More than two-thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD have been prescribed ADHD medication at some point in their lives, according to a new study.
The new study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, is the first to show that this is a significant risk factor for later mental health issues.
“Our study showed that the use of ADHD medication is a critical risk factor,” said study co-author John P. Sutter, MD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for ADHD Research.
“We wanted to find out what impact that was having on children’s mental health and wellbeing, and we found that children who were on ADHD medications at the time of the study had a significantly higher rate of being diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
This is consistent with other studies that show that medication can have a positive impact on children, particularly when combined with supportive services.”
A large proportion of children prescribed ADHD medications have also been found to have serious mental health difficulties, and there are some risk factors that can lead to mental health disorders.
Sometime in the next few years, the number of children who have ADHD will likely grow to more than 500 million, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sender and receiver for the study, Dr. P. David Koehl, MD (a pediatric neuropsychologist), said that it’s important to recognize that the rate of diagnosis of ADHD with ADHD medication and mental health concerns for the affected child has been increasing over time.
“These findings suggest that more children are diagnosed and are receiving ADHD medication as children,” Dr. Koehler said.
We have seen this increase over time in our own clinical practice, but it may be more pronounced in the community,” Dr Koehrlsaid. “
A significant proportion of ADHD children who are being prescribed ADHD drugs are under age 16.
We have seen this increase over time in our own clinical practice, but it may be more pronounced in the community,” Dr Koehrlsaid.
“More important, our study showed a higher rate among children who had been diagnosed with mental health conditions, including anxiety, mood disorder, depression and bipolar disorder, than among children whose parents were not on ADHD meds.”
The study was conducted at the Johns, Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland centers, and involved a large sample of children and adolescents diagnosed with diagnosed ADHD.
The findings of this study suggest that the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD with medication is an important, potentially life-long risk factor.
“The use of medications in children may be linked to an increased risk of psychiatric symptoms later in life, including mood and anxiety disorders,” Dr Sutter said.
The study is the latest in a string of studies to show the association between ADHD medication misuse and mental disorders in children and youth.
In 2011, Dr K. Lee Buhner, MD at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and colleagues found that approximately half of children on ADHD drugs and alcohol misuse had a history of depression, which was a risk factor in the development of bipolar disorder in the general population.
The researchers found that those who were taking ADHD meddys at the onset of their disorders were more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis later in their lifetime, as well.
In 2015, the Journal of Pediatrics reviewed evidence on the link between ADHD medications and mental illness in children.
The research focused on the role of ADHD medications in early onset ADHD and depression, the study authors noted.
They found that patients with ADHD who were prescribed ADHD med dosages before the age of 8 were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression at the age 12.
The authors also found a significant association between the use and abuse of ADHD med drugs and the development and persistence of mental health complications in childhood, including ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders.
A 2016 study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University also reported that the increased risk for ADHD-related mental health consequences is increased when parents are on medication, but not whether or not their children are on meds.
“As a clinician, I have seen a tremendous amount of evidence showing the importance of taking the time to talk with your child about ADHD,” said Dr. Sute, the co-lead author of the new study and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins.
“I also think that it is important to acknowledge that parents and caregivers need to be aware of the possible effects of their childrens medication on their mental health.
In addition, they need to work closely with their child’s mental healthcare provider to understand what the most appropriate treatment options are for their child.”
For more information, contact Dr. Michael B. Miller, MPH at 973-842-3186 or [email protected]