Timothy Layton, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard University, has a son who was born in August. Just before he was supposed to start kindergarten in 2017, Layton read a research paper showing that kids born in August scored worse at school on a range of academic measures compared to older kids in their class. In the research paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, it states, “we prevent evidence of a positive relationship between school starting age and children’s cognitive development from age six to 15 using a regression discontinuity design and large-scale population-level birth and school data from the state of Florida.”
The paper goes onto say that there is a correlation between late birthdays and problems for children in school. Is there really an influx in ADHD, or is there a problem with school placement?
A news outlet, The Guardian, shows that the use of Ritalin and similar drugs such as Adderall have doubled in the past 10 years. According to the article, there has been a massive influx of children diagnosed with ADHD which is a common mental illness that occurs in 6.4 million children aged four to 17. The symptoms of ADHD can include having difficulties paying attention, an inability to concentrate for long periods, remembering details, and staying organized. It is a condition that is not easy to diagnose, and based on the new information released that was discussed above, it makes that easier to understand. The children who are diagnosed are sometimes thought of as problem children or troublemakers, but that is not the case.
While there are still areas to work out when deciding if this is a problem where children are starting school too early or something that medication can fix, there are remedies available like Ritalin that have been proven effective to treat ADHD. There are no miracle cures for the disorder itself, but the medication can provide the necessary relief for a child who is struggling in school. Ritalin has been shown to improve test scores and raise a child’s self-esteem who is struggling.
One thing about ADHD, however, is that as the child gets older, they tend to outgrow their symptoms. This is not always true, but in many cases, they may not meet the criteria for a diagnosis. The doctors continue to prescribe these medications, and when you don’t need something anymore, it’s common practice to share with friends who don’t have ADHD and want to take it as a study aid. This can put someone on the fast track to addiction. Ritalin addiction can be serious and sometimes dangerous. Being aware of the signs of addiction can be the difference between life and death.
Ritalin, which has an active ingredient named methylphenidate, is a stimulant medication that is used to treat disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy. There are a variety of ways in which it can be consumed such as a patch, tablet, capsule, and even a liquid. ADHD causes the problem of a lack of excitatory activity in someone’s nervous system which has the problem.
Ritalin affects the excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, and there is an increase in the individual’s focus and allows them to concentrate much easier.
Someone that suffers from narcolepsy will benefit due to the stimulant properties of the drug which combats fatigue and keeps them alert.
Ritalin indirectly affects dopamine and serotonin by blocking a process known as reuptake. The method allows neurotransmitters to be reabsorbed into the nerve cell that sent it to be recycled, and when this process is blocked, dopamine and serotonin are leftover and bind to receptors. The whole process causes a much more intense effect, and those who struggle with disorders affecting attention and low energy levels will notice a reversal due to Ritalin.
When Ritalin is used as prescribed, it results in a much lower risk of physical dependence and a mild risk of psychological dependence. It is known to hold a significant risk of abuse, however. The addiction potential is much lower than other stimulants like Adderall; there are many scenarios where the medication is taken for reasons beyond what a doctor will recommend. It’s not commonly used as a recreational drug, but college and high school students see it as a performance-enhancing drug.
Ritalin is not chemically addictive, but it is easy to determine the symptoms of physical abuse attributed to the drug. Some of the most common side effects of Ritalin abuse include:
Other, but less common side effects may include:
If you or someone that you love has been showing any signs of these symptoms listed above, there is a possibility that a Ritalin substance use disorder has begun to develop. If you have tried to stop taking the drug but feel an urge to continue, there is a chance you’ve become psychologically addicted. There is help available.
Addiction treatment is a long and sometimes painful process that allows someone to address all psychological, medical, social problems that make up a substance use disorder. The process will also go over issues that are not directly linked to addiction but will allow for balance to be found in the client’s life. The first stage in the continuum of care is medical detoxification. Addiction creates many problems, but one of the more difficult portions to deal with is withdrawal.
While withdrawal symptoms from Ritalin are mild in comparison to benzodiazepines or opioid drugs, that doesn’t mean they won’t occur. Ritalin withdrawal can range from depression, fatigue, insomnia, and in more rare cases, heart complications. Excessive abuse of the drug will cause other problems such as malnutrition.
When the client enters into treatment, they will go through an assessment process that accurately determines their next level of care. The initial assessment is an integral part of therapy that allows for an overview of your past drug use. It will address what is required to ensure a positive experience in treatment.
After the completion of detox, it is vital to continue on the continuum of care and move onto the next stage of treatment. Clinicians could decide that you require residential treatment which will have you living on-site for an undetermined amount of time not lasting longer than 90 days. If the addiction is less severe, they could present you with the option of living off-site in an outpatient services program. The next step will depend on the severity of the addiction and other factors.
The facility that you attend could offer an alumni program once care has completed. It will give you access to community resources that help continue your commitment to recovery. This option will give you the best chance to follow the relapse prevention plan you created in therapy during rehab.
Lavelle, D. (2018, June 26). Should people worry about children's soaring Ritalin use? I don't – and I've taken it. from https://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2018/jun/26/should-people-worry-about-childrens-soaring-ritalin-use-i-dont-and-ive-taken-it
Elizabeth, Figlio, David, Krzysztof, & Jeffrey. (2017, August 03). School Starting Age and Cognitive Development. from https://www.nber.org/papers/w23660