Drugs are intended to help students to study faster and reach better performance in school and they are even encouraged by parents and teachers. A number of doctors willingly and intentionally prescribe the drugs to the students in an attempt to boost the quality of their studying. Even though doping in sports is criticized heavily and offenders are punished for using it, the use of study drugs is widely accepted. Why does society punish sports doping but allow academic doping?
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Use of doping in sports leads to increased performance and better results. Drugs have been used by athletes since ancient times. What is the reason for using them? There are a number of reasons why athletes use drugs. That may be desire to succeed, thinking that their competitors also use drugs, pressure from family members or governments, incentive to a financial reward for good performance, expectations from people and others (The History of Drugs in Sport). The International Convention against Doping in Sport and the International Olympic Committee enforced anti-doping laws that lead to disqualifications because of use of steroid in sports.
There are common drugs in the market known as under the names Adderall, Ritalin and others. What is their origin and designation? Adderall is a brain stimulant, which is made of mixed amphetamine salts. It is prescribed, as a rule, for adults and children who have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Recently, Adderall and Ritalin, which is another brain stimulant, have been introduced as the means to enhance cognitive function. Overcommitted people use these drugs for increasing functioning and performance (Margaret Talbot, 2009).
According to The Lancet (Butcher J., 2003) “doping” does no any longer belong to the exclusive world of sports professionals. The use of drugs for enhancement of performance has increased dramatically and spread to education. The British medical journal made an investigation of this fact and reported that students, who are competitive in their studies, began to use Ritalin and other stimulatory drugs to become more successful in what they do.
Presently, academic enhancement is a nationwide trend that propels students to increase their cognitive enhancement with the help of drugs. It appears that this trend was initiated by parents who wanted to improve the academic performance of their children. They began to put them on Ritalin even when they were not diagnosed with ADHD (Block Will, 2003).
What do physicians have to say about this issue? A class of drugs called stimulants or psychostimulants was developed for treatment of ADHD. They have been used for several decades and proved their effectiveness. The stimulants help people with ADHD to concentrate thinking and get rid of distractions. Those medications are effective in 70% to 80% cases (Patricia Quinn, 2012). They are used for treatment of both moderate and severe ADHD. The drugs are very helpful for all ages: adults, adolescents, and children if they have ADHD symptoms at work or at school.
Doctors also confirmed that brain stimulants affect the brain since dopamine level has to be continuously increased. Stimulants produce their therapeutic effect by slow and steady increases of dopamine (brain chemical). The doses that are prescribed by doctors begin at low levels and increase gradually to reach a therapeutic effect. However, if stimulants are taken in doses other than those prescribed, they increase brain dopamine in an amplified manner, as regular drugs, and disrupt normal brain activity, producing euphoria, and increasing the risk of addiction (Drug Facts: Stimulant ADHD Medications - Methylphenidate and Amphetamines).
Brain stimulants can increase heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and reduce appetite and sleep. It can lead to the problem of malnutrition and may bring negative consequences. Regular use of brain stimulants may develop feelings of hostility and paranoia. When used in high doses, they can produce grave cardiovascular complications and may cause stroke.
As can be seen from the practice, while drugs are outlawed in sports, brain stimulants are legal. They can be very helpful in cases when people (especially children) have ADHD symptoms. However, with the trend for better academic performance that is popular in the society now, brain stimulants may pose a serious problem for those who abuse them. Unjustified use of drugs may lead to addiction and severe health problems.