Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Madness - and Mid-terms Maladies

I love alliteration, can you tell?  And maybe it's not so much Mid-term Maladies as it is your mad teen and malevolent drugs.  Why drugs in the same sentence as mid-terms?  A lot of kids have trouble budgeting their time, or taking on too much, and then running out of time to study and/or complete papers and projects.  
What do they do if they run out of time?  In high school they may get docked a grade point for being late or may be able to ask for extra time or even get extra credit assignments  -- to show they've learned it.  However, in college there's usually no allowance for late work, no pleading for extra time, no "make up" lessons or extra credit assignments.  Kids resort to what we did in our day -- drugs to stay awake.   
Their drug of choice could be caffeine in its many forms:  coffee, tea, soft drinks, "energy" drinks, power drinks, espresso beans, even caffeine pills, and so forth.  We've all seen over-caffeinated students, and rolled our eyes.  
But what about other drugs?  In my day it was Dexamyl or Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine)-- appetite curbin diet pills, also used to stay awake.  I got mine from my father, who was a traveling salesman and needed help staying awake on business trips.  Others got them from people with drug  prescriptions for dieting. Still others got theirs from drug dealers. You'll notice that it has "amphetamine" at the end.  It is in that class of drugs.
Free The Person A Tablet Stock Photos - 4461953And it's no different today.  Kids get Adderall from drug dealers, often in their college dorm.  Others get Adderall from kids who've been prescribed it for ADD and are re-selling it to their friends.  Clearly this is risky behavior.  We know more about drugs and their side affects or addictive potential.  If kids are only taking these drugs at mid-term and finals times, then they'll probably be okay.  But if they continue to use these drugs more frequently, like once a week instead of twice a term, then there is more risk of addiction or health damage.

So what can you do about this as a parent?  I'm not sure there is much you can do.  You've already given your teen the drug lecture, along with the drug education they've received in elementary, middle, and high school.  But when dealing with eighteen year olds --  now young adults -- what can you do that will be both supportive and get through to them?  

1)  You can tell they about your own experiences -- which may or may not have an effect, but at least you're being honest about your own drug use (prescription on non), or no drug use and why you made that decision.  The important thing here is to be honest and open a discussion.
Concept of depression: text graphics - stock photo
2)  You could give the doom and gloom talk -- about how hard it would be for family and friends to survive a worst case scenario.  Short term drug use as a study aid may not pose huge risks, but there's that one case of the teen thinking he or she can fly and jumping off the 3rd floor.  There are drug and alcohol related auto accidents -- not always the teen's fault, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or out of control doesn't help.  There are life-changing injuries.  There are teens dropping out of college because of mental or emotional instability (aided or enhanced by drug use or lack of sleep?)  

3)  The most important thing for me to communicate to my teen is that no matter what she does, has done, or will do -- my love is unconditional.  I will love her NO MATTER WHAT.  She needs to know that she can call me any time day or night -- and I made the same offer to her friends -- and I will drop everything and come to her or their aid.  They have to know how much they are loved and supported and cared for.

Yes, your beloved child isn't a child anymore, but he or she is still yours and needs you and your support.  Sometimes texting is enough for them. Not for me, sigh.  But I'll take what I can get, as long as I can keep our communication lines -- whatever they are -- open.


Tags:  teens, drugs, Adderall, Dexedrine, Dexamyl, Dextroamphetamine, study, mid-terms, college, lecture, help, love, support, fear, hope

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