By Nicolas Gurley
Since I was in high school I have found it appalling how easily my peers got prescribe cognitive enhancing drugs. Particularly since it was quite apparent most of these students did not suffer from any kind of learning disability. However, today “A new position paper released by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) states that the practice of prescribing cognitive-enhancing drugs (such as ADHD medications) to healthy children and teens is misguided”.
According to the article in psychology today, the rising trend of teenage students using “study drugs” when preparing for tests has made a number of recent headlines in US Media. It has been noted that even certain parents have gone out to request such medications for their children, who do not meet the criteria. Following significant research and study of this practice of prescribing these drugs, the AAN is able to list several reasons why prescribing “study drugs” to otherwise healthy students is not preferable: “the child’s best interest; the long-term health and safety of neuroenhancements, which has not been studied in children; kids and teens may lack complete decision-making capacities while their cognitive skills, emotional abilities and mature judgments are still developing; maintaining doctor-patient trust; and the risks of over-medication and dependency”.
I remember asking some of my peers why they wanted to be prescribed ADHD medications in the first place and the responses always revolved around the common concept that “Why not have them. They make studying easier to get through, even fun at times”. This could be a good argument why teenagers should not be able to make important medical decisions on their own. At that age we are far more likely to make such decisions based on the positive effects with little to no regard for the negative consequences of using such drugs. As mentioned in the Psychology Today article there are alternatives to enhancing cognitive performances of teenage students that do not require the administration of foreign chemicals into their brains, such as maintaining good and sufficient sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercising and strict study habits. However, these alternative require a bit more effort and work from all parties involved, which is not a common preference in our culture where pharmaceutical companies promote quick fix solutions: “pop a pill in their mouth and let the chemicals do the work for us”.
Well yes that does seem to be a lot easier, however, more and more studies are coming out showing the severe negative consequences of the long term use of prescription medications that effect our neuro-chemistry. If you are interested in exploring alternative forms of psychological therapy please feel free to contact me at 917-525-2205 x9 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nicolas Gurley