College students call ADHD drugs “Cognitive Steroid” while stay-at-home moms call it “Mother’s Little Helper”. Truth be told, neither really benefits from the medications and both are being duped into thinking they are more productive than they are by the drugs’ surge of dopamine production.

Why target students and moms? A recent study shows that college students have a stark increase in ADHD drug use with 1 in 5 stating that they use drugs to help them study and prepare for exams. Women, particularly mothers, between 26 – 39 years old, are the highest growing group to the tune of a 750% increase in use and misuse of ADHD drugs. Moms use it to get things done and stay awake throughout their day.

Both groups admit the drugs make them feel good and yes, they are addictive. But what many people don’t understand is that ADHD drugs will make anyone feel more alert and cranked up, so if you feel like you need a boost, it will give it to you, but at a cost. I was in school for 15 years (no I am not kidding) and I have 5 children (not kidding again), so I can totally relate to needing a cognitive.

Unfortunately, studies prove the drugs actually do not give you any true cognitive benefits, meaning they do not make you smarter or help your brain re-wire itself, they just increase alertness. And the costs, they are huge. We know this because it is proven by science. ADHD meds have short-term side effects of loss of appetite and increased anxiety and longer-term effects of seizures, paranoia, aggressive behaviors, tics, and heart problems.

Many professionals have argued that the short term gain of ADHD medications is not worth the long-term risks of its use. One professor wrote an article in the NY Times called “Ritalin Gone Wrong” in which he stated that ADHD medications have short term benefits that then require a continual boost in dosage to keep the effects coming in turn leading to addictions.

Addictions to ADHD medications have increased to the degree that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has deemed a “cause for alarm” for high school students because use has gone up 8.2% in recent years.

Many people report that they get the mediations because there are no other alternatives to help them. This simply is not true. Advancements in neuroscience and technology have made it so that now there are brain-based treatments that can address the underlying cause of ADHD, which is a neurologically dysregulated brain pattern. At Leigh Brain & Spine, I use qEEG Brain Mapping to identify those individuals that actually have a significant ADHD pattern and those that do not. For both groups there are treatments available, that do not use drugs. A drug-free option is available, right now, right here in your community.