Study: 1 in 8 teens misusing Adderall for weight loss - WNEM TV 5

Study: 1 in 8 teens misusing Adderall for weight loss

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

Adderall is a very powerful prescription drug with side effects that some celebrities and teens love.

The drug is supposed to be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it's not always used for its intended purpose.

When Nicole Bjorklund was just 10 years old her parents started to notice she was having a lot of trouble at school.

"I was experiencing speaking out of turn in class, getting up in the middle of class, apparently. I'd talk very fast, constantly fidgeting. Homework was crying every night, spending hours and hours trying to get basic stuff that everybody else was understanding but I wasn't," Bjorklund said.

She was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall.

"The improvement in my grades happened almost immediately," Bjorklund said.

She also immediately saw some unwanted side effects.

"I was also losing a lot of weight. I became very skinny, I lost almost all my baby weight and then some, so my cheeks were sunken in. You could see my rib cage. Even though I was trying to eat constantly, I just wasn't hungry," Bjorklund said.

For Bjorklund, it was an unintentional issue she didn't want, but for many teens, it's the reason they go after Adderall in the first place.

A new study found many teens are addicted to Adderall and Ritalin. One in eight teens reported misusing the drug to lose weight.

"So many girls feel they need to look like their favorite actress or musician, and we try to teach them they don't need to look like what they see on TV or in movies or magazines. They should feel confident in who they are," Girls on the Run Executive Director Meagan Kukowski said.

"Girls on the Run is a nonprofit positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to develop a healthy lifestyle and self-respect in preteen girls," Kukowski said.

Kukowski said girls with body image issues get younger and younger each year and stressed how important it is for parents to be involved.

"Talk to your daughter, ask questions. Try to delve into why this might be happening, and, if needed, seek the support of a professional as well," Kukowski said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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