REPORT: More healthy children taking ADHD drugs to do well on tests

Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-13 18:46:47-04

(CBS News) -- The American Academy of Neurology is issuing a warning about an alarming new trend. More and more children who don't have the disorder are using ADHD
medications to boost their attention in school.

"Because stimulant meds have been shown to be very effective improving
attention span of children with ADHD, many high school and especially college
students are using these drugs illicitly," said Dr. Andrew Adesman, with the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center.

The country's leading neurologists say healthy children should not be using
memory enhancing drugs because their brains are still developing. There are
also risks of becoming dependent on the drugs and over-medication.

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and recent studies show
it can continue into adulthood. Experts say getting the right diagnosis is
key, so patients can get the right treatment.

"Many children who have attention problems or behavior problems don't necessarily have ADHD," said Adesman.

If a student is having trouble in school, doctors say parents should first
make sure their child is getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition.