ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) medications are controversial both due to their potential for abuse as well as in short supply right now, but a new study out of Sweden supports their use as a tool for afflicted teens and adults, indicating a drop in crime rates among sufferers who are properly medicated for the condition.
ADHD is a disorder often associated with childhood, and adults who suffer its effects often have the double whammy frustration of a world that doesn’t tolerate ADHD traits. But new research into the effects of ADHD medications may pave the way for more awareness of the drugs’ ability to curb undesirable behaviors in those who may have difficulty mitigating the disorder’s effects unmedicated.
A study on ADHD medications and crime rates among those diagnosed, led by Paul Lichtenstein of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, was published Thursday in the New England Journal Of Medicine. In it, ABC explains, researchers found that medicated older teens and adults were “much less likely to commit a crime while on ADHD medication” than their untreated counterparts.
Reviewing the research, Dr. William Cooper, a pediatrics and preventive medicine professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville concurred that adults with ADHD often face difficulty in accessing treatment due to the ingrained idea that the disorder is primarily one of childhood:
“There definitely is a perception that it’s a disease of childhood and you outgrow your need for medicines … We’re beginning to understand that ADHD is a condition for many people that really lasts throughout their life.”
The study on ADHD meds and crime revealed that, in the sample group, criminality dropped 32 percent in men and 41 percent in women. Cooper explains:
“I was surprised by the magnitude of the effect of the medications and the fact that it was so consistent across all the analyses they did.”
Adult ADHD is often linked with impulsive behavior, which may be a contributing factor to higher crime rates associated with the condition.