By Michael Mandeville ’11
When pressure builds and the books stack higher and higher, it seems inevitable for students to fall behind somewhere.
Maintaining sanity and the best possible grades is almost beyond some students.
Brophy’s workload can sometimes seem nearly impossible and for some it seems that every year teachers expect more and more.
But this is not unique to Brophy.
The Web site Edutopia.org took a poll of nearly 3,000 people, and 70 percent of the participants noticed or felt an increase in work over the years for high school students.
This is all while more students have been diagnosed with attention disorders like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder).
Though first only considered ADD, doctors recently coined the phrase ADHD as a newer, more developed term.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4.5 million children from ages 5-17 were diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD and ADD are both considered to be neurobehavioral disorders involving attention and concentration, but ADHD involves hyperactivity or irregular behavior as well as the other symptoms.
As a result of both, the likely form of treatment is the prescription of stimulant drugs, the most common being Adderall and Ritalin, according to WebMD.com.
The use of either of these drugs essentially stimulates the mind allowing an individual to concentrate without distraction.
PBS, citing an IMS America report, stated that 11 million prescriptions were written in 2004; 7 million for Adderall alone.
Considering that, a report on Health.com stated that between 2002 and 2005 the amount of people diagnosed with ADHD or ADD increased by 90 percent.
With the rise in the diagnosis of these two disorders, a rise in prescription takes place.
Just how easy is it to get these drugs?
While concrete evidence is difficult to come across, Jeff Bussey ’11, who has been diagnosed with ADD for the past six years, said it isn’t hard.
“Psychiatrists are fairly easy to convince and I’ve felt it gets simpler over the years,” Bussey said. “They, well at least mine, will essentially prescribe very liberally.”
Not to say he takes advantage of the conditions, but Bussey said he is convinced he could get just about any prescription he wanted as long as he convincingly showed symptoms of any given disorder, real or not.
Aside from legitimate prescriptions, problems with the illegal distribution of these drugs have increased.
Use of the stimulant Ritalin without prescription has increased, according to the University of Michigan’s annual “Monitoring the Future” report.
Between the late 1980s and the late 1990s illegal use rose from 0.3 percent to 2.4 percent.
ADHD and ADD continue to be problems for some students though, but there still are alternate treatments besides stimulant drugs.
Brophy counselor Ms. Karen Parise suggested prescriptions should be handled carefully.
“I won’t ever recommend medication without a proper psycho educational evaluation by a psychologist,” Parise said. “It measures an individual’s intellectual abilities as well as their computing processing; a four hour test.”
She suggested that depending on the severity of the problem, students can work with behavioral treatment, but sometimes both medication and behavioral are used together.
There are potentially dangerous side effects like weight loss and mood swings, but if properly tested and treated, ADHD and ADD can be aided safely with medication.