Earlier this week, the New York Times featured a long article on Richard Fee who hanged himself after becoming addicted to Adderall and other psychostimulant drugs. It is no surprise that there were over a thousand comments on that article.
Richard did not suffer from ADHD but was prescribed these meds because he was determined to get into medical school and he found that the stimulants helped him to study. Through clever lying and careless medical personnel, he was able to support his habit.
But he became addicted and displayed increasingly aggressive behavior, moodiness, psychosis, and became delusional. In spite of his parents pleading with doctors not to prescribe him these meds, it was too late. The final result was a tragic suicide.
When we talk of stimulant drug danger like the above heartbreaking case, we should not forget that when these drugs are properly prescribed after correct diagnosis, they can change the lives of many ADHD children and adults for the better and help them cope.
But what happens when young college students take them without prescription? These meds can be addictive for those who do not really need them. There are many health risks and psychological dangers which can ruin lives. These meds are easily available on college campuses and can be bought for between $5 and $10. There is no need to fake ADHD symptoms.
DON’T DO DRUGS – MAY HAVE SIDE EFFECTS!
ADHD drug update
Guess which segment of the population is now taking these meds on an ever increasing basis? They are young adults in the 20 – 39 age group and they had 14 million prescriptions filled for their ADHD in 2011. That is an increase of 250% compared to four years ago! We can explain this partially by saying that there is a growing awareness of ADHD and that people feel less inhibited about their condition. It is also a pity that very few people read or understand what ADHD and the meds actually do. There is a useful description in the book here:-
But that whopping number also contains those students who are faking their symptoms to get an unfair advantage. Many of them are getting prescriptions by filling out questionnaires dishonestly and also with the connivance of obliging doctors. These are the ones who are taking the drugs legally. Those who are getting them on campuses illegally are committing a felony. In either case, they seem to be completely unaware of the medical and psychological dangers.
Moral of the story? We should be alert to stimulant drug dangers. We should also look carefully at a more comprehensive treatment program and other alternative ADHD treatments.