FOX 34 Your Health: Significant rise in ADHD meds

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Updated: 9/19/2013 1:14 pm
A five-fold increase over the past several years has been found in the use of stimulant medications to treat Attention Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a recent study out of Denmark.

Covenant Pharmacy Manager Allen Cunningham said he agrees with the Scandinavian study completely. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have become household names in the U.S.

"Over the last 10 or 12 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the prescription of ADHD medications," Cunningham said.

Although this study has not been duplicated in America, the proof shows up elsewhere.

"The U.S., however, does do a top 200 drug list and three of those medications we've mentioned are in the top 80 for drug sales across the country. So we know that it's dramatically increasing."

Cunningham said the main reason for the increase has a lot to do with the culture of today's society and behavioral problems in kids.

"The idea that there's a medication for everything these days. And that there's been a lot of struggles with parenting, dealing with these kids. It's not the same as it was in the past."

There are two main pitfalls of using these drugs, Cunningham said. The first is the potential for dependency.

"They're moving from more of a therapeutic use to recreational use. And that's a problem out there."

Recreational use is a problem especially because ADHD pills can have different affects on different people.

"If someone actually needs it it does affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, settles them down a bit and helps them to concentrate. For someone that's not struggling with that and is using it recreational, it's an amphetamine. It's basically legal speed. It'll help them stay up longer, study longer, party longer."

He recommends any parent with concerns over their child's use of ADHD medicines should consult with their doctor. Alternative therapies could be an option for some.
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