Surge in Older Adult Drug Abuse

SurgeinOlderAdultDrugAbuseSurge in Older Adult Drug Abuse

Much attention has recently been focused on the rise of prescription drug abuse by those in their later years. Interestingly, the baby boomer generation is playing a big role in this surge as it adds to the trend the use of marijuana. A recent government study indicated that more than 4 million adults over the age of 50 are smoking marijuana and abusing prescription drugs. The study further describes how the rates of abuse among the 50+ age group almost doubled between 2002 and 2007. Even more troubling is that the government report says that over the next two decades, with the baby boomer generation aging more, the number of older adults using drugs will increase even more. This dramatic increase will demand more treatment services for this generation and the demand is only continuing to rise.

The report, based on data collected during 2006-2008 from almost 20,000 U.S. adults born between 1946 and 1964, found that marijuana use was more prevalent among those aged 50 to 59, while prescription drug abuse was more common in those 65 and older, as indicated by Madeline Ellis of Health News. Further, the new report shows that more men than women (8.5 percent vs. 3.9 percent) aged 50 to 54 indicated using marijuana in the previous year. However, less than 1 percent of older adults said they had used drugs other than marijuana or prescription medications. This is an interesting finding in that heroin, meth, and other substance abuse is on the rise, but the baby boomer generation prefers marijuana and prescriptions.

It’s becoming apparent that many of the baby boomers who picked up drug habits in their teens never stopped and matured into adulthood while continuing to use drugs.   Quoting Dr. Ihsan M Salloum, chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Treatment and Research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, “This is becoming more and more apparent in practice. You have both prescription drugs being used that people can become addicted to and also people who have had a pattern of use from before.”

So, for many baby boomer and older adults, this pattern of drug abuse is proving difficult to break. Many of these individuals were used to smoking a joint to calm them down to sleep when they were younger. Now, they’ve simply just switched to sleeping pills to help with this and other pills to help deal with other things in their lives. It is obvious that both drug treatment centers and medical facilities need to be ready for this surge of older adults continuing to use drugs.   Finding solutions for this age group may prove challenging since the addictions of these individuals will be so long term in comparison to the new addictions many treatment centers are used to treating people for.

 

Drug Prevention: Keeping up with your teen’s texting

textingDrug Prevention: Keeping up with your teen’s texting

When it comes to teens and drug abuse, awareness and prevention are key. Many teens think they are too old for supervision, or they know they can outsmart their parents even when their parents are trying to keep tabs on what they are up to. There are many ways to be involved and aware of what your teen is up to in their personal lives. Monitoring your teen’s texting can be important in drug prevention and in discussing important issues they are facing.

Many parents have their teens “check in” their phones at night. This usually means that the teens give their phones to their parents. This is a great prevention tool as it allows parents to review the activity on the teen’s phone since the last check in. If teens argue with this idea, they could be reminded that the parent’s are the ones paying for the phone. It’s also a good idea for teens to take a break from the technology they are bombarded with at every turn, let alone turning the screen off and getting some good rest.

Interestingly, when parents do require their teens to check phones in or parents take the teen’s phone and view the content on it, many are confused when it comes to texting slang. A new article published by Kelly Wallace, CNN discusses how many parents are completely clueless when it comes to Internet slang, acronyms, and the shorthand communication that goes on between teens. For instance, even though many parents believe their teen’s texting is innocent enough, the article states that, ”the issue, especially for parents, is understanding the slang that could signal some dangerous teen behavior, such as “GNOC,’” which means “get naked on camera.” And it certainly helps for a parent to know that “PIR” means parent in room, which could mean the teen wants to have a conversation about things that his or her mom and dad might not approve of.”

The CNN report says that most teens are becoming more and more aware that their parents are monitoring their texting and online use. In an effort to keep their interactions hidden, they have devised many sneaky acronyms to continue to communicate in ways that their parents are oblivious to but would not approve of if they knew. In relation to drug prevention, there are a few acronyms that indicate drug use that are widely know around teens including: CID (acid), Broken (hungover from alcohol), 420 (marijuana), DOC (drug of choice). If parents are aware of these acronyms and see them show up in their teen’s interaction, they may be able to prevent drug use or any further drug use by discussing the acronyms with their teens.

