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Study: Why do (some) college students misuse ADHD medication?

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The use of ADHD meds with­out a pre­scrip­tion, i.e., non­med­ical use, is a large and per­haps grow­ing prob­lem on col­lege cam­pus­es nation­wide. Although the per­cent of stu­dents who engage in non­med­ical use of ADHD meds varies wide­ly across dif­fer­ent schools, rates exceed­ing 30% have been report­ed at some cam­pus­es. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Can self-monitoring help promote academic success, and reduce ADHD symptoms, in college students with ADHD

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Col­lege stu­dents with ADHD are more like­ly to drop out than oth­er stu­dents, have low­er grade point aver­ages, and endorse more aca­d­e­m­ic dif­fi­cul­ties over­all.  Approx­i­mate­ly 25% of col­lege stu­dents with ADHD receive aca­d­e­m­ic accom­mo­da­tions, Read the rest of this entry »

Misuse & Abuse of ADHD Meds among college students: Updated review of a growing concern

amphetamine-moleculeThe mis­use and abuse of pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion is a grow­ing con­cern. I remem­ber speak­ing with col­leagues 15–20 years ago as reports about the non­med­ical use of stim­u­lant med­ica­tions used to treat ADHD (non­med­ical use is defined as use by indi­vid­u­als with­out a pre­scrip­tion) were first appear­ing in the media. At the time, these were gen­er­al­ly thought to be iso­lat­ed inci­dents that were being over-dra­ma­tized in the press. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Development in the first 20 years: A Child’s and Teenager’s Brain

(Editor’s Note: What fol­lows is an excerpt from Dr. Robert Sylwester’s new book, A Child’s Brain. The Need for Nur­ture (2010) Cor­win. In this excerpt, Robert Syl­west­er syn­the­sizes the first 20 years of devel­op­ment and shows how it can be viewed as a “rhyth­mic four-six-four-six-year devel­op­men­tal sequence”)

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Chap­ter 4: Devel­op­ment and Growth.

The First 20 years.

To sim­pli­fy a com­plex phe­nom­e­non, we can divide our 20-year devel­op­men­tal tra­jec­to­ry into two peri­ods of approx­i­mate­ly 10 years each. The devel­op­men­tal peri­od from birth to about age 10 focus­es on learn­ing how to be a human being – learn­ing to move, to com­mu­ni­cate, and to mas­ter basic social skills. The devel­op­men­tal peri­od from about 11 to 20 focus­es on learn­ing how to be a pro­duc­tive repro­duc­tive human being – plan­ning for a voca­tion, explor­ing emo­tion­al com­mit­ment and sex­u­al­i­ty, and achiev­ing auton­o­my.

The first four years of each of these two decade-long devel­op­ment peri­ods are char­ac­ter­ized by slow awk­ward begin­nings to a six-year nor­mal move toward con­fi­dence and com­pe­tence. For exam­ple, crawl­ing leads to tod­dling leads to walk­ing leads to run­ning and leap­ing.

We’ve designed our preschool, ele­men­tary school, mid­dles school, high school and ini­tial col­lege sys­tems around this rhyth­mic four-six-four-six-year devel­op­men­tal sequence. We tend to keep small chil­dren at home dur­ing their first four years to allow them to begin their devel­op­ment in a shel­tered fam­i­ly envi­ron­ment with­out state stan­dards and assess­ment pro­grams. They learn basic motor skills, how to talk, and how to get along with their fam­i­lies. In essence, they devel­op a basic under­stand­ing of how their shel­tered world works.

At about five years, we say, in effect, Read the rest of this entry »

Memory Problems? Perhaps you are Multi-tasking

Today’s kids are into mul­ti-task­ing. This is the gen­er­a­tion hooked on iPods, IM’ing, video games — not to men­tion TV! Many peo­ple in my gen­er­a­tion think it is won­der­ful that kids can do all these things simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and are impressed with their com­pe­tence.

Well, as a teacher of such kids when they reach col­lege, I am not impressed. Col­lege stu­dents these days have short atten­tion spans and have trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing. They got this way in sec­ondary school. I see this in the mid­dle-school out­reach pro­gram I help run. At this age kids are real­ly wrapped up in mul­ti-task­ing at the expense of focus.

Accord­ing to a Kaiser Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion study last year, school kids in all grades beyond the sec­ond grade com­mit­ted, on aver­age, more than six hours per day to TV or videos, music, video games, and com­put­ers. Almost one-third report­ed that “most of the time” they did their home­work while chat­ting on the phone, surf­ing the Web, send­ing instant mes­sages, watch­ing TV, or lis­ten­ing to music.

Kids think that this enter­tain­ment while study­ing helps their learn­ing. It prob­a­bly does make learn­ing less tedious, but it clear­ly makes learn­ing less effi­cient and less effec­tive. Mul­ti-task­ing vio­lates every­thing we know about how mem­o­ry works. Now we have objec­tive sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that Read the rest of this entry »

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