Doctors Warn Against "Study Drugs"

By Valerie Tejeda 03/14/13

Neurologists say ADHD meds should not be prescribed to healthy kids as a study aid.

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The American Academy of Neurology is warning doctors across the nation to stop prescribing ADHD medications to healthy kids as a study aid. Psychostimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are typically used to treat kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But as these "study drugs" are known to help kids focus, parents are increasingly requesting prescriptions for their kids to help boost their academic performance, even when they don't meet the criteria for ADHD. "The practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable," said Dr. William Graf, a professor of pediatric neurology at Yale University, in a press release, "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." Medication for ADHD is among the highest prescribed drug in the country, and around three million kids a year are put on psychostimulant medication for the disorder, according to the CDC. Instead of rushing to prescribe drugs, Dr. Graf urges physicians to remind parents that there are effective alternatives to medication for neuroenhancement, “including maintaining good sleep, nutrition, study habits and exercise regimens."

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.

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