An extremely helpful section of the article contains a list created by Katie Greer (a national Internet safety expert who has provided Internet and technology safety training to schools, law enforcement agencies and community organizations throughout the country for more than seven years). It contains some of the acronyms well known to teens but hardly known to most parents. Greer says, “After you read this list, you’ll likely start looking at your teen’s texts in a whole new way.”

  1. IWSN – I want sex now
  2. GNOC – Get naked on camera
  3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer
  4. PIR – Parent in room
  5. CU46 – See you for sex
  1. 53X – Sex
  2. 9 – Parent watching
  3. 99 – Parent gone
  4. 1174’ – Party meeting place
  5. THOT – That hoe over there
  6. CID – Acid (the drug)
  7. Broken – Hungover from alcohol
  8. 420 – Marijuana
  9. POS – Parent over shoulder
  10. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo
  11. KOTL – Kiss on the lips
  12. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life
  13. PRON – Porn
  14. TDTM – Talk dirty to me
  15. 8 – Oral sex
  16. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9
  17. IPN – I’m posting naked
  18. LH6 – Let’s have sex
  19. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?
  20. DOC – Drug of choice
  21. TWD – Texting while driving
  22. GYPO – Get your pants off
  23. KPC- Keeping parents clueless

 

 

 

 

Avoiding the Holiday blues

holidaybluesAvoiding the Holiday blues

The holidays are a time full of “laughter and cheer” right? Well, even though that may be the case for many of santa’s little helpers, there are also people who find themselves feeling depressed, sad, lonely, or just plain “blue”. The holiday season is also a busier and more stressful time. We have more things to do, more things to buy, there is more traffic, parking is more difficult, stores are crowded and we wait longer. The extra demands on our time, attention, energy and finances can be very stressful, and for some, this brings on the “holiday blues.” Even though most people are looking forward to the holidays with anticipation, happiness, friendliness, fellowship, and peace, there are also those who may be feeling real symptoms of depression including: headaches, insomnia, anxiety, intestinal problems, uneasiness, and/or sadness.

Although different things may bring on the holiday blues for different people, some people may begin to feel down because of the stressfulness of holiday events. And, with every holiday event, there is often overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue, which can contribute to the holiday blues as well. The demands of the holidays are many as well: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping and extra financial burden and stress. All of these factors can lead to holiday blues.

A few ideas to help avoid the holiday blues, and to make the holidays brighter include: deciding on what’s most important to you during the holidays and not letting other things get in the way of those plans, and being reasonable with your schedule. Many run about and fret and worry about being at every gathering, program, or party. This can cause undue worry or stress and can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and wanting to just “give up”. Also, trying to meet the expectations of others in your life can also cause holiday blues. Keeping the holidays simpler will aid in bringing the stress and overwhelming feelings down.

Some people may feel the holiday blues because they don’t have much going on or they are far away from friends or family. Be proactive! Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen; invite others to attend a free concert. There are so many opportunities for doing community service. It’s difficult to be depressed when doing community service.

Also, some adults tend to wish that their holidays were the same now as they were when they were children. Don’t expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. They NEVER are. YOU are not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in your life or family is the same either.

Importantly, if you drink, do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging and hang-overs. This can, and most likely will, exacerbate your depression and anxiety. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant. It may seem fun at the party but know that you are in for some major holiday blues later. So, choose wisely when it comes to alcohol during the holidays.

Last, make time for yourself. Some people are so busy giving to others that they forget to take care of themselves. Often moms fall into this category. Remember, if you do the things you need to do to take care of yourself (aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, spiritual practices, sleep, long walks, etc.) your holiday blues and anxiety will lessen and those you are serving will feel your love even more.

Avoiding the holiday blues can prove tough: for some, there are constant triggers everywhere of anxiety and depression. But choosing to be proactive and make decisions about how you will spend your time right now, can help the rest of the holidays go more smoothly and can bring more peace and more light instead of the dark holiday blues.

Dying in Vein: Documentary on Heroin

dyinginveinDying in Vein: an Upcoming Documentary on Heroin

A new documentary from Jenny Mackenzie and Academy Award Winning Producer Geralyn White Dreyfous about the dangers surrounding heroin use is currently in production. This moving film, Dying in Vein, is an “intimate and deeply personal exploration of heroin addiction in two friends who meet in middle school.” It documents their own friendship, the family relationships they had, warnings and signs that should have made them stop heroin use, and the things they ignored. The film shows how these two friends, who seemingly “had everything” (opportunities, family love and support, etc.), continue in their heroin addiction until ten years have passed and one friend is alive and one is dead. Following the funeral, the film shows how recreational teenage drug use went to heroin addiction. The two families of the friends share their powerful and raw stories hoping to help others understand the reality of America’s fastest growing health tragedy. The powerful documentary reveals that heroin addiction is a “wrenching, poignant disease that can destroy the lives of even the most promising and privileged teenagers.”

