AAN’s New Position
The AAN has released a new position paper stating that the prescription of ADHD medications to healthy teens and children is misguided. The American Academy of Neurology feels that because doctors have a professional obligation to do what is in the best interest of their patients they should do more to protect against the misuse of ADHD medications. It seems that extra steps and guidelines need to be put into place when considering prescribing these medications.
There is a large problem with teens using ADHD medication as a study drug and therefore they will see their doctor and simply list off certain symptoms of ADHD and claim that they have these problems in order to be prescribed the medications that they will then use for school study or even recreational use. Recently, the problem of children and teens using ADHD medications for reasons not pertaining to ADHD has made headlines in the United States. The misuse of these drugs has reached an all time high. Children and teens are not the only ones that are abusing these medications and there is a separate research paper that was released that is about the use of these drugs in adults that do not actually nee3d them either.
Parents Are Helping
Sadly, even parents are being found at fault for convincing their child’s doctor to prescribe these drugs to their children when they don’t meet the criteria for ADHD. These parents are actually getting these drugs for their children so that they can use them in an effort to help them study. Not only is this bad parenting but as the doctors are prescribing them to the children, in these particular cases, the doctors are only partially at fault for not actually evaluating the child before the prescription is given. No matter how badly a parent wants their child to do better in their studies, it simply cannot be justifiable. “Giving these medications to healthy children is unethical”, say Neurologists.
There are dozens of reasons these mind-enhancing drugs should not be prescribed to healthy children. Legal and ethical reasons aside, there have been no long-term studies done on what the effect can be on children and teens that take the drugs over an extended period of time. There are also risks of dependency and over medicating. If a physician believes, for even one moment, that the request for these drugs is not for the appropriate reasons, they should speak with the teen about their request in an effort to rule out psychological or social motivations. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression may be an issue. If there are better alternatives available, those should always be looked at first before medication is prescribed. Perhaps maintaining better nutrition, exercise, and sleep can help solve the problem.