Newest Epidemic: Misdiagnosis and Misuse of Antianxiety and ADHD Medicines

Newest Epidemic: Misdiagnosis and Misuse of Antianxiety and ADHD Medicines

Misdiagnosis and misuse of ADHD medicationADHD and anxiety medications should not be prescribed without proper diagnosis justification and therapy to develop tools for dealing with ADHD or anxiety issues and causes. Medication is not a cure, and misdiagnosis or misuse of medication could be costly.

ADHD medications including stimulants such as methylphenidate (brand names, Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin), and amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse) are part of a misdiagnosis and misuse in epic proportions and parents are helping to create the problem.

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Anxiety and panic disorder medications (i.e. Xanax, Clonazapam and Valium) are also part of the misdiagnosis and misused in epic proportions. Proper diagnosis and Therapeutic modalities should be a part of treatment if these drugs are to be prescribed and we are to mitigate the number of people becoming addicted to these drugs.

These medications, Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse) etc.can be effective if used properly for those who truly have ADHD, however the majority of people using Adderall type drugs these days are using them as focus enhancers or as a stimulants like speed. They can be crushed and snorted and are commonly used off label for everything from taking tests in School to staying awake while partying and to stay alert while taking other downer drugs such as alcohol or opioids.

While stimulants are less addictive than some other drugs, they are still addictive and dangerous when used in the wrong way, especially when combined with downers.

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Benzodiazepines on the other hand are highly addictive and dangerous when misused.

Some of the ways that stimulants are used in a dangerous way is when combined with respiratory depressants such as opioids or alcohol. This combination keeps the user awake and aware while being even more intoxicated than the body would normally allow.

Many patients taking the Adderall class of drugs are also taking Benzodiazepines, a respiratory depressant and muscle relaxant.

The up and down effects of this combination not only makes the user more dangerous in public such as drunk driving or aggressive behavior but it can kill due to heart attack.

Even if use of these drugs don’t show their adverse effects in the short term, these drugs can cause long term permanent heart and or brain damage.

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People take (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse) etc.) as stimulants and then complain that they have anxiety. Patients then want to take benzos like Xanax, Clonazapam or Valium to alleviate the consequential anxiety or panic attacks. This really makes no sense.

Large numbers of people have trouble concentrating but have no ADD or ADHD and many people rightly have anxiety but no real panic disorder. If someone is taking (speed, stimulants or Amphetamines) legitimately for ADHD then they generally will not have the anxiety side effects from that medication when taken as directed. However, of course patients will have anxiety issues when taking these medications improperly such as snorting or for off label purposes without actually having ADHD.

The solution to normal anxiety is not a Benzodiazepine, it is therapy to help get to the core of the anxiety. Benzodiazepines are an even worse problem than the ADHD medications since they are respiratory depressants and react very badly when combined with alcohol or other medications. These highly addictive Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Clonazapam and Valium etc. are commonly used by teenagers and adults as a party drug or as a way of relaxing or decreasing perceived anxiety in their lives. Addiction to Benzodiazepines and the sudden discontinuation and resulting withdrawal can be life threatening.

If a person has trouble concentrating but has no real ADD or ADHD then they will do better getting to the cause of the lack of concentration and via therapy, find tools to help them develop that coping skill. If they are having problems with anxiety and do not have true panic disorder, then the proper way to deal with it is again, to develop the tools to avoid or handle life’s stressors.

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Just medicating the problem does not fix it like an antibiotic helps an infection, it just masks the issue and allows it to get worse while slowly dragging the user down into addiction.

If Adderall or a Benzodiazepine is being used, there should absolutely be therapy given in conjunction to help the person get away from the permanent dependance on these drugs and learn the coping skills to get through the issues in a healthy and maintainable way.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) can be very successful in these cases.

Parents can be very much at fault in the enabling of abuse of these medications by their children because they succumb to the pressures of having the child do well in school with testing and grades as well as attempting to deal with the stressors of being in school. Parents and children will pressure their Dr (also at fault) to give them or their kids these medications even when they are not properly diagnosed with ADHD, General Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder.

This mindset sets the child up for future drug abuse and possible addiction by medicating symptoms without addressing the causes. These drugs should only be given when therapy has failed to produce adequate results and if these medications are given, they should only be in combination with therapy with the intent of eventually developing life skills to deal with the issues instead of masking the issues with the medications.


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