The rise of self-medication with adderall

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The rise of self-medication with adderall

Parents are really confused about ADHD and ADD because we hear so much about kids who are abusing Adderall and Ritalin and other medications that are used as stimulants. If a child has Attention Deficit Disorder or Hyperactivity Disorder and a doctor prescribes these medications, they can change everything in their life. Kids can function better. They are more focused. They do well in school. They do better socially. But it has to be in a situation where a child has these conditions and it has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and the drugs have to be prescribed by a psychiatrist. What´s happening is that these drugs are being used more and more by kids who perceive or who have been taught or who somehow have this idea that those medications are going to help them focus better, do better in school. Kids are using them to study, to cram all night before big tests, to take their SATs, to do research papers, and in some cases in really kind of sad, horrific circumstances. I have heard from people whose parents actually have given them these medications because they are so concerned about their kids competing. For a child who doesn´t have one of these disorders, these pills are dangerous and ultimately they are addictive. There are kids who are going into treatment at a higher and higher rate because they are addicted to Adderall and Ritalin. And ironically, the research shows that they don´t help kids perform better. Kids who end up using these medications don´t do better in school whether it is high school or college, so we have to really educate people to understand the difference. If you have got these illnesses and if you are working with a doctor, it can be life-changing. Medications like this can be life-changing, but they are also really dangerous when they are abused.

View David Sheff's video on The rise of self-medication with adderall...


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David Sheff


David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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