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Ritalin: Ending the Abuse for Non-ADHD Patients


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Ritalin: Ending the Abuse for Non-ADHD Patients

  1. 1. The effects of Ritalin on the brains of college students.<br />Kaleena Nichols <br />Psychology Major<br />CHHS 302<br />Professor Oehlman<br />February 28, 2011<br />
  2. 2. Professional Interest<br />The reason for the selection of this topic is that I am a psychology major and am interested in how drugs affect a person’s brain, especially college students. It is a known fact that many college students (and some high school students) use Ritalin, an ADHD medication, to enhance study habits. I think there is a lot of information on ADHD drugs that most people are unaware of, including young students, and the facts need to be put into perspective in order for students to make a thought out decision as to whether Ritalin’s psychological effects are worth a decent grade point average (GPA). <br />
  3. 3. Critical Situation/Problem<br />The problem with Ritalin is that this drug has effects on one’s brain and in many cases has long-term effects. Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is recognized as having a high abuse potential and produces many of the same effects as cocaine or amphetamines (White et al, 2006). This drug is to be prescribed by one’s medical physician and the main purpose of the prescription is to reduce ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms. It is not meant to be issued illegally for people to abuse the drug or “experiment” with it, in order to do well in school, especially during finals week. <br />
  4. 4. Rhetorical Timing<br />The timing for this situation is the present. This modern day societal issue is affecting many people. With today’s low economy and not enough job opportunities, students are doing everything they can in order to get a higher education (Master’s degree, Ph.D.), therefore leading to a higher paying job. If that means taking Ritalin to “improve” study habits, getting better grades, and in the long-run that better job, then it seems as students are doing it. As any other drug, the illegal possession and abuse will not cease to exist until appropriate action has been taken. <br />
  5. 5. Summary of Research<br /><ul><li>My personal hypothesis on this topic is that societal and parental pressures can cause students to take Ritalin in order to do well in school, get a degree, and a high paying job.
  6. 6. Ritalin is commonly know as a “smart” drug that’s becoming more prevalent among college students
  7. 7. Ritalin (methylphenidate) is an ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medicine that doctors prescribe in order for their patients’ hyperactivity level to balance out
  8. 8. It’s a stimulant drug that can be helpful with ADHD symptoms but by no means cures ADHD. </li></li></ul><li>Summary continued. . . <br />Ritalin can also treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and frequent daytime sleep attacks<br />Methylphenidate is the fourth most prescribed drug in the U.S. according to the DEA, since 2003, behind hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine. <br />Ritalin is relatively safe for those diagnosed with ADHD, however can have deadly and adverse effects for those without ADHD, and the risk of addiction increases dramatically<br />Side effects of Ritalin<br /><ul><li>Increased blood pressure
  9. 9. Heart complications
  10. 10. Headache
  11. 11. Seizures (Drug News, 2001)
  12. 12. Homicidal tendencies
  13. 13. Panic episodes
  14. 14. Aggressive behavior
  15. 15. Insomnia
  16. 16. Nervousness
  17. 17. Suicidal tendencies</li></ul>Include (White et al, 2003):<br />
  18. 18. Summary Continued. . . <br />If Ritalin is injected into the arm, side effects become more problematic due to lung and eye damage<br />University of Michigan found in 2002, that an average of 4% of students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades used Ritalin illegally <br />A southwestern CA college found that over half of students (in their study) prescribed with Ritalin, admitted to selling, sharing, or giving away Ritalin to those who wanted to try it (Shillington, 2006)<br />
  19. 19. Summary Continued. . . <br />Students who regularly use Ritalin declare that the drug goes about $5 a pill but during midterm week, the price can shoot up to $25 or $30 a pill. <br />It’s been found to be sold and bought in the library, cafeteria, dorm, bookstore, and pretty much anywhere on a college campus, through the other students<br />One student who has a prescription for his ADHD, gets his 60 pills a month and is supposed to take 2 a day. <br /><ul><li>He only uses 2 if he has to pull an “all nighter” (Trudeah, 2009)
  20. 20. With the left over pills, he just gives away to his friends</li></li></ul><li>Summary Continued. . . <br />Martha Farah, director at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that on some campuses, as many as 25% of the student population has admitted to using Ritalin<br />Farah understands the drug’s appeal because “they do measurably increase concentration and motivation. This is what makes studying for hours on end, or any kind of intellectual work, more engrossing and more rewarding” (Trudeau, 2009)<br />After knowing all about the drug and it’s side effects, is it really worth taking just to maybe getting a decent GPA? <br />
  21. 21. Community Connection<br />Those who need to hear about such research are college students, parents, teachers, doctors, and counselors. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention should also know the research, the CA government, and CSU and UC campuses throughout the state<br />The more people know about this issue, the more it can dealt with in an appropriate fashion<br />
  22. 22. References<br />(2010). Why to avoid Ritalin. Drug News: Latest News and Facts About Medicines You Take. Retrieved from<br />McCabe, S., Knight, J. R., Teter, C. J., & Wechsler, H. (2005). Non-medical use of prescription stimulants among US college students: Prevalence and correlates from a national survey. Addiction, 100(1), 96-106. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.00944.x<br />Shillington, A., Reed, M., Lange, J., Clapp, J., & Henry, S. (2006). College Undergraduate Ritalin Abuses in Southwestern California: Protective and Risk Factors. Journal of Drug Issues, 36(4), 999-1014. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. <br />(2005). College Life: The Ritalin Advantage? The New York Times News Service. Retrieved from ritalin-ON.html<br />Trudeau, M. (2009). More Students Turning Illegally To 'Smart' Drugs, NPR. Retrieved from<br />University At Buffalo. (2001). Ritalin May Cause Long-Lasting Changes in Brain-Cell Function, University at Buffalo Researchers Find. Science Daily. Retrieved from<br />White, B., Becker-Blease, K., & Grace-Bishop, K. (2006). Stimulant medication Use, misuse and Abuse in an Undergraduate and Graduate Student Sample. Journal of American College Health, 54(5), 261-268. doi: 10.3200/JACH.54.5.261-268<br />