Teens Using Drugs for Study Aids: Getting High For An A

The most highly abused prescription drugs among college students are:

Stimulants: Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta are used primarily to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). They speed up brain activity causing increased alertness, attention, and energy that come with elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate and breathing

Getting High for an A: Stimulants as Studying Aids
Image compliments of Best Masters in Education

Reasons for Misusing or Abusing Prescription Drugs

– Improve their grades
– Concentrate more in class and maintain focus during late-night study sessions
– Diet
– Reduce stress
– Feel good/get high
– Ease nervousness in social scene / partying
– Enhance athletic performance
– Forget about problems
The Use of stimulants

– The D.E.A. lists prescription stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse (amphetamines) and Ritalin and Focalin(methylphenidates) as Class 2 controlled substances – the same as cocaine and morphine – because they rank among the most addictive substances that have a medical use.
– 1993-2003: the number of prescriptions given yearly for Adderall has more than tripled.
– FACT: Adderall is the most commonly abused prescription stimulant among college students.
– 15: Percentage of college students admitting to use of some form of psychotherapeutic drugs for non-medical, academic uses.
– By students’ sophomore year in college, about half of their classmates will have been offered the opportunity to abuse a prescription drug. Of undergraduates that are taking stimulant medication under the direction of their doctor, more than half (54%) have been asked to sell, trade or give away their medication in the past year
– Full time college students are twice as likely to use a stimulant for non-medical reasons compared to those who aren’t in college, or are only part-time students.
– 90: the percentage of college students who used Adderall for non medical reasons in the past year who were also binge drinkers.
Compared to the average student, students who use Adderall for nonmedical reasons were, in the last year:

– 3x more likely to have used Marijuana
– 8x more likely to have used Cocaine
– 8x more likely to have used prescription tranquilizers
– 5x more likely to have used prescription pain relievers for nonmedical reasons.
– 5X more likely to develop a drug abuse.
– ER visits whose listed reasons included an ADHD stimulant rose from 13,379 in 2005 to 31,244 just five years later.
Early signs of abuse include:

– Using the medication more frequently or at higher doses without a healthcare professional’s direction
– Using the medication compulsively
– Not being able to carry out normal daily activities because of drug misuse
– Hiding or lying about use
– Spending more time, energy and/or money maintaining access to the drugs
Abusing prescription medications can lead to:

– Increases in blood pressure or heart rate
– Organ damage
– Addiction
– Difficulty breathing
– Seizures
– Heart Attack
– Stroke
– Death
Keep in mind

– It is illegal to take a controlled substance if it is not prescribed for you.
– Get rid of old or unused medications properly. Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm and
– RX Safe Disposal at http://www.smarxtdisposal.net

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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: How to help your ADHD child cope with the stigma

bookunderstandingADHDDuring my years as a parent of an ADHD child through Elementary and Middle School, I know firsthand the struggles that some of these kids can have. One of the hardest days was when my son was “labeled” as a shrimp by his peers, or worse when he had to go down to the nurses office for his noon medication. I am not quite sure parents realize just how difficult this is for young children.
As a Parent Advocate, I make it my job to find information and educational material for parents raising kids today.
In my networking, I was introduced to Kara Tamanini, Therapist and Author, specializing with ADD/ADHD children. She created a website with a wealth of information that is user friendly and easy to understand. I find many websites about ADD/ADHD are a bit over-overwhelming; however Kids Awareness Series has easy to understand articles and advice.
With Kara Tamanini’s  permission, I am sharing her latest tips on how to help your child cope with an ADHD stigma as school is opening.  Be an educated parent.
1.) As a parent, the first thing you need to do to reduce the stigma of ADHD, is to not make a big deal about it. Watch and control your reaction about the symptoms of ADHD when they rear their ugly head. You making a big deal about having ADHD or that they have to take medications or an alternative treatment (natural vitamins or therapy) will only increase the challenge that they are already fighting.
2.) Don’t tell your child not to tell anyone! This definitely sends the message that having ADHD is something to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
3.) If your child is embarrassed to take medications for ADHD at school then work with your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist on finding a way for your child to take medicines before or right after school. Many children and especially older children and teenagers are embarrassed in front of their friends no matter what you say to them about taking medication.
4.) Remind your child regularly that ADHD is merely a different way of thinking about things and that their brain works differently. Don’t treat ADHD as something awful, I have found that ADHD has many positive aspects and treat it as a gift. Do not treat your child differently because they have ADHD and expect less of them, they will act accordingly and will lower their own expectations of themselves.
5.) Determine as a parent whether or not you plan to share a diagnosis of ADHD with your child or teen’s school. Parents often differ in this regard on whether or not they want their child’s teacher and school to know of an ADHD diagnosis. I highly recommend to parents that they share their child’s diagnosis of ADHD with the school and discuss strategies that need to be implemented for your child in the classroom. Your teacher should also not lower his/her expectations for your child. Yes, the ADHD child may have to have a modified curriculum, but it does not mean that they cannot learn like everyone else.
6.) Talk openly with your child about an ADHD diagnosis in order to take away the stigma of the diagnosis. Boost their self-confidence and explain how those around them may perceive their ADHD behaviors. Unfortunately, many children at your child’s school will discriminate against a child that has ADHD and often because ADHD children struggle socially, they have difficulty making and keeping friends. Encourage your child to participate in activities that will raise their self-esteem and emphasize their positive attributes. When you see your child doing something good or helpful, point it out.
7.) Encourage your child to be around other children that have similar strengths and weaknesses. ADHD is a common problem and your child may benefit from attending a social skills or an ADHD group with children that are experiencing similar struggles. Psychological treatment is also another option, where your child can learn self-confidence, coping skills, social skills, and parents can learn about how to manage negative behaviors associated with ADHD.
8.) Children and parents need to surround themselves with individuals that are positive and supportive of ADHD. The last thing a child needs to hear is that, “ADHD is not a real diagnosis, it’s just an excuse to misbehave.” This a very common misconception among the general public and many parents will experience this very thing as will their children.
9.) Lastly, use the resources that are available to you. Discuss with other parents, teachers, family members, or a local or national support group about your child’s ADHD. Information for parents and educating those around you about what ADHD is and how it affects your child and adults is the best weapon against the stigma of ADHD. Get your child the help they need at school so that they are NOT discriminated against.
Let’s start off this school year the right way and give your child every opportunity to learn and be successful!

