Adderall and ADHD Teens: The Abuse of Medication
It makes me cringe when parents assume that teens with ADD/ADHD are not intelligent children – on the contrary, most are highly intelligent. The problem is they lack the focus to work to their potential.
This is why sometimes they are prescribed medications to help them focus. Today there are a wide range of prescriptions to choose from.
One of the hardest parts of ADD/ADHD teenagers is experiencing the ODD (opposition defiance disorder) that usually sets in through those puberty years – in combination with the typical teen behavior. Your house can feel like a war-zone.
- Rage, anger and sometimes violence
Some parents have said they feel, at times, like they are actually be held hostage in their own home.
The abuse or misuse of Adderall is that some teens are not using it as it is prescribed by their doctor and some are sharing it with their friends. This has been an ongoing trend that is happening with teens: the abuse and misuse of ADD/ADHD drugs such as Adderall.
Also keep in mind, if you suspect your teen is using marijuana or any other street drug or drinking, contact the doctor that is prescribing the medication for your teen. Let them be aware of your teen’s behavior so you will know the possible side effects or if your teen should stop taking the medication while they are going through this negative time of their life — and you seek alternative help for them.
Teens and young adults often abuse Adderall when they feel the weight of a tight schedule that includes school, homework, sports/extracurricular activities, standardized testing prep, college applications, work and more. Intensive focus and the ability to sustain a high level of energy for long periods without the need for sleep means that many teens turn to the drug to help them get through overwhelming times at school – but unintentionally develop a dependence upon Adderall and are incapable of quitting without medical intervention and treatment. When talking to your teen/young adult about this, make sure they understand that unless any prescription drug is prescribed directly to them, not only should they not be taking it due to health reasons, but it is also illegal. – PACT Coalition
Know the facts:
- One in four teens report lax parental attitudes toward prescription drugs as compared to parental attitudes about illegal drugs, showcasing a dangerous and untrue belief that prescription drugs are “safer” than illegal drugs.
- About 33 percent of teens surveyed felt that using prescription drugs without a prescription was acceptable.
- Approximately 20 percent of the teens who admitted to abusing prescription drugs used the drugs before reaching the age of 14.
- About 26 percent of teens surveyed stated that the use of prescription drugs such as Adderall was acceptable when the drug was being used as a “study aid”
A few signs of Adderall usage include:
- bad temper or extremely emotional
- weight loss
- outbursts of aggression
- fast talking/difference in energy
- inability to sleep
- noticeable changes in appearance
- in some cases the onset of more serious psychiatric symptoms.
If you feel your teen is abusing prescription drugs, get help immediately. If you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for information on residential therapy options. Don’t wait for a crisis to happen. Be an educated parent about how these programs can help you if you need them. We can assist you in these questions.