Abuse of ADHD Medications Skyrockets Among Youth

Though there are certainly some children who experience developmental, learning, and social difficulties due to symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and who can realize remarkable benefits through the use of prescription medications, it may seem that an excessively large number of youths are diagnosed with the issue and given pills. Concerns about the over-use of drugs geared towards children with symptoms of ADHD has risen in recent years as some parents and mental health professionals note the potential of therapy and other treatment types to provide a more meaningful and long-term solution for kids with difficulties focusing.

This issue has been given its own spotlight recently with the release of a report showing that abuse of prescription medications for ADHD has risen over 75% in the last eight years. The steep incline in abuse may correlate with increasing amounts of prescriptions being written for children who may not truly need the medication. Concerns about proper education about the medications and misunderstandings spread among youths as to potential benefits of taking excessive amounts of the pills are also being voiced in response to the discovery of the surge in abuse. A low number of deaths –precisely four– were connected with the abuse of such medications, but over forty percent of teens who reportedly abused the drugs exhibited moderate to severe side effects, and were prone to receiving hospitalization or visits to the emergency room.

While taking such medications off the market may hinder children who can benefit from their safe usage, greater dialog among psychiatrists, doctors, families, and children is clearly needed in the effort to prevent further potentially fatal use of pills indicated for the treatment of ADHD.

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Shannon


    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Haven’t there even been cases of people abusing these drugs to get high? That is scary because think of how easy it would be to get hold of these drugs given that there are so many people who take them now!

  • Vincent


    September 23rd, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    Drugs are a necessary evil… we can neither do without them nor are they completely good and safe… over-use or usage when not required can really affect a person’s health and more so with youngsters… Precaution is necessary but then awareness and common sense is, too.

  • Heather


    September 30th, 2009 at 2:32 AM

    What exactly are the side effects? My son is a teenager and is also on drug therapy for the same.

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