For more info: Kids Awareness Series, Understanding My ADHD.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting the ADHD ODD Teen

ADHD behavior issues often partner with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) — making discipline a challenge. Try these strategies for parents of ADD kids.

Every parent of a child with attention deficit disorder knows what it’s like to deal with ADHD behavior problems — sometimes a child lashes out or refuses to comply with even the most benign request. But about half of all parents who have children with live with severe behavior problems and discipline challenges on an almost daily basis.

Read Entire Article Here.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: ADHD School Behavior

How teachers and parents can inspire better ADHD school behavior with help from these impulse-controlling exercises for children with attention-deficit.

 

 

 

 

The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.

 

 

The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.

 

 

The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting. Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.

 

 

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) ADHD Awareness Week

This is a great website and informational resource for parents with ADD/ADHD students – being an educated parent helps you to help your child!  As a parent with an ADHD child, I have learned so much here. 

 

Happy ADHD Awareness Week!

 

As you know, this week is all about spreading attention-deficit truth and support. So, to that end, ADDitude has created a new ADHD Information Center that we hope people will use all year to…

  • Dispel common myths about ADHD
  • Fight ADHD stigmas
  • Explain the facts about ADHD
  • Find support from other ADHD adults and parents
  • Revel in all the great things about ADHD

We hope you will share our ADHD Information Center with your readers during this ADHD Awareness Week, and also pass along the following personal diary entry from author, ADHD spokesman and ADDitude contributor Jonathan Mooney:

 

“Cheers, fellow ADDers! Be proud of the gifts ADD affords you: a gusto for life, a capacity to dream large, the ability to set goals — and the energy to meet them. In being comfortable with yourself, you can change how the world perceives ADD and recognizes its strengths.

This September, recount your successes and what makes you stand out from the crowd—like the time you put your mind to it and ran an eight-minute-mile marathon or completed the Sunday crossword puzzle before your second cup of coffee.

Have a sense of humor about your ADD: Toast yourself at dinner for not having misplaced your keys in the morning or for having remembered to take your debit card out of the ATM. Let yourself—and others—laugh to take the pressure off of being perfect.

By celebrating your small feats, you will be able to tackle bigger challenges. Even a simple change in language can transform your self-esteem and others’ perception of your accomplishments. Use “and” more than “but.”

For example, I could say, “I finished this article, but it was three weeks late.” That statement discounts my accomplishment, as if the final product were flawed. I prefer, “I finished this article, and it was three weeks late.” The second statement is equally true, and it doesn’t diminish all of the work I put into it. Next time, I can say, “I will be on time!”

Use this month—this year, every year—to share your pride over the gifts you have. The world’s appreciation of ADD depends on your feeling good about yourself, so tell your friends, family—even the bagger at your local grocery store—all about your condition, especially if they know little about it.”

