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Biology 202, Spring 2005
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Ritalin Kids: A New Generation of Abuse

A Jordan

Our parents view Ritalin as a way to calm their overactive children, which doctors and psychiatrists simply hand out when they are approached with kid who is unable maintain an extended attention span. It considered "quick fix" by many adults, not potentially harmful, habit-forming drug. often unaware of the drug's dangers because great deal research has been ignored or kept quiet pharmaceutical companies promote sales (3). On other hand, college-aged high school students just another that can be taken recreationally. prescribed, illegal, people do see addiction "real issue; believe one cannot become "addicted comes from doctor office. harmful abused, need realize that. active ingredient in Ritalin, methlphenidate, was initially introduced Switzerland Germany 1954. drug, created Leandro Panizzon 1944, named" after his wife Marguerite, whom he called Rita (1). placed United States market 1956, classified light psycho stimulant (or central nervous system stimulant) same class amphetamines; pills were originally sold described new type "acts more carefully longer than caffeine amphetamines does involve habituation

Methlphenidate prescribed for ADHD/ADD, targets parts brain used attentiveness ability follow directions. also supposed aid decreasing hyperactivity aggressiveness (2). These psychotropic substances, primarily children help them extracurricular activities, include such drugs as: Dexadrine, Dextrostat, Adderall, Desoxyn, Gradumet, Cylert person should focused ingesting but adverse affects occur those have disorder take (4). normal dopamine (DA) pathway, transmitting neuron releases neurotransmitter dopamine, then binds receptors receiving neuron. This reception propagates action potential occurred, reuptake transporters (DATs) cell pump back into again. term" suggests, taken, initiates series chemical activities inside user (one without ADHD). Once bloodstream picked up carried brain, methylphenidate presynaptic neurons. binding blocks causing its levels rise within synapses. part nucleus accumbens contains large quantities" sensation emitted (5). reduces "background" firing neurons, allowing clearer signal transmitted through distractions (6). mental very similar cocaine, physical effects, makes abuse easily understandable. side effects include: increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, dry mouth, perspiration, appetite loss, insomnia, nervousness (8). consist strokes seizures well. There several deaths attributed (9). body slow, steady doses, simulates natural production. shown seems large, fast amounts rushed (7). Users reported feelings "superiority well accomplish short goals concentration emotional occurs desired affect among abusers, "caffeine-like jolt especially prevalent college campuses five at University Wisconsin admitted taking recreationally (without prescription) said helps get work done efficiently keeps awake study late night. primary issues surrounding availability. street purchase dealer alley could found own medicine cabinet; siblings friends prescriptions. most common ways abused orally crushing snorting them. known dissolve tablets water inject fluid themselves rates observed abuse, distribution now strictly controlled pharmacies, federal law prohibits including refills prescriptions, even allowed call orders physically altered prolonged, consciously command him/herself stop wanting number return long period time, develop tolerance. difficult treat individual, best so counseling. enough conduct studies effects. Clearly, quite few negative aspects prescription, question remains whether off prevent patients treated psychotherapy alone?


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