The pressures teenagers face to perform are intense. Without excellent grades, solid test scores, a host of extracurricular activities and volunteer experience, they face increasingly challenging college admissions and hiring processes. In their quest to succeed at all costs, many are seeking to put their health at risk for a chance to remain "ahead" of their peers in terms of performance by numbers. Unfortunately, too many physicians are willing to accommodate teens' request for stimulant medication to fuel this performance.
Physicians who prescribe stimulant medication to teens who do not have underlying conditions can face legitimate medical malpractice claims if the teens are harmed by these medications. According to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), kids, teens and young adults who take stimulant medication without underlying medical conditions face a greater likelihood of suffering from addiction and cardiovascular problems as a result.
In fact, the risks are so great that the AAN is currently urging physicians to cease completely the granting of stimulant medication prescriptions for students seeking to enhance their performance abilities alone. Of course students who suffer from conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may require these medications in order to function and these students should be allowed their prescriptions. However, students simply desiring a greater ability to pay attention and stay alert in order to study should not be given dangerous drugs in order to do so.
When healthy individuals are given medication simply to boost their cognitive or affective functions, they are engaging in Neuroenhancement. The consequences of this phenomenon can be devastating and should be avoided by patients and physicians alike.
Source: Amednews.com, "Neurologists warn of prescribing stimulants to youths seeking better grades," Christine S. Moyer, Mar. 18, 2013