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ADHD Drug Overdoses Rising Among American Children

ADHD Drug Overdoses Rising Among American Children

Why are more kids than ever before overdosing on ADHD drugs in America?

Did you know that the number of U.S. children unnecessarily exposed to powerful medications meant to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has gone through the roof over the past few years? In fact, over a 15-year period, unnecessary exposure to ADHD drugs has increased by more than 60% according to reports!

Study on ADHD Drug Exposure

Recently there was a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on ADHD drug exposure and reports to poison control centers indicate:

  • In the year 2000, there were 7,018 calls to poison control centers related to an ADHD drug
  • In 2014, there were 11,486 calls to poison control centers related to an ADHD drug

The study defines “exposure” to an ADHD drug as “unnecessary ingestions, inhalation or absorption” of ADHD medications. This includes when the exposure to the drug is both accidental and on purpose.

The study examined data from approximately 156,000 poison center calls made over the course of 15 years. Another disturbing aspect of the data they collected showed:

  • 82% of the calls were “unintentional exposure”
  • 18% were “intentional exposure”

When taking a closer look at the ADHD drug exposure statistics, the researchers focused in on four of the most common medications used to treat ADHD, including:

Ritalin was the ADHD drug with the highest number of exposures.

One of the lead authors of the study is Dr. Gary Smith. When discussing the conclusions made during the study, Smith states:

“What we found is that, overall, during that 15 years, there was about a 60% increase in the number of individuals exposed and calls reported to poison control centers regarding these medications.”

Smith also concludes that one of the more troublesome findings in the study is the severity of the exposures among the adolescents due to intentional exposure. So essentially, 18% of the calls coming into poison centers concerning an ADHD drug were due to kids taking the medications on purpose.

The study also compared these medications across three different age groups:

  • 0-5 years
  • 6-12 years
  • 13-19 years

In the 0-5 year age group, they discovered that unintentional exposure was due to “exploratory behaviors”. However, with children 6-12 years old, exposure was due to:

  • “Therapeutic errors”
  • “Accidentally taking multiple pills”

Sadly, among the group 13-19 years old, more than 50% of exposures to an ADHD drug were intentional. Researchers note that many teenagers will use these stimulants because.

Even worse is, of all the poison center calls, around 10% resulted in a serious medical outcome. 10% may not seem like a lot, in regards to poisoning from medications any number is too many.

Ups and Downs

Smith did note that there were some ups and downs in the trends concerning ADHD and complications from the medications. For instance, the study notes:

  • Between 2000 and 2011- ADHD drug exposures increased by 71%
  • Between 2011 and 2014- ADHD drug exposures dropped by 6.2%

It is unclear why there was this decrease in ADHD drug exposure rates. However, some believe it may be due to the fact that warnings from the FDA about the adverse side-effects of ADHD medications could play a big part in it.

Another thing that stands out about this study is that we have also seen a steady increase in the rate of ADHD diagnosis.  Case in point, according to new reports:

  • 14% of all American children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2014
  • Between 2005 and 2014 the number of ADHD diagnoses more than doubled

While it is important to note that these medications can be helpful for some, they can also be extremely dangerous. According to Dr. Benjamin Shain of NorthShore University HealthSystem and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine,

“Adverse effects of taking too much stimulant medication include fast heart rate, increased blood pressure, tremors, and agitation. Worse case scenarios include schizophrenic-like psychosis, heart attack, stroke, seizures and death,”

Shain adds that adverse effects are the same if you do or do not have ADHD, or if you take too much of the medication. So people who are prescribed an ADHD drug still run the risk of suffering through some of these side-effects.

Making Safer Choices

At the end of the day, it is all about making safer choices for yourself or your loved one. When it comes to treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, there are other important elements. Various therapies can be helpful in creating a more comprehensive treatment plan, such as:

Ironically, these same therapies are also extremely helpful for those who may find themselves abusing these kinds of prescription medications. People suffering from substance use disorder can benefit greatly from these opportunities.

Because these ADHD drugs are stimulants, they also have a tendency to be abused. Either by those with a medical prescription who use too much of the drug or by those with no medical need who use them for the feelings of energy and focus they get. Again, in the case of prescription stimulant abuse, the beginning of a path to recovery means making safer choices. One of the best choices you can make is to seek professional and effective treatment options.

Palm Partners Recovery Center believes in providing innovative and personalized treatment options to anyone battling with substance abuse or addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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How Young is Too Young for ADHD Medication?

