Earlier this year an official position was stated by the American Academy of Neurology regarding the prescribing of attention-boosting drugs to kids who did not meet the criteria for them.
In a press release from the Academy, study author William Graf, MD, of Yale University said, “Doctors caring for children and teens have a professional obligation to always protect the best interests of the child, to protect vulnerable populations, and prevent the misuse of medication. The practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable.”
At Family First Intervention, we are advocates for finding healthier ways of treating behavioral disorders wherever possible. While medications may be necessary in some situations, they may not be the best choice to try first if there are safer and effective alternatives.
The AAN release also quoted Dr. Graf as saying, “The physician should talk to the child about the request, as it may reflect other medical, social or psychological motivations such as anxiety, depression or insomnia. There are alternatives to neuroenhancements available, including maintaining good sleep, nutrition, study habits and exercise regimens.”
As the neurologists pointed out in their statement, these particular drugs can have the potential for abuse and dependency. In fact, the nonmedical use of drugs such as as Ritalin and Adderall have continued to rise over the past many years.
These stimulants have become the “new gateway drugs” for many young people, as we have found throughout our years of helping families with interventions for prescription drug abuse and other substances.
You can read the full release from the American Academy of Neurology here.