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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Long Term Effects of Prescription Stimulants

English: Adderall
The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study found that one in eight teens (13 percent) said that they have taken the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall, known as “study drugs,” without a prescription. Teenagers and young adults in college are often prescribed stimulant medications for attention problems without any evidence to support the patient's claim. The drugs are often passed amongst friends and sold to other students. New research suggests that young people who misuse prescription stimulants may have long-term impairment to brain function.

When students are struggling in school, parents are often quick to suggest the aid of stimulant medication without knowing all the facts. There are  so many young people prescribed “study drugs” that parents often assume that the drugs are without side effects, both short and long term. Parents need to be cognizant of the fact that such drugs are no joke, they are powerful medications that can easily be abused and cause long term problems for their children.

A number of different studies on potential lasting side effects of misusing Ritalin or Proviigil were observed by researchers. The research showed that any short-term boosts in mental performance were offset by a long-term decrease in brain plasticity. The ability of planning ahead, changing from one task to another, and being flexible in behavior all have to do with brain plasticity.

“What’s safe for adults is not necessarily safe for kids,” lead researcher Kimberly Urban of the University of Delaware said in a news release. “The human brain continues to develop until our late twenties or early thirties. Young people are especially prone to abuse smart drugs, but also more vulnerable to any side-effects. We simply don’t know enough about the long-term effects of these drugs on the developing brain to conclude they are safe.”

The findings are published in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.
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