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ADHD Medication Could Lower Substance Abuse Risk

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one common problem in the United States. It affects both men and women and has a significant impact on the productivity of the American economy. While efforts continue to be made to deal with the problem, a series of studies show that there could be several benefits attributed to controlling ADHD.

One of such studies was carried out by researchers of the Indiana University, and shows that using medication to deal with the disorder significantly lowers the risk of patients developing substance abuse problems.

The study which involved some 3 million ADHD patients in America and is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reveals that medication use led to a 35% decrease in the likelihood of men developing substance abuse problems. For women, there was a 31% decrease.   

According to Patrick D. Quinn, lead author of the study, it “contributes to growing evidence that ADHD medication is linked to lower risk for many types of harmful behavior, including substance abuse.” Quinn is a postdoctoral researcher in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He notes that the results “also highlight the importance of careful diagnosis and compliance with treatment.”

About 57% of the 3 million people who participated in the study had moments when they were prescribed medications and moments when they were not. Just about 2% had cases of substance abuse strong enough to emergency room visits.

Quinn notes that, “While concerns about prescribing medications to treat ADHD that have the potential for abuse are understandable, this study provides further evidence that the use of these medications is not associated with increased risk of substance use problems in adolescence or adulthood. Rather, this and other recent studies find that the risk of such problems is lower during and after periods of use of these medications.”   

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