Monday, July 8, 2013

Parenting Pointers: Academic Doping

With increasing competition to get into college and even fiercer competition once in college, "academic doping" is on the rise. Academic doping is the use of ADD and ADHD medications to enhance academic performance. According to NIH government data, up to a third of college students illegally consume ADHD meds. I had the chance to interview Frank J. Granett, R.Ph., Psychiatric Expert, Authority on Pharmacology, and Author of "Over Medicating Our Youth" about this trend.

What is academic doping, and what causes it? Academic doping involves the consumption of focus enhancing medications, most commonly Adderall, prior to ruling out nutritional, physiological and environmental risk factors as discussed in the book Over Medicating Our Youth. This trend is not exclusive to college campuses across the United States. High school students are also involved in this dangerous and alarming trend. The cause of this trend is primarily due to increased competition for academic excellence on college campuses. In high schools, however, teens are using Adderall-like stimulant drugs in combination with other psychoactive medications for an enhanced high.

Since these are prescription medications, how are students able to access them? Students in high schools and colleges across America are illegally obtaining these powerful stimulant drugs on the black market. For example, Adderall is the most diverted and abused controlled substance on college campuses.

What are the dangers of academic doping? The dangers of academic doping may become life threatening. The long term use of powerful ADHD stimulant drugs are known and warned by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States. Initially, the short term effects are very positive. The increased potential to cause harm may occur years later with the onset of anxiety, minor depression, bipolar and even psychosis if taken with other psychoactive drug therapy. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in the United States college student population. Furthermore, teen depression and suicide is reaching epidemic status in America.

What are some things parents (or classmates) can do to help prevent academic doping? Are there successful solutions to put an end to this trend? Prevention and solutions for academic doping involves educating parents, students, teachers as well as all health care professionals treating our youth for behavioral challenges. The symptoms of the ADHD condition are real, however can be reversed via the elimination of nutritional, physiological and environmental risk factors. For example, parents should immediately have their child screened for correct spinal alignment if ADHD symptoms are present. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics has many cases of children reverting to normal behavior just by initiating this simple assessment and manipulation. The cause is usually due to the birthing process, creating a subluxated cervical spine of the neck, which impinges nervous system energy flow. Over a period of time from birth, ADHD symptoms may become more pronounced.
The Action Plan for Behavioral Conditions is discussed in the book Over Medicating Our Youth and involves many other assessments including the importance of the Brain-gut Connection and whole foods diet. For example, the stomach and small intestine are the primary sites for neurotransmitter production. If the digestive system can not effectively remove toxins from the body, then the neurotransmitter production for cognitive function is adversely affected.  
A whole foods diet free of pesticides, artificial/natural flavorings, aspartame, dyes, sugar, and dairy products allows the body to remove toxins from the digestive tract allowing for optimal production of neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine.  
Whole foods contain an abundance of nutritional enzymes which helps to accomplish this task.
Health Policy changes at the collegiate level is also very important to reduce the illegal consumption of stimulant amphetamine prescription drugs. The University of California at Fresno has implemented a very strict process at their university health centers for students seeking this class of drug therapy.  The policy involves mandatory monthly mental health meetings if placed on stimulant drug therapy.  Many interviews of students at the university state that they can not be bothered with the time commitment for being placed on stimulant therapy. The end result is a drastic reduction in the prescribing of powerful stimulant amphetamine drugs at their university health centers.
The D.E.A. should also act on a national level to mandate more strict prescribing standards especially in our child population as discussed in the book.        

Visit to preview the book "Over Medicating Our Youth" and to preview enzymatic nutritionals for children.                      

No comments:

Post a Comment