How Young is Too Young for ADHD Medication?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

A new report states that more than 10,000 American toddlers ages 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which leads many experts to question if giving toddlers this kind of medication is safe. According to pediatric guidelines, ADHD medication like Ritalin and Adderall should not be given to children before the age of 4.

There has always been wide criticism of prescribing ADHD medication in young children. Typically, children in their earliest stages of life tend to be full of energy, very curious and adventurous. Diagnosing toddlers at such a young age is controversial due to the fact that it is hard to tell if the child’s behavior is an actual condition or just a part of growing up.

For now, we still do not know for sure if these medications provide any real benefit at such a young age. What we do know, however, is that medications like ADHD can have serious side effects. They interfere with sleep and suppress appetite.  Because toddlers typically need large amounts of sleep for proper development, giving medication that promotes an irregular sleep schedule can be incredibly problematic.

The report also discovered that toddlers who were covered by Medicaid insurance were especially prone to be put on medication like Ritalin and Adderall. They were also the most likely to be diagnosed with ADHD below the age of 4.  The data was presented at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and several outside experts strongly criticized the use of ADHD medication in children that young.

Even more concerning, the Academy of Pediatric does not even address the diagnosis of ADHD in children under 3 years old, let alone even mention the use of stimulant medications for children this young. The safety and effectiveness of these drugs have barely been explored in that age group.

“It’s absolutely shocking, and it shouldn’t be happening,” said Anita Zervigon-Hakes, a children’s mental health consultant to the Carter Center. “People are just feeling around in the dark. We obviously don’t have our act together for little children.”

This is not the first time ADHD diagnoses for children this young were criticized. Last year, a nationwide C.D.C. survey found that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have received a diagnosis of this disorder and one and five will get one during childhood.

The most commonly prescribed medications are Ritalin or Amphetamines. While these drugs may calm a child’s hyperactivity and impulsivity, it also carries the risk of growth suppression, insomnia and hallucinations.

Furthermore, very few scientific studies have examined the use of stimulant medications in young children. One study conducted in 2006 found that ADHD medications could reduce hyperactive symptoms in children however that study only studied about a dozen 3-year-olds and no 2-year-old. Also, the research was sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, had significant financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that made ADHD medications.

Still, many doctors stated that they understood using stimulant medication in toddlers under rare circumstances. There are often cases in which nothing would calm a toddler down who was harm to himself or others. as stated by Keith Conners, a psychologist and professor at Duke University.

While there are some extreme cases that stimulants may be beneficial for, Dr. Doris Greenberg, a behavioral pediatrician in Savannah, Ga., who also attended the presentation, is certain that there should not be 10,000 such cases in the United States per year.

“Some of these kids are having really legitimate problems,” Dr. Greenberg said. “But you also have overwhelmed parents who can’t cope and the doctor prescribes as a knee-jerk reaction. You have children with depression or anxiety who can present the same way, and these medications can just make those problems worse.”

In the presentation, many doctors suggested that children could be suffering from anxiety symptoms that are not being addressed in the right manner. Rather, parents are going to their doctors out of desperation to find some sort of solution. While, ADHD medication may be useful in some cases, more often than not, other options should be explored?

What do you think? Is it safe to prescribe drugs like this to children at such an early age? Ultimately, it is up to the parent of these children to make that personal decision. With all the media focus on prescription drugs, it would be advisable to take caution and become informed when making decisions involving taking drugs like this for long periods of time. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD

ADHD better known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a well-known disorder in children and is associated with childhood developmental problems. ADHD is defined by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Adult ADHD is defined by similar symptoms. Adult ADHD is categorized by having difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. Adult ADHD can cause serious behavioral, emotional, social, vocational and academic programs for those who suffer from it.

Some of the signs that you may have adult ADHD include:

  • Chronic lateness and forgetfulness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Employment problems.
  • Difficulty controlling anger.
  • Impulsiveness.
  • Substance abuse or addiction.
  • Poor organization skills.
  • Procrastination.
  • Low frustration tolerance.
  • Chronic boredom.
  • Difficulty concentrating when reading.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Relationship problems.

The signs of adult ADHD can vary in severity and can range from mild to debilitating. For instance, some adults with ADHD can concentrate if they are interested or excited about what they are doing. Other adults with ADHD may have difficulty focusing if they are under any other kind of circumstances. Some adults with ADHD search out stimulation but then again others avoid it. Adult ADHD can cause some people to become withdrawn and antisocial or overly social and unable to be alone.