A recent study reported by drug-rehabs.org, indicates that in many states across America, the increase in heroin use is astoundingly on the rise. For example, at Ohio State University, “administrators noticed that overdoses from heroin were up 25% between 2008 and 2009, and these numbers continue to rise. Cowlitz County, Washington had an extraordinarily pure batch of heroin that killed seven individuals in only five days. In St. Louis, Missouri, county city officials reported that over 300 people in the last two years had died from using heroin.”

Further, information from death certificates from 2009 (the most recent accessible year) shows that heroin killed almost 3,500 individuals in the United States that year, up twice as much from 10 years ago. Also, the information generated indicates that more and more people are dying from heroin overdose under the age of 30

Once believed to be a “hard core drug” used only by individuals characterized as such, heroin is showing up everywhere – with people from all different background using the drug. Findings indicate that heroin users are found in rich and poor communities; they can be young or old, or any age in between. Drug-abuse.org also reports that, “Federal hazard surveys from 2011 reveal 2.9% of high school students have used heroin, and over 345,000 Americans of various ages are addicted to it. A nationwide observation network of hospital-emergency rooms calculated that out of almost one-million visits for illegal drug abuse in 2009, over 200,000 were for heroin.”

This new documentary, Dying in Vein, illustrates the struggle many are fighting across the US. It shows that none of us is immune to heroin effecting and impacting our lives. No matter what our neighborhoods are like, or our socioeconomic status is, or our values or ideals, heroin is creeping into every situation and is spreading across the country. The powerful new film, Dying in Vein, with it’s personal stories about two dear friends, will hopefully help continue raising the awareness of heroin use and overdose that is becoming more and more commonplace.

Watch the Dying In Vein trailer.

To learn more about Dying In Vein, visit dyinginveinmovie.org.

Pornography addictions: Women are just as likely

PornographyAddictionWithWomenPornography addictions: Women are just as likely

Pornography can be very addicting as has been shown by much research. In fact, pornography is known to produce more Internet traffic than anything else online and has been newly termed as the new cocaine. Researchers have actually seen changes in the brains of self-described porn addicts that are similar to those seen in drug addicts. For some, it becomes so addictive that it becomes obsessive, even problematic. Many associate pornography addictions with men, however, recent research indicates that women are just as likely to have a problem with pornography addiction.

Pornography addiction is a behavioral addiction. Symptoms are similar to those of a drug addict. Individuals addicted to pornography constantly think about viewing porn in spite of negative consequences. Although it may ruin, interfere with, or cause an individual to be unable to form relationships, individuals addicted to pornography continue to view it. Also similar to drug addicts, pornography addicts experience withdrawal when they can’t get their fix.

Rightstep.com reports that, “Much research into pornography addiction has been focused on men. Historically, men have been the main demographic using this type of media. With the rise of ubiquitous Internet porn and erotica, however, women have jumped on the bandwagon. More women are using porn than ever before, and more are suffering from the negative consequences of becoming hooked on it. While some can use it in a healthy way, just as with men, others develop an addiction.

How men and women get hooked on porn is similar. They start using porn for pleasure, for escape, or to relax when feeling anxious or stressed. With time, they become desensitized to the images and need more and more pornography, often with more hardcore themes, in order to be satisfied. And then they are hooked. The pattern of addiction is the same for men and women, but experts who treat them report that women feel much guiltier about their porn use.”

Many professionals have been reporting that there is an increase in women asking for porn addiction treatment in recent years. Society has continued to disbelieve this and cling to the knowledge that porn addiction is a male disease. Recently, however, in August 2014, a study was reported in the journal Cyber psychology, Behavior and Social Networking in relation to females and pornography addiction. In this study, more than 100 women, half of whom viewed Internet porn, were shown pornographic images and reported their reactions. Professor Matthias Brand of Duisburg-Essen University (head of the research team in Germany) reports, “Results indicated internet porn users rated pornographic pictures as more arousing and reported greater craving due to pornographic picture presentation compared with non-users. Brand said, “Moreover, craving, sexual arousal rating of pictures, sensitivity to sexual excitation, problematic sexual behavior and severity of psychological symptoms predicted tendencies toward cybersex addiction in internet porn users.”

