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Pressure on teens to outperform their peers in order to gain entrance into prestigious colleges and universities seems to be increasing every year across the US. In some regions of the country, the competition is fiercer than others, and the stress is causing adolescents to turn to drugs not as an escape from the pressure but in order to get better grades. The use of stimulant medications has been a problem in colleges and grad school for a while, but recently the abuse of these drugs has crept down into the high school population.

How are teenagers accessing a consistent supply of these medications? High school students report that they get stimulant prescriptions from:

  • Friends
  • Fellow students who sell the pills
  • The doctor when they present with fake symptoms in order to get a “legitimate” prescription of their own

The Issue of Teens Using Stimulants to Increase Their GPA Is Not Isolated to One Area of US

Some parents and educators assume that this problem is isolated to highly competitive private schools in affluent areas, but special agent Gary Boggs of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated, “We’re seeing it all across the United States.”

The stimulants medications most commonly abused by teens include:

  • Adderall
  • Focalin
  • Ritalin
  • Vyvanse

The use of these drugs have become so rampant, both legally and illegally, many people have lost sight of their potency. The frightening part is that these medications fall into the same class of drugs as heroin and morphine. The DEA considers them Schedule II controlled substances, meaning they are among the most addictive drugs with a recognized medical purpose.

The Consequences of Teen Adderall Abuse

Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin calm those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For the vast majority of the population, however, they cause a burst of energy and razor sharp focus that can be maintained for a long period of time, even through all-night study sessions. These results are extremely seductive for teens who have a pile of work and the desire to perform perfectly.

As with any addiction, the “benefits” that the drug provides only last so long. Eventually, abuse of stimulants will start to have a negative impact on a teen’s health and schoolwork, causing issues that may include:

  • Heart irregularities
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion from lack of sleep
  • During withdrawal, psychosis may occur

Unfortunately, the long-term impacts for young people who abuse stimulant medications are not known. Any combination of mental, emotional or physical consequences could persist from addiction to prescription stimulants.

If your teen is abusing stimulants, there is help available. We can match you with top-notch, evidence-based treatment programs that can help. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact us today.