ADHD Overdiagnosis and Stimulant Medications
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders among children and adolescents. By 2011 approximately 11% of children ages 4-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD, and nearly 6.1% of children nationwide were taking prescription medication for their condition.
Overdiagnosis continues to be a concern. National rates of ADHD diagnosis increased dramatically from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007, and again to 11% in 2011. Researchers continue to blame increased ADHD rates on medical pressure for a diagnosis as well as high demands placed on children by schools, families, and society.
People with ADHD consistently have trouble paying attention, are hyperactive, and behave more impulsively than others of the same age. Research has shown individuals with ADHD are at greater risk for abusing drugs and alcohol. For many ADHD symptoms improve naturally throughout adolescence, but for others the disorder can persist into adulthood.
ADHD is treated with stimulant medications including amphetamines (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Prescription stimulants have a focusing effect on those with ADHD, helping to improve thinking ability. When taken as prescribed for ADHD stimulant medications pose little threat for abuse. When taken in higher quantities or alternative methods than prescribed, stimulants can suppress appetite as well as increase energy and focus. The effects of stimulants are extremely addictive and can cause users to experience withdrawal with continued use. Popularly abused as weight loss and study aids, amphetamine “smart drug” use is booming across college campuses nationwide.
Short Term Signs of Amphetamine Addiction:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased energy and alertness
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Decreased fatigue
- Little to no appetite
- Clenching of jaw
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
Signs of Long Term Amphetamine Abuse:
- High levels of irritability
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cardiovascular system failure
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
If you or someone you know may be struggling with abuse to prescription stimulants such as amphetamines or methylphenidates, the skilled staff at A New Start, Inc. is here. Our therapists and team of support staff provide the treatment and care you need to gain control over your addiction. To learn more about treatment with A New Start, Inc. please call 1-844-TALK-ANS.