The American Academy of Neurology is issuing a warning about an alarming trend. More and more healthy children are using ADHD medications to help boost their attention in school.
"Because stimulant meds have been shown to be very effective improving attention span of children with ADHD, many high school students are using these drugs to try to do better academically," said Dr. Andrew Adesman of Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center.
The country's leading neurologists say healthy children should not be using memory enhancing drugs because their brains are still developing. There are also risks of becoming dependent on the drugs and over-medication.
ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and recent studies show it can continue into adulthood. Experts say getting the right diagnosis is key, so patients can get the right treatment.
There could be other problems underlying academic struggles including anxiety, depression and insomnia.
"Recognizing first of all that many children who have attention problems or behavior problems don't necessarily have ADHD," Adesman said.
If a student is having trouble in school, doctors say parents should first make sure their child is getting enough sleep, exercise and good nutrition.
The authors of the paper say doctors have a professional obligation to protect the best interests of a child and that prescribing mind enhancing drugs for healthy students is not justifiable.
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