Straight, no chaser

What ever happened to good old studying – straight up buckling down and doing work? It feels like every day I meet a new person prescribed to ADD medications. These prescription drugs are being over-prescribed and abused. Growing up in our fast-paced society, it’s no surprise that more and more kids have attention problems, but jumping to the conclusion that they have a neurological disorder and feeding them drugs is a hasty and unwise solution. Kids are growing up in a time when instant gratification is routine. With video games, Internet and TV, it’s no surprise that a book seems slow, but that doesn’t mean you have problems with your brain. Many students prescribed to ADD medications do show the symptoms of it, not because of an inherent neurological deficiency, but because of lack of discipline, patience and poor study habits. Also, on many campuses students use drugs like Adderal and Ritalin as temporary quick fixes for lack of patience and general fatigue without thinking twice about possible consequences. These psycho-stimulants may help in the short term, but they are mentally and physically addictive and carry a wide range of serious side-effects. Anxiety, sleeplessness, tremors, trouble breathing, heart problems, stroke, psychosis – the list goes on and on – and most of the “black market” users are completely unaware of these side effects. Canada even banned Adderal XR after it was linked to 20 sudden deaths, and Web MD warns that such drugs “can also result in abnormal drug-seeking behavior” and “abnormal thoughts” – that’s not just weird, that’s scary. Adderal and Ritalin are serious drugs that can have long term consequences. The more serious side effects are rare, but even if they don’t die or go crazy, students taking the drugs begin to think that doing work and studying is as simple as taking a pill. Once they start they can’t imagine doing any work without it. There are kids who truly need the drugs, but for everyone who does there is at least one who doesn’t. The medications should only be prescribed as an absolute last resort.Most kids would benefit more from simply practicing better study habits and self-discipline, reading more books, eating well and getting exercise and a good night’s rest. The changes would not happen overnight, but with a healthy lifestyle, anyone can learn to focus better and become a more disciplined, mature and stronger individual without drugs and side effects.