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Friday, May 31, 2013

ADHD Medication Substance Abuse

It is no secret that ADHD drugs have the potential for abuse especially amongst college students who use drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to help with studying. In many cases, the aforementioned drugs are prescribed to children to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While it may seem like the practice of prescribing ADHD medications to children may lead to substance abuse problems, new research has shown that it does not affect the risk of substance abuse later in life.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, compiled 15 previous studies on ADHD medication use in childhood and later risk of substance abuse. The work was published in JAMA Psychiatry. In fact, earlier reports had shown that children who took ADHD drugs had a reduced risk of substance abuse, The New York Times reports.

About one in five boys of high school age, and 11 percent of school-age children overall, were diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is estimated that 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 had an ADHD diagnosis at some point. The numbers point to a 16 percent increase since 2007, and a 53 percent increase in the past 10 years.

“For any particular child, parents should consult with the prescribing physician about potential side effects and long-term risks,” Study Senior Author Steve S. Lee said in a news release. “Saying that all parents need not be concerned about the use of stimulant medication for their children is an overstatement; parents should have the conversation with the physician. As with other medications, there are potential side effects, and the patient should be carefully evaluated to, for example, determine the proper dosage.”
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