To read the remainder of this article, “Smile – It’s ADHD Awareness Month!” visit http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/4000.html

Best,

 

www.ADDitudeMag.com

Succeeding in College for ADHD Freshmen – 10 tips to help ADHD college students achieve academic, social and personal success.

Source: ADDitude Magazine

A car’s poor alignment can lead to resistance and difficulty maintaining a steady course, and the same is true for students. Haven’t you ever struggled with a task that you find boring, only to breeze through a challenging, but more interesting, assignment? When you’re involved with something you enjoy, you’re better able to focus and work becomes easier.

Whether you’re starting college next fall, weighing your options, or are already enrolled, there are several things to keep in mind for a smooth academic ride.

Your interests. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do more than anything else?” The answer should become your road map for choosing a school, a major — even specific courses. You’re more likely to earn good grades in a class you find interesting than in one that puts you to sleep.

How do you handle required classes that you find boring — or overly difficult? Wait a semester before tackling them — one at a time — until you have some experience, and support systems, behind you.

Talk with professors about your learning disability and see if they’re willing to work with you. Free tutoring may be available; if the class is especially difficult, start working with a tutor before you fall behind. If the course is unrelated to your major, you may be able to have it waived.

Of course, you should take your college studies seriously. But there’s no need to sacrifice involvement in sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities you enjoy. Regular exercise is a great way to work off extra energy, unwind after a stressful day, and, of course, stay in shape. And whether it’s writing for the school paper or playing in the marching band, pursuing your interests will energize you and boost your confidence.

Your environment. Do you thrive in warm weather? Apply to schools in the South. Love the energy of a busy city? Stick with an urban campus.

Consider the size of the schools you look at. You might feel lost in a lecture hall that holds 300 students. In smaller classes, you’ll be drawn to the material, feel like an active participant, and be in a better position to ask for help, should you need it.

Do what you can to make your dorm room feel like home. If you prefer a minimalist look, leave your clutter behind. If you enjoy nature, consider bringing some plants and full-spectrum bulbs or a small indoor fountain. The more attuned you are to your environment, the more energized you’ll feel.

That’s also the case when it comes to studying. If you need quiet to do your best work, find a private room at the library. If you need noise and activity to help you focus, make yourself comfortable at a coffee house near campus.

Your roommates. To get started on the right foot, be totally honest on your roommate questionnaire. Are you messy? Do you stay up until 3 a.m. each night? Admit it. You’re not the only student with these habits, so frankness is your best bet for a good match. Even if you and your roommate don’t end up being best friends, you’ll at least have a shot at a peaceful co-existence. Single rooms are hard to come by, but you may be able to get one as part of your ADHD accommodations.

Seek like-minded friends through university organizations and clubs, whether you’re interested in saving the Earth or starting a corporation.

Your support system. One of the first things you should do after unpacking is to visit the office for students with disabilities. The professionals there understand your needs, and can help you put together an appropriate course schedule (no early morning classes, only one prerequisite class at a time, and so on), identify helpful professors, and put accommodations, such as extra time for exams, into place. They can also refer you to an ADD coach, who can help you develop a successful study routine and build the organizational skills you’ll need throughout college.

Why is My Child So Distressed?

 

By Jane Hersey
Author of “Why My Child Can’t Behave”

 

Many things can lead to the development of behavior problems in children, and there are many ways to address them.

If the reasons for a child’s problems stem from a family situation, interaction with peers, events at school, etc., then the place to look for resolution is clearly there. But if the child has always been hard to parent, the answers might be as close as your kitchen pantry. Here are some children whose families have found answers in their kitchen.

Joshua had a history of social and behavior problems and was expelled from several day care centers and private schools. He did not cope well in special classrooms with a ratio of six children and three teachers. His diagnoses included: severe ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), Tourette syndrome and mood disorder syndrome. He was angry, aggressive, compulsive, threatening to kill others and himself, and nothing helped. The counseling, drugs, and even the psychiatric facility did not impact on his downward spiral.

Betsy was only 7 years old, but was haunted by thoughts of death; one of the pieces of art work she brought home from school was a black paper with three tombstones, bearing the initials of her parents and herself. She quietly planned on ways that she could end her life, which held no joy for her despite a loving family that desperately tried to help her.

Sean was expelled from preschool for his violent aggression and uncontrollable behavior. His family tried a therapeutic preschool, and he was at risk of being kicked out of a hospital treatment center because even they could not deal with this little boy’s behavior. No amount of medicine controlled his “bi-polar behavior” and psychotic episodes, and his parents were told that Sean was “seriously mentally ill” and would require life-long support.

