Being a teen is already hard as it is, not to mention another striking issue: that nowadays, teenagers are facing the world only by the extensive use of sleep and anti-anxiety drugs. according to recent studies.
For instance, the online journal Nov. 24 Psychology of Addictive Behaviors states that teeangers who are prescribed sleep and anti-anxiety drugs could be more than 10 – 12 times inclined to abuse such medications, as compared to those who were never been prescribed such a treatment. Also, this led to a 3 percent of American teens who use them, according to a 2011 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The researchers surveyed online more than 2,700 middle and high school students from Detroit area, twice a year between 2009 and 2012. Out of the 9 percent who were being prescribed an anti-anxiety medication (Xanax, Valium or Klonopin), or a sleep medication (Ambien, Lunesta or Restoril), and stopped taking them before the three-year study, some developed by 12 times stronger side effects such as using somebody else’s drugs illegally, especially when it came to anti-anxiety drugs – due to euphoric effects.
Carol J. Boyd, lead researcher and professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing stated in a news release that “This is a wake-up call to the medical community as far as the risks involved in prescribing these medications to young people”, especially when they mix them up with alcohol or take too many, thus becoming fatal, the side effects varying from impaired driving to developing drugs abuse disorders or criminal activity.
In terms of gender or race, the study concentrated on even halves of students, boys and girls, with the average age of 14 at the beginning of the study. 65 % of them were Caucasian, 29 % African-American and 6 % other races (Asian, Hispanic, Indian or Alaskan Native). 80% came from educated families, having at least one parent with a college or graduate degree. The conclusion was that females and white students were almost twice as likely as males and African-American students to use anti-anxiety or sleep medication illegally.
“Prescribers and parents don’t realize the abuse potential,” concluded lead researcher Carol Boyd, signaling that the drugs can produce “highly attractive sensations, and adolescents may start seeking the drugs after their prescriptions run out.”
The study may be seen as a highly concerning report on the rate of teens lost in the changes of their new life, ready to face the real world only by the help of the most powerful drugs, in a society more and more inclined to decline the emotional helping of others.