These new findings prove what so many women have been attempting to convince many of for so long: that women are equally as likely to become addicted to viewing pornography. And, further, once that addiction forms, the behavioral patterns between both men and women pornography addicts are very similar. These findings suggest that new approaches may be necessary for treating women addicted to pornography addiction, knowing that the consequences are as severe as those for men.

 

Recovery during Thanksgiving

RecoveryDuringThanksgivingRecovery during Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be a difficult time for those in addiction recovery. Family and friends-who insist that everyone has a drink- are in abundance. Most of them simply don’t understand addiction. They think that because they can stop after one drink, everyone must be able to stop after one drink.

Even when friends and family don’t insist that everyone has a drink at thanksgiving time, many feel like the odd one out. Some, in a desperate attempt to fit in under pressure, take that drink, and by doing so, begin the addiction cycle over again.

Research shows that after just one drink, those in recovery, especially early recovery, will relapse on their drug of choice.

Perhaps self-encouraging words during this thanksgiving time can help fight the pulls of addiction. Maybe considering how blessed one is to be in recovery and be grateful for everything they have gained through abstinence will help fight the urge to have “just one drink” around the table. Possibly being thankful for a sponsor and keeping in contact with that person throughout the thanksgiving holiday weekend can give individuals the resolve and conviction they need to fight back in the battle of addiction.

The best time to make a plan for recovery during the Thanksgiving holiday is now, before the festivities begin. If there is a possibility that alcohol will be served at a Thanksgiving dinner that someone in recovery is attending, they should have enough respect for themselves and their recovery to not attend there. Having a sandwich at home with a trusted friend will provide better results that will produce more gratitude and thanksgiving in the end.

Using a blood test to screen for depression

BloodTestForDepressionUsing a blood test to screen for depression

A new study published it the Journal Translational Psychiatry with Eva Redei, Ph.D. as lead investigator, indicates that screening for depression might soon be as easy as a blood test. The huffingtonpost.com reported on this study and said that the new test that identifies particular molecules in the blood could help doctors diagnose patients with clinical depression. Further, it was found that the blood test could also predict which therapies would be most successful for patients, and lays the groundwork for identifying people who are especially vulnerable to depression — even before they’ve gone through a depressive episode (huffingtonpost.com).

Lead investigator Eva Redei indicated perhaps the most exciting news to come out of the study when she said, “but perhaps just as important (as finding the link between molecules in the blood and depression) is the potential the test has for taking some of the stigma out of a depression diagnosis. When depression can be confirmed with a blood test like any other physical ailment,” she said, “there’s less stigma about having the disease and getting treatment.”

Redei feels adamantly that having an objective diagnosis will help to decrease the stigma surrounding depression. That is to say, that the fact that depression is an actual illness can be identified instead of the common belief that depression is a matter of will.

Also exciting, is that the blood tests Redei is formulating can lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses of depression. Currently, depression often takes from 2 to 40 months to diagnose and sometimes diagnoses get missed altogether. The blood test could lead to quicker diagnoses and then onto quicker treatment of and relief from depression.   The blood test can also indicate that individuals are prone to depression even if they have not yet experienced the symptoms.

The findings of Redei’s study are significant because of the stigma that can be changed, the speed of diagnosis being increased, and the treatment being fast as well. However, many critics indicate that more studies on different test groups of individuals are needed before the FDA will allow the blood test in a routine lab setting.

The huffingtonpost.com reports that, “Zachary Kaminsky, Ph.D., of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, wasn’t involved with the study but is excited about its potential implications for depression treatment. Kaminsky is a pioneer in blood tests to predict suicide risk, and although he and Redei measure very different things in their tests, he sees that both researchers have similar goals when it comes to creating biological tests for mental illnesses.”

Kaminsky also indicated that finding a blood test that would indicate depression and predisposition to depression is an exciting thing that is very interesting and worth following up on.

