Thursday, June 21, 2018
Health

Stress of school leads some students to try 'academic doping'

As classes start and the promise of academic stress builds, more students are looking for something stronger than caffeine to keep them alert and focused. They are turning to stimulants intended to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Academic doping, as the trend is known, has surged in the past two years, and the abuse potential has spiked among students, according to Frank Granett, author of Over Medicating Our Youth.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that more than a third of college undergraduates reported illicit use of stimulants intended to treat ADHD. Most found the drugs reduce fatigue while increasing reading comprehension, interest, cognition and memory.

Though few students had information about the drugs, most could access them with ease, according to the report.

Illegal consumers of ADHD medication range from high school students cramming for the SAT and ACT exams to graduate school students pulling all-nighters for a thesis. But students who don't medically require these drugs could suffer from their long-term effects, experts say.

These narcotics, particularly Adderall, the stimulant of choice among students, are potent and addictive, and over time can lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide, said Granett, who has 26 years of experience as an ADHD expert and pharmacist.

Usually high-achieving students are the ones who abuse the medication, said Dr. Emily Forrest, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Florida Hospital.

If abused, these controlled substances can cause a decrease in appetite, leading to weight loss, said Forrest. A high dose can lead to irritability. When taken back to back, the medication can start to decrease a student's concentration.

To prevent the medication from falling into the wrong hands, Forrest tells the parents of her patients to regulate the drug. She also advises college-bound patients not to tell friends they're on the stimulants.

Last year at the University of Central Florida, nearly 10 percent of students reported abusing ADHD medications, said Tom Hall, director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services at UCF.

"They see it as a way to make up a whole semester, and it isn't," said Hall.

In the past decade, Hall said he has seen abuse of ADHD medications increase only about 3 percent at UCF. A student found abusing a controlled substance, such as Adderall, violates the university's rule of conduct, and is subject to disciplinary action.

Taking ADHD stimulants to study applies to high school students as well, said Charlie DiGiorgio, owner of ProAcademic Solutions tutoring in Winter Park.

Since the SAT became more difficult in 2005, DiGiorgio said he has seen more pressure on high school juniors and seniors to improve their test scores so they can get accepted into top universities and their intended majors.

Students taking such drugs before testing don't necessarily improve their scores, DiGiorgio said. He sees a short-term energy and confidence boost, but after a few days that effect goes away.

Then, he said, "they're like walking zombies."

Comments
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18
Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

YES, MELANOMAS CAN BEGIN IN THE EYEIs it true that melanoma can develop in the eyes? If so, how common is it? How is it treated?Melanomas can begin in the eye, a condition called intraocular melanoma. Treatment for intraocular melanomas used to prima...
Published: 06/08/18
For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

High-intensity interval training is one of the biggest trends in fitness, but it has always seemed a bit scary to me. To a mere mortal with achy knees and an aging body, even the acronym — HIIT — sounded intimidating.But recently, I overcame my fears...
Published: 06/08/18
Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

By KATIE WORKMANOne of the amazing things about Italian food is that the best dishes are often so completely, refreshingly simple. Like, four-ingredient simple. (We don’t count olive oil and salt. Or water. Or air.) I love broccoli. I can roast brocc...
Published: 06/08/18