There's been a recent rash of news items regarding college kids using prescription drugs _ obtained legally or illegally - to enhance focus. Parents wondering whether or not they should go along with this should know that a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse study concluded the kids are better off with a placebo. The only real effect may be the need for drug addiction treatment for prescription drug addiction.
The drug studied was methylphenidate (MP), better known by the brand names Ritalin (Ritalina, Rilatine, Attenta, Methylin, Penid, Rubifen) and the sustained release varieties Concerta, Metadate CD, Methylin ER, Ritalin LA, and Ritalin-SR - are usually prescribed to treat ADHD.
Students were given brain scans after taking the drugs or being given a placebo. The results showed that although those who took the drugs did see an increase in the specific brain activity involved in cognitive function, that increase was doubled in those who took the placebo. They also found that the performance of those who didn't do well on testing prior to taking the drugs was even worse after they'd taken them.
So, there you have it. Not much of a trade off for prescription drug addiction, is it?
The bottom line is that if a person wants to improve their focus, a sugar pill will do more for them than a drug.
Sugar pills also don't have the same side effects: Abnormal thinking, hallucinations, difficulty sleeping, mood swings and changes, nervousness, stomach aches, diarrhea, headaches, increased sex drive, loss of appetite, and dry mouth are common but they can also include heart palpitations, high blood pressure and pulse changes.
By the way, if you think these side effects might be bad for teenagers and young adults, think what they must be like for the millions of seven-year-olds being given these drugs by their parents and doctors.
Prescription drug addiction is epidemic in the U. S. and, for these drugs especially, the problem is worse in colleges than in other settings. If you have college-aged kids, realize they have plenty of opportunity to get these drugs - if they aren't taking them already.
Show them this information so they'll know the drugs are not only ineffective, they're even dangerous.
If you don't tell them the truth, there's a good chance no one else will either. Don't take that chance - prescription drug addiction can ruin their lives (and yours) and can even be deadly. If they're already taking them, get them into a drug addiction treatment center that knows how to handle prescription drug addiction.
Gloria MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.
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