Substance Abuse and the Elderly

Father and SonSubstance Abuse and the Elderly

When the issue of substance abuse is discussed, society often thinks of it being a problem among teens, or perhaps young or reckless adults. However, this notion is completely incorrect. The nytimes.com recently reported that, “Baby boomers, who came of age in the ’60s and ’70s when experimenting with drugs was pervasive, are far more likely to use illicit drugs than previous generations. For example, a 2011 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that among adults aged 50 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased to 6.3 percent in 2011 from 2.7 percent in 2002. Aside from alcohol, the most commonly abused drugs were opiates, cocaine and marijuana.” The realization that many of these individuals came of age during a time when drug experimentation was normal, allows more understanding of why these same individuals are struggling with addictions and abuse patterns in their later years.

The elderly most commonly abuse alcohol as their drug of choice. Again, nytimes.org reports that, “Numerous surveys document problematic drinking among the elderly. For example, a 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 8.3 percent of adults 65 and older reported binge drinking, defined as having four or five drinks on one occasion in the past month, while the rate of heavy drinking was 2 percent. Given the increased sensitivity to the harmful effects of alcohol with aging, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that men and women aged 65 or older have no more than three drinks on any day and no more than seven drinks per week.”

Oasas.ny.gov recently indicated that, “In his work at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Hays found that 2.5 million older adults and 21% of older hospital patients had alcohol-related problems. (Hays, L. et al. Presented at a symposium for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry 2002 Symposium: Substance Use Disorders in the Elderly: Prevalence, Special Considerations and Treatment.)” Many of the elderly report beginning to abuse alcohol later in life. Oasas.ny.gov reports that the elderly’s “alcohol abuse is often triggered by changes in life such as: retirement, death or separation from a family member, a friend or a pet, health concerns, reduced income, impairment of sleep and/or familial conflict. Because alcohol has a higher absorption rate in the elderly, much like it does in women, the same amount of alcohol produces higher blood alcohol levels, causing a greater degree of intoxication than the same amount of alcohol would cause in younger male drinkers.”

However, close on the heels of alcohol abuse is prescription drug abuse. Interestingly, women far outnumber men when it comes to prescription drug abuse: by as much as 20% more. Most of the elderly end up addicted to prescription drugs not after trying to get “high”, but rather in an attempt to avoid physical and emotional pain that comes with age. However, the risks associated with prescription drug abuse among the elderly are severe. Most are battling physiological or psychiatric illnesses in their increasing age already and adding a drug addiction to that battle is dangerous.

When you couple prescription drug abuse in the elderly with alcohol abuse in the elderly, and add to that the abuse of over the counter (OTC) drugs, there can be severe adverse reactions. The elderly spend over $500 million yearly on medications. Antihistamines, laxative, caffeine and other OTC medications cause imbalances, especially when combined with alcohol. The side effects of these imbalances due to drug abuse by the elderly can be negative or even fatal.

When considering if an elderly loved one has a substance abuse problem, The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment published a list of symptoms that may indicate alcohol or drug (whether prescribed or OTC) problem:

  • Memory trouble after having a drink or taking a medication
  • Loss of coordination (walking unsteadily, frequent falls)
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Being unsure of yourself
  • Irritability, sadness, depression
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to stay alone much of the time
  • Failing to bathe or keep clean
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty staying in touch with family or friends
  • Lack of interest in usual activities

Sources: nytimes.org, oasas.ny.gov

 

Teen drug trend: Etizolam

etizolamTeen drug trend: Etizolam

Recently, some states are reporting cases of drug abuse of a dangerous new sedative by teens: etizolam. Legal in most states, the drug is rising in popularity among teens. It’s not detected in drug tests but can be dangerous and deadly.

Etizolam is a lot like Valium or Xanax. It is in a group of drugs called research chemicals, which are legal to take. Federal authorities say this drug is trending on the street, and they are seeing it being shipped into this country more frequently.

A quick Google search of etizolam will turn up a plethora of pills for sale.

The danger of etizolam is linked to respiratory failure, heart failure, and seizures.  Etizolam also is being used as a date-rape drug because it lowers inhibitions and creates an amnesia-like affect.

Chicago.cbslocal.com published an article about the dangers of etizolam and reported a story about a teenager who had a seizure from taking etizolam. They said, “A Chicago area mom, who does not want her name used, wants to expose this drug she says she found her son using and hiding inside of a book cut in the middle to conceal the drugs.

‘I’m worried because it’s so easy to get,’ the mother says. ‘He ordered 10 boxes online.’ The danger is real says the mom, whose son is now in rehab.

