• Pill-Poppers: Abuse of “Uppers,” “Downers,” And Stimulants Threatens An Entire Generation

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    A new report shows that one in 50 Irish people is “pill popping” antibiotics every day. However, the drugs are not working in many cases because the symptoms are caused by a virus and they only work against bacteria. The antibiotics are prescribed mostly by family doctors, and do not include drugs given to hospital patients. The rate we are taking some of the drugs such as penicillin is on the rise, said the report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Commenting on the trends Prof Martin Cormican, Prof of Bacteriology at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway, said: “On any given day more than two out of every 100 are taking an antibiotic. In countries doing best the number is closer to one in every 100.

    Far from being recognized for their potential health hazards, ADHD drugs have gained a reputation as “cognition enhancers” among students and young professionals. Narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants are also notoriously overprescribed, which I'll address below.

    According to data from IMS Health, a whopping 48.4 million prescriptions for ADHD stimulants were written in 2011, up 39 percent from 2007. As reported by CNN Health:

    “Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students — who haven't been diagnosed with ADHD…

    The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and ‘elite' universities. Some researchers estimate about 30 percent of students use stimulants non-medically.

    ‘When we look at upperclassmen, the number really begins to jump,' says Alan DeSantis, professor of communications at the University of Kentucky who has conducted research on stimulant use in college. ‘The more time you stay …

    Almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed said financial worries were a key contributor to low mood; 43 per cent of respondents identified family issues, while 36 per cent said problems at work played a role. Only 8 per cent said ill health affected their mood. It comes a week after a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, in partnership with Simply Health, revealed that mental health problems and stress were rising among staff, as reduced workforces made heavier demands on their time. The number of organisations reporting an increase in workers suffering from mental illness has doubled over three years to 42 per cent. The report identified volume of work as the biggest cause of stress, followed by management style.

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