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What Is Your College Student Bringing Home for Christmas Break

Beware the Increase and Danger of Adderall Use on College Campuses

Key Facts:

  • Prominent NFL, MLB, and NCAA players have recently been benched for Adderall use.
  • The Miami Hurricane – the newspaper of the University of Miami – recently published an article touting the benefits of Adderall use on grades.
  • Such evidence proves that Adderall use among students and athletes is on the rise.
  • Lighthouse Network warns parents about the dangers of stimulant use if not diagnosed and prescribed them for a specific ailment, and tells parents what to look for in a child that may be illegally using prescription stimulants.

With Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz recently being benched for amphetamine use because he was taking Adderall, as well as the recent inquiries into Adderall use in the NFL and NCAA, it is clear that use of psychostimulants is increasing. Although many are benefitting from the longer acting stimulants for ADHD, sadly, many users are doing so illegally, obtaining pills from friends or on the black market. The illegal use of stimulants is dangerous and can be life-threatening.

Adderall is a black-box drug, meaning it carries significant side effect warnings that should not be ignored. If taken without a prescription and without understanding potential side effects, it can cause minor side effects like headache or nausea, or serious to life-threatening effects like psychoses, seizures, or cardiac arrest. They can also be an entry point to experimenting with other drugs, especially party, rave, or designer drugs or can lead to drug addiction.

While using a stimulant like Ritalin or Adderall may seem like an easy fix for not being able to focus, natural alternatives or decreasing need to stay awake at all – like better planning ahead of a test or getting more rest and exercise – are better than taking a serious medication that hasn’t been prescribed for you.

When use of a potentially addicting medication or drug progresses from experimental or recreational use to circumstantial use, meaning as a coping mechanism for dealing with circumstances, they are right at the edge of the addiction cliff on the slippery slope to disaster!

Despite the risks, Adderall use on college campuses is on the rise, as is illegal distribution of the drug. In a November article run in the University of Miami student newspaper, one author went so far as to suggest that students should “take advantage” of pills to help concentration and focus during finals and other intense times of the semester.

I want to urge parents to watch their college students during the Christmas break, and to confront any behaviors that suggest stimulant use, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • excessive talking followed by depression
  • excessive sleeping at odd times
  • going long periods of time without eating or sleeping
  • dilated pupils
  • weight loss

If you notice any of these or other suspicions, please get professional help to assess what is going on and advise the best course of treatment to help your child get off this dangerous path and get on the path to healing and wellness. Remember, the best treatment will incorporate God and the Bible’s instructions for healthy psychological functioning and decision-making.

karl-benzio-1Dr. Karl Benzio MD, Christian Psychiatrist, writer, speaker, media guest expert, social issue activist, and the founder and clinical director of Lighthouse Network. Benzio brings scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s storms. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students about counseling, leadership, parenting, marriage, and conflict resolution skills in traumatized areas like Uganda, Kenya and post-Hussein Iraq. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council, the Pennsylvania Director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics, and serves on many other social policy task forces. His specialties include adolescents, addictions, decision-making and infusing spirituality into treatment. Benzio shares psycho-spiritual insights via his Stepping Stones daily devotional, on his one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” on 425 Christian radio stations and on iDisciple.org.

Email: KBenzio@LighthouseNetwork.org

Twitter: @drkarlb