STIMULANT DRUGS FOR TREATMENT 7
The debate on whether the use of stimulants to treat attentiondeficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) is harmful to the patients has been there for a considerabletime now. Notably, these are disorders that affect both children,teenagers, and adults and they characterized by the inability toconcentrate, restlessness, impulsivity, disorganization,forgetfulness, and the failure to control one’s behavior inrelation to the environment one is in (Brown, 2014). There is nodoubt that every parent will be disturbed by such behavioral changesin a child and seek medical services. Research has demonstrated thatthese two conditions ADD and ADHD, have no permanent cure.Therefore, the medication that people receive is only meant to reducethe symptoms and not cure the disorder. Oftentimes, these disordersdisappear automatically as the brain continues to develop and,therefore, no treatment is required. There are two treatmentapproaches that doctors use. This is the use of stimulant drugs thataffect the production of dopamine in the brain and behavioraltherapy.
Thesis statement: Owing to the various side effects and the safetyconcerns associated with stimulant drugs, they must not be used totreat ADD or ADHD despite their quick exit from the body.
Numerous side effects associated with stimulants, and, therefore, itis essential for a patient to consider these aspects before embarkingon using the drugs. The side effects of these medications range frommild to severe, and some of them might have life-threatening effects.Stimulant drugs are known to cause sleeplessness, upset stomach,irritability, and dizziness (Stolzer, 2012). These are effects thatmay affect the normal operations and behaviors of a person. In thisregard, the stimulant drugs might be considered as beingcounterproductive. Further, some side effects such as racingheartbeat, headaches, restlessness, and depression might be lifethreatening. Research has shown that patients who might be havingheart-related problems can easily lose their lives when stimulantdrugs are administered. In addition, it is essential to note thatpeople who have had suicidal thoughts before can easily commitsuicide due to the depression and headache resulting from the use ofthese drugs. One of the symptoms of ADD or ADHD is restlessness.Interestingly, stimulant drugs tend to exacerbate this aspect and,therefore, their effectiveness in treating the disorders is in doubt.It has also been demonstrated that the drugs can cause some personalchanges to the users. Most of the people who use these drugs becomeless talkative, withdrawn, and rigid. These personal changes haveadverse effects on the individual’s ability to interact with his orher peers (Brown, 2014). This problem is worse when the patient is aschool-going child who cannot interact or play with the other kids.Numerous medical experts have asserted that stimulant drugs lead tohigh blood pressure and increased heartbeat rate. Since most of thesedrugs are used for long periods, medical experts are deeply concernedover the well-being of the users. There is no doubt these medicationshave many side effects some of which are life-threatening. Therefore,their use should be banned, and alternative treatment methods shouldbe sought.
The second argument against the use of stimulant drugs for thetreatment of ADD and ADHD relates to the diagnosis of thesedisorders. It is important to state that there are no formal tools ora diagnosis procedure that has been established to identify peoplewith this disorder. Patients are forced to rely on the personalopinion of the doctor (Stolzer, 2012). Oftentimes, it is possible forthe physician to make the wrong conclusions regarding the health ofthe patient. This may lead to the prescription of stimulant drugswhen they are indeed not required for the patient. This is adangerous step that could easily result in other healthcomplications. Stress at work, family, or pressure from school cancause symptoms that are similar to those of ADD and ADHD. Therefore,without the proper tools for diagnosis, the possibility of a doctorprescribing stimulant drugs unnecessarily is high. Considering thenumerous side effects discussed above, it is clear that the use ofstimulants should and must be avoided.
Despite their widespread use especially among the teenagers,stimulant drugs used for the treatment of ADD and ADHD have manysafety concerns. Extensive research has shown that adolescents andespecially college and university students tend to abuse these drugsdue to the effects that they have on their brains. This is becausethe drugs are known for sleeplessness, and learners use them to beable to cram their notes over the night (Brown, 2014). Further, thesedrugs are used by the young overweight teenagers as a means of weightloss. Even though there is no empirical evidence suggesting thatstimulant drugs lead to weight loss, some people assume that they canlead to weight reduction. In fact, one of their ling term sideeffects is extreme weight loss. However, it is essential to note thatthis is not the best approach to losing weight. Numerous studentsacross the United States tend to sell these stimulant drugs to theirfellow learners and parents, as well as the lecturers must bevigilant to avoid this illegal use of the drugs.
Stimulant drugs interfere with the production of dopamine in thebrain. They lead to heightened production of dopamine leading to asense of well-being, increased energy, alertness, and attention. Thispresents the danger of brain damage especially to young childrenwhose brains are still developing (Stolzer, 2012). Ritalin, which isone of the most common stimulant drugs that is used in the treatmentof ADD and ADHD has been identified as a leading cause of braindevelopment problems in children. Children whose brains fail todevelop fully might have to lead miserable lives where they cannotrely on themselves. This is a life threatening condition which shouldwarrant the ban on these types of drugs.
According to the American Heart Association, it is evident thatstimulant drugs cause heart problems. There is an immediate increasein the heartbeat rate after taking the drugs. The causes of emergencyvisits to hospitals have increased over the years due to the use ofthese stimulant drugs (Chang & Lichtenstein, 2014). The AmericanHeart Association has recommended that prior to the issuance and useof these drugs, patients must have a cardiac evaluation or anelectrocardiogram in case they have heart problems. This is a clearindication that the cost of using these drugs for treating thesedisorders is extremely high and lives can easily be lost in theprocess.
The peddlers of these drugs have argued that the stimulant drugs arenot addictive. However, research has indicated that the long time useof the drugs leads to a culture of dependency. Further, the bodydevelops tolerance, where small amounts of the stimulant drugs tendto have no effect. Therefore, patients are forced to increase thedosage gradually. Tolerance will easily lead to dependence andeventually to addiction (Brown, 2014). Patients tend to continuallyuse these drugs despite their adverse effects on their bodies. Due tothe fact that these drugs are addictive, people tend to havewithdrawal symptoms immediately after stopping their use. Thesesymptoms include irritability, inability to have pleasure, insomnia,hunger, and anxiety and can last up to four months. Therefore, thereis need to avoid the use of these drugs due to such dependencyelements and addiction.
While concluding, ADD and ADHD disorders are not treatable, and itis only their symptoms that can be treated. This means that when aperson starts using the stimulant drugs for treating the disorders,he or she becomes dependent on such drugs. The drugs have many sideeffects, some of which are life-threatening such as increasedheartbeat rate. Teenagers tend to abuse the drugs since they lead togreater energy and attention. Doctors have not yet found a formaldiagnostic tool for these disorders and, therefore, the possibilityof misdiagnosis is extremely high. Children who are subjected tothese drugs are at the greatest risk since their brain developmentprocess can easily be affected. They suffer from the side effectssuch as being rigid and preferring to stay alone. This can affect hisor her relationship with other learners, as well as the teachers.Interestingly, even the doctors who administer stimulant drugs topatients of ADD and ADHD are not sure of the safety of these forms ofmedication. It is essential for the government to ban these drugs andencourage people to resort to behavior therapy or wait for thesymptoms to disappear.
Brown, T. (2014). Atomoxetine and Stimulants in Combination forTreatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Four CaseReports. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology,Volume 14, Pp. 129–136.
Chang, Z. & Lichtenstein, P. (2014). Stimulant ADHD medicationand risk for substance abuse. Journal of Child PsychologyPsychiatry, Volume 55, Pp 878–885.
Stolzer, J. (2012).The Risks Associated With Stimulant Medication Usein Child and Adolescent Populations Diagnosed WithAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 14, Number 1, Pp 1-11.