Ritalin Abuse by Teenagers

Ritalin, the drug commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), is known for its calming effects on young children. The drug has also been known to help patients with narcolepsy in some cases. However, as with many medications, there are serious side effects involved with taking Ritalin on a regular basis, and parents should seriously consider the potential dangers of making a child Ritalin-dependent. Teenagers are also using this drug more than ever before-and are using Ritalin for reasons other than ‘calming down.’

Why Do Teenagers Abuse Ritalin?

Ritalin provides a ‘quick fix’ for teenagers across the country. The drug has been known to help girls lose weight, since it suppresses appetite, and to improve alertness and concentration, since it reduces the ability to fall asleep, or stay asleep for extended periods of time. Teenage girls with eating disorders have used the pill in order to keep the weight off, and usually get Ritalin from friends. Since the drug is so easy to get by prescription, it is not produced in homemade labs, which leads many teenagers to believe that the medication is ok to use. However, Ritalin is still taken as an illegal drug when taken in excess. The pills are often crushed and snorted like cocaine, or crushed pills are mixed with water and injected. Injections cause particular complications, since it can prevent small red blood vessels from circulating, causing retina and lung damage.While Ritalin is used to helps students study for a test, or to help keep off unwanted pounds, the risks involved with abusing Ritalin far outweigh the benefits. Severe headaches, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, abdominal pain and seizures have all been directly associated with excessive dosages of Ritalin. In rare cases, Ritalin abuse has even been known to cause psychosis and strokes. Most teenagers have no idea that the results of a Ritalin overdose can be so severe, and don’t realize the hazardous effects Ritalin abuse can cause.

How Can Parents Help?

Like any parent/ teenager issue, communication is key. Being aware of your teenager’s schedule and activities will help you to assess how busy he/she is, or how much pressure your teenager is feeling to live up to fulfill all their obligations. Getting to know your teenager’s friends is important, too. Nearly all teenagers who do not already have a Ritalin prescription get the medication from friends. So, it’s imperative that you explain the dangers involved with abusing any drug, even if it can be legally prescribed. If your child has ADD or ADHD and has been taking Ritalin for a while, make sure that only the prescribed amount is taken at the appropriate times. Open, honest discussion about drugs and their side effects as well as overall health will help you to prevent your teenager from abusing Ritalin, and make your teen more comfortable talking to you about the temptation to abuse drugs. Since you can’t always be around, making sure both you and your teen are aware of the negative results of Ritalin will help your son or daughter to make the right decisions concerning avoiding drug abuse.

Where Can I Get More Info?

If you’re a parent and want to get more information on how to talk to your kids about Ritalin abuse, talking to your family physician is a great place to start. Talking to someone you may already feel comfortable with will make you feel more at ease discussing the subject, and it’s likely that you won’t forget to ask certain questions. If you’re child is already taking Ritalin for ADD or ADHD, talk to the doctor that prescribed the medication for advice on how to stop and/or prevent Ritalin abuse. You may also want to check out sites like www.drugfree.org or www.ritalinsources.com. If you’re a teen and want to know more about Ritalin, or have a friend that you suspect may be abusing Ritalin, sites like www.coolnurse.com and www.klastv.com have great information on exactly what Ritalin is and why it should never be taken in excess. Being informed is the absolute best way to prevent and treat Ritalin abuse.

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