses, secrecy, isolation, aggressiveness, irritability, mood swings, weight loss, dialed pupils and dry mouth and nose.
If you notice any of these symptoms with your child or someone you know, get help immediately. The longer someone struggles with drug abuse or addiction, they harder it will be for him or her to overcome it. There are many treatment programs available all over the world that can help people recover from drug abuse. But, most importantly, parents should do their best to prevent drug abuse in the first place by talking to their kids about drugs and educating them of the dangers of taking them.
Prepare your children to make positive decisions when it comes to putting these types of substances into their bodies. Knowledge truly is power and it is the best means of prevention that is available. Sit down with them and go over the different types of drugs, their effects and let them ask questions about addiction.
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