Use of ADHD drugs soars by more than 50% in six years
Doctors are warned to monitor use of Ritalin and similar drugs
The use of prescription drugs designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder sufferers has soared by more than 50 per cent in six years, new figures have shown.
The amount of prescriptions made for methylphenidate drugs such as Ritalin have been steadily increasing, according to the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) annual report on controlled drugs.
Methylphenidate is considered to be a psychostimulant and is thought to stimulate a part of the brain that changes mental and behavioural reactions.
In 2007, GPs in England wrote 420,000 prescriptions for such medication, but by 2012 the figure had leapt to 657,000 - a rise of 56 per cent.
Officials at the watchdog advised health workers to "carefully monitor" the drugs because they have a potential for "diversion or misuse".
Drugs such as Ritalin are associated with the "smart-drug craze", where students use the medication to improve their concentration when studying and to fight off tiredness.
As many as one in 10 UK students could be taking "cognitive enhancing" drugs such as ritalin, according to research.
The CQC report says the number of prescriptions for such medications rose by 11 per cent between 2011 and 2012.
"As in previous years, we believe that this reflects increased diagnosis of, and prescribing for, the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)," the CQC report states.
"We are also aware of the possibility that methylphenidate could be diverted and abused, and for this reason we recommend that its use should be monitored carefully.
"We are aware of reports in the media and scientific literature that it is being abused as a 'smart' drug to improve cognitive function; the long-term risks of this practice are not known."
ADHD sufferers often show symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Behaviour such as this is usually apparent at an early age and it is normally diagnosed between the ages of three and seven.
It is estimated the condition affects 2 per cent to 5 per cent of school-aged children and young people, although it can continue into adulthood.
educationTo mark International Women's Day, Sarah Brown on how charities have brought proper joined-up thinking to the delivery of education
South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
Lammily: Barbie-like doll hits Kickstarter fundraising target in a day
Belle Knox: How a porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared South African athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to shoot himself
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 First clip of Outkast's Andre 3000 in Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side emerges
£1200 per month: Inspiring Interns: Our client is one of Europes leading mobi...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Founded in 2008 by two Chinese tech entre...
£12000 - £18000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a high-end niche t...
£22000 - £25000 per annum, Benefits: Subsidised gym membership, 25 days holiday...