5 Things Parents Need to Know About Back to School & Mental Health
Mental health and substance use issues are just some of the topics that cause parents concern as the school year begins. Here’s how to help.
Many students are stressed out from academic pressure – AP classes, extracurricular activities, homework, college applications, and more. Some think that taking unprescribed stimulants (medications used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin and Adderall) – will help them with extra energy to study longer, cram for exams and improve their grades.
While prescription stimulants do promote wakefulness, studies have found that they do not enhance learning or thinking ability when taken by people who do not actually have ADHD. And taking these drugs without a prescription can lead to delirium, psychosis or heart failure.
What’s most troubling: Many students say it’s easy to get these unprescribed medications if they want them. Unfortunately, many parents have no idea this is happening.
Some college students are abusing prescription stimulants that are not prescribed to them:Students say they feel pressure to take unprescribed stimulants in order to stay competitive.
“When SATs rolled around, one of the number one questions was, ‘did you use Adderall?’”
“Everyone’s pretty open about it –- it’s not like it’s a ‘no-no’ drug.”— students featured in the film BREAKING POINTS
It’s often high-achieving kids at great high schools who are doing this.
“They feel like: ‘It’s a cheat or a be-cheated world. And if other people are doing it, I don’t want to be the one to lose out because the stakes are really high.'”— Denise Pope, Author of Overloaded and Underprepared, Challenge Success, Stanford
Host a screening of BREAKING POINTS, a documentary film that takes on the issue of study drugs and how they intersect with school stress. The package includes a Screening Guide with discussion questions and other bonus materials.