It’s midterm time, and I hear left and right people on the hunt for Adderall. Adderall, along with many other types of stimulants such as Vyvanse, Focalin, Concerta, and Ritalin, are drugs that use many different methods to stimulate the brain in order to increase concentration. These drugs are thought of often as very overprescribed, as well as addictive and dangerous. This is mainly because there are so many harmful side effects to these drugs. ADD and ADHD medicine is very controversial topic because there are many different viewpoints on the definition of the disorder.
To begin, the margins at which this disorder is classified are changing. The DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a book published by the American Psychiatric Association which classifies all mental disorders, is in the process of updating the definition of these disorders because the diagnosis is becoming too widespread. In the future, it is speculated the symptoms of ADD and ADHD will have to be increasingly more and more severe in order to be diagnosed with these disorders and consequently prescribed stimulant drugs as a treatment plan. Most doctors are on board with this move, however some still believe that their patients who have lesser symptoms have the disorder and have the right to the drugs. The diagnosis of ADD and ADHD is subjective, which makes it difficult to classify the disorder exactly and not over diagnose.
A different issue is the actual action of prescribing these drugs. Because these drugs have not been around a very long time, although there has been short term testing (the process of drug testing is a very serious and long process, so they really have passed through many levels of short term testing) there has still not been a conclusive study on the long-term effects of ADD/ADHD stimulant drugs. Will the drug end up decreasing lifespan? Will they cause memory problems? Will they increase chances of disease x or disease y? The point is that until the drug has been around long enough to see, doctors will not know.
These drugs are immensely helpful to many children, teens and even adults. They have been prescribed to many people who show large success rates. But the side effects are rough and can often outweigh the benefits. Most teenagers and adults on these drugs consistently must also take anti-depressants to counter the side effects. Just about everything related to ADD is controversial, and I find it especially relevant to us right about now because students decide to take these drugs to study better for exams. What are your thoughts on ADD medicine? Do you or your friends take it? Do you or your friends have prescriptions? Do you think these drugs are good or bad? Do the benefits outweigh the side effects?