Email this article to a friend
The Need For Regular Checkups For College Students
The need to see medicated college students on a regular basis was brought home to me as I saw a number of the college group the day after Thanksgiving. It was the first chance to catch up with many who are away from home, and they didn't seem to mind coming as long as it was after noon. I'll share my thoughts on the subject in this issue of the December NewsNote.
Let's set the stage. A student graduates from high school and is seen before leaving for college to discuss the use of medication. They have never been away, and will not have a parent to be sure the medication is used. Suddenly there is the new freedom that must be handled in addition to learning how to study, getting to class, and making new friends. In this setting the proper use of medication can be very difficult.
Given all the stresses, it's not surprising that problems can occur. Of course, ADD with its symptoms of distractibility, disorganization and procrastination, can be very disruptive if not controlled.
In my post Thanksgiving evaluation of eight college students, there were four with significant problems. Instead of presenting the cases, let me present the problems.
Jane was taking an inadequate dose of medication. The high school dose was not effective in college but she didn't tell anyone. She was doing poorly.
Rick had no system to call home when he needed medication. He ran out shortly before exams and did poorly.
Phil was working on a 1.8 GPA. He was partying, missing classes, and skipping his medication. His problems were significant, and without medication he was going to have a very hard time.
The students all needed help related to their ADD. I know prescribing doctors have varying follow-up plans, but in my experience it takes a 45-minute session to get a good up-to-date history and to have time to work out the various issues that the student is dealing with.
As a parent or therapist, I am sure you are dealing with college freshmen using medication. This group. as described, really needs to be followed in order to make sure they are doing well. If not seen more recently, Christmas vacation provides a good time for a follow up visit.