Frank had a history of violent behaviors and at age 17 it was only a matter of time before he would be incarcerated. But he heard about a special diet and decided he wanted to try it. His meeting with the doctor who was using this diet to help children like Frank, Sean, Betsy and Joshua meant flying from Tennessee to California. Because his mother was afraid of him, Frank’s older brother accompanied him to visit with the doctor, Ben Feingold, who was chief of allergy at the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in California.

Dr. Feingold discovered that some of the many chemicals routinely added to foods have the ability to affect any system of the body, including the brain. When a child is predisposed to be sensitive to these chemicals, they can wreak havoc. In order for a brain to function well, there are many chemical and electrical processes that must work appropriately; in other words, a lot things have to “go right.” When you add in a potent chemical such as an illicit drug (or even a legal one) our brain chemistry can be dramatically affected. Our bodies handle food additives and drugs in a similar manner.

All of these children described above have stories with happy endings once the offending chemicals were identified and removed. Joshua is an outstanding young man who has won numerous honors in school, in sports, and is a leader in an Air Force program for future officers.

Betsy is a normal, happy girl, Frank is a successful adult and Sean has no remnants of any “permanent mental disorder.” In fact, his mom reports he has recently joined the church choir.

Our bodies are composed of the food we eat; this is where we obtain nutrients of all types, including essential fatty acids, trace minerals and the many vitamins a healthy human body requires. But more and more children are no longer consuming food. Instead they are existing on a diet of synthetic substances that do not deliver the needed components to keep bodies working well and keep our brains operating rationally. These so-called foods might look like real food, fooling our eyes. They might even taste like food, fooling out taste buds. But our bodies are not fooled and when they do not receive the nutrients they need in order to function, things begin to go wrong. In addition to the nutrients they do not receive children today are ingesting a chemical stew of foodless ingredients, many of which are derived from crude oil (petroleum).

Dr. Feingold’s experience with troubled children showed that there are a few food additives that appear to be the worst offenders, and removing them brought about significant – often dramatic – changes in behavior, mood, and the ability to focus and learn. These additives include synthetic food dyes (such as Yellow 5 and Red 40); they are created from crude oil, and most of the dyes added to our food start out in petroleum refineries in China. Common preservatives, artificial flavors and even fragrances typically are created from petroleum; rose petals no longer are the source of those pretty scents!

The Feingold diet has been helping families for decades, and the non-profit Feingold Association continues to offer information and support to those who want to learn more. Parent volunteers show others how they can find the foods they enjoy, but minus the unwanted additives; most of them are available at neighborhood supermarkets. See www.feingold.org.

In addition to removing the offensive additives, researchers have found the many benefits of adding supplements to nutrient-starved bodies.

Researchers at Oxford University have shown that the behavior of young male prisoners calmed down when their diet was supplemented with a combination of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Other British research has shown the dramatic benefits of the EFAs, including help for children with ADHD and autism. In the US EFA research has been ongoing at Purdue University for many years.

When nourishing food was given to teens in juvenile detention facilites the improved behavior was documented. And when the Appleton Alternative High School in Wisconsin switched from the usual school food to fresh, healthy food, the behavior problems evaporated and learning improved.

Another risk factor for children with behavior and learning problems.

The drugs that are generally given to children with these problems offer additional concerns. While they may bring about improvements, they are not risk-free. The Food and Drug Administration now requires ADHD drugs to carry warning labels that some children might have reactions that include:

psychotic behavior, depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, violence, as well as a host of health effects including cancer, liver damage, strokes and heart attacks.

Risk factors with antidepressants and related drugs

Psychotropic drugs are routinely given to children who are diagnosed as depressed, bi-polar, etc., and these also carry warnings that side effects can include depression and violent behaviors. It can be difficult to sort out whether a behavior is originating within the child or is a side effect of some of the medications he is taking. The fact that all of these drugs are now being given to children who are still infants raises many red flags. Who knows what long-term effects they will have?

While it’s comforting to think that only a minority of children experience the most dangerous reactions, the number of children now being medicated means that a minority can be a very large number of children. (It has been estimated that 10% of all 10-year-old boys in the United States are now on drugs for ADHD.)

A new awareness in Europe

The scientific evidence for the harm caused by petroleum-based food dyes is now so compelling that the British government is seeking to ban them and the European Parliament has voted to require warning labels on foods that contain them. While dyes are not the only additives that can cause adverse reactions, they are the most notorious, the easiest to replace, and offer no value to the consumer.

So, for the child whose behavior has gone over the edge, or if you worry that your youngster is on this path, one simple change that you can implement with no risk, very little cost, and relatively small effort, is to replace those mixes, cookies, candies, sodas, and fast food with nearly-identical versions that are free of the worst of the additives. And while you’re at it, try eating the good food yourself; every parent needs to have their brain cells working at optimum levels as they deal with that temporary insanity called “adolescence.”