‘He had a seizure,’ she said. ‘It was almost 10 minutes long.’”

Georgia has also seen the rise in popularity of etizolam among teens there. Wsbtv.com reports that, “GBI confirms it’s seen several cases of a dangerous new sedative drug here in Georgia. The drug is rising in popularity among teenagers, and is still legal in Georgia.

‘This is a drug that one could easily overdose on, and it is getting sold freely over the Internet,’ said Dr. Ford Vox, who works at the Shepherd Center. ‘In particular with alcohol, it can sedate someone to the extent that they can pass out unconscious. Slow respirations, even vomit, and not awaken from the vomit,’ Vox said.”

As always, it’s important for parents to be vigilant in knowing what their teens are up to. Being aware of new trend in teen drug abuse can help prevent dangerous situations. Hopefully, more states will be proactive about banning etizolam and making it illegal to use.

 

Sources:

Chicago.cbslocal.com

Wsbtv.com

 

Moms taking their kid’s Ritalin to keep up

Mother's abusing Ritalin to keep up.Moms taking their kid’s Ritalin to keep up

Most moms are overloaded with tasks, many work full or part time, some are still struggling to lose the weight they gained during pregnancies years ago, most are stressed out, tired, some are depressed…the list goes on and on. Some moms have much – maybe too much- on their plates and are turning to prescription drug to cope with the stress of their overburdened lives. In the 60’s and 70’s, drugs like valium became popular coping mechanisms for mom’s stress; in the 80’s and 90’s antidepressants like Prozac were often prescribed followed by a wide range of sleeping pills around the turn of the century. The new drug of choice (“mommy’s little helper”) by many of these overachieving, over stressed moms is Ritalin.

Ritalin is most commonly known for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. This disorder is characterized by a, “continual behavior pattern consisting of hyperactivity and/or inattention with episodes of impulsiveness” (emaxhealth.com). Stimulants treat ADHD well by increasing dopamine in the brain since those with ADHD are low in dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain associated with attention, movement, and pleasure. Ritalin has a calming and focusing effect on those diagnosed with ADHD.

Interestingly, although Ritalin is prescribed for children with ADHD, emaxhealth reports that, “an inordinate number of female adults are increasingly receiving prescriptions for ADHD drugs. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over the past decade the number of prescriptions written each year for Adderall has surged among women over 26, rising from a total of roughly 800,000 in 2002 to some 5.4 million in 2010. A particularly significant increase has been for women aged 26-39, for whom prescriptions soared by 750%. One of the reasons for this surge is attributed to an increased use of Adderall as a popular drug that will not only help women cope with stress, feel energized and become more focused, but lose weight as well.”

People magazine recent published an article regarding moms taking Ritalin. The women they highlighted discussed how much they were able to accomplish and how well they performed tasks and stayed focused. They told People that they felt like Ritalin was a miracle drug. However, the women interviewed also discussed the addictive nature of Ritalin and how they had been hiding their consumption from spouses and visiting multiple doctors to get more Ritalin.

Physicians and psycho-behavioral experts agree that many moms are taking Ritalin in an effort to be overachievers and do it all. These moms may face competition in the workplace from their male counterparts, feel pressure to be thin because of social stigma society places on women, and feel pressure to be a supermom for their kids at home. Ritalin can provide relief from this pressure, help these moms focus and accomplish more than they ever could before, and help them lose weight at the same time.

Curious though, is where these moms are getting their Ritalin pills. Reports have surfaced that indicate that women are faking ADHD to get Ritalin prescriptions. And, even more worrisome, some mothers are tapping into their children’s supply or their friend’s children’s supplies of Ritalin. The National Institute of drug abuse reports that, “stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are among the top 10 prescription drugs stolen from pharmacies.”

Ritalin is safe to treat ADHD and while a doctor is supervising use of the drug, but abuse and addiction are high possibilities with Ritalin when not taken properly. Side effects of abusing stimulants such as Ritalin can include: hypertension, increased heart rate, anorexia, weight loss, headaches, and mood changes. More serious long term complications can include: Parkinson’s disease and damaged brain cells.

Ritalin may seem like a cure-all for those moms trying to balance so much in their over-stressed, busy lives. But they must know that taking Ritalin may rob them of all of the things they are working so hard to accomplish and achieve it they become addicted or abuse the drug.