Some of the ways to know if someone has adult ADHD is to look at their childhood and how they did in school. Some people with adult ADHD will have had or do have:

  • Had a history of poorer educational performance and were underachievers.
  • Had more frequent school disciplinary actions.
  • Had to repeat a grade.
  • Dropped out of school more often.

Adult ADHD can also cause a lot of work related impairments in the present day. For instance those with adult ADHD change employers often and perform poorly and they probably have fewer job achievements.

Some social problems that may come up with adult ADHD are driving violations such as speeding, lower economic status, use of illegal substance, smoking cigarettes, and psychological maladjustment. Those with adult ADHD in their relationships have signs too. These signs of adult ADHD in relationships for example are; they have more marital problems or multiple marriages and have a higher incidence of separation and divorce.

Adult ADHD can be treated with medication and behavioral therapy. For instance many people with adult ADHD are prescribed drugs such as Adderall XR, Concerta, Focalin, XR, and Vyvanse. All of these medications are stimulants. There is one medication for adult ADHD that is not a stimulant, known as Strattera and it is approved by the FDA for the treatment of adult ADHD.

  • Some behavioral treatments for adult ADHD include:
  • Behavioral and cognitive therapy to help with self-esteem
  • Relaxation training and stress management
  • Job coaching or mentoring to support better working relationships and on the job performance
  • Family education and therapy

Adult ADHD is usually accompanied by other conditions such as anxiety, mood disorders, learning disabilities and OCD. Therefore if you think you may have adult ADHD is probably best to talk to a doctor or therapist and get an in depth assessment to see what kind of therapy and treatment is necessary for you.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for their Substance Addiction and Adult ADHD please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

In The News: Drug Free ADHD Therapy

The newest ADHD therapy is in the form of a video game. Great, another distraction for our kids, right? Actually, no – Interactive Metronome is made specifically for children with ADHD. It can also be used for people with depression, autism and other behavioral problems.

Interactive Metronome Therapy for ADHD – In Interactive Metronome children play interactive games that focus on improving their brain timing and movement coordination. “The program tries to improve that brain timing and rhythm through a computer program. Patients hear a tone and have to clap their hands or tap their foot to match the beat. The screen gives instant feedback on how well they are keeping up. As their coordination improves, so does their concentration”.

Other ADHD Therapies

Behavioral Therapy – Creating a set schedule can also help improve consistency and attention in people with ADHD. Do the same thing and the same time every day – schedule wake up, shower, breakfast, lunch, dinner, play, school, homework, and sleep time at the exact time every day. Organize and keep things in the same place to avoid confusion.

Psychotherapy is effective for the treatment of the symptoms related to ADHD because it addresses behavior modification. Children and adults with ADHD have a difficult time regulating their emotional and behavioral response to situations. In ADHD psychotherapy people learning effective coping strategies to gain control over their symptoms. Therapists also help people design a plan for organization and prioritization, key areas of difficulty for those with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. ADHD affects about 3 – 5% of school aged children and is diagnosed more often in boys than in girls.

ADHD may run in families, but it is not clear exactly what causes it. Whatever the cause may be, it seems to be set in motion early in life as the brain is developing. Imaging studies suggest that the brains of children with ADHD are different from those of other children. Most children with ADHD also have at least one other developmental or behavioral problem. They may also have a psychiatric problem, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Depression, lack of sleep, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and behavior problems may be confused with, or appear with, ADHD. Every child suspected of having ADHD should be carefully examined by a doctor to rule out possible other conditions or reasons for the behavior.

ADHD Medications

Adderall, Focalin, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Vyvanse, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana and Ritalin are all different forms of medication commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These psychostimulants stimulate the central nervous system to “calm” someone with ADHD down. Methylphenidate drugs, like Ritalin, are the most commonly used psychostimulants for treating ADHD in both children and adults. As with every medication out there, ADHD has some bad side effects and death has occurred from taking them.

The big problem is that children as young as 4, can be put on ADHD medication. Parents are concerned, and rightfully so, that their child will start to depend on the medication and at some point become hooked. This case has proven true, especially in academia. Adolescents are selling Ritalin and Adderall are on middle school, high school and college campuses to help focus and do well in school. The pressure to succeed and make good grades pushes many good meaning kids to develop a drug habit for prescription pills. Other ADHD therapies must be available to help prevent addiction to prescription pills from developing early on. Luckily, those therapies do exist and parents have options. I’d like to see more variations of therapies available as fast as we see new medications being developed. We need to have a fair amount of different options for higher success rates.


If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol treatment, call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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