Children treated with ADHD drugs may not respond as well as parents expect. The disorder is diagnosed in 6.5% of children, 80% of whom are boys. Drug therapy, amphetamine-related and routinely recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is intended to reduce impulsivity and improve attention.
The study suggests that results of therapy do not really handle the problem.1 The study was conducted in Scotland between 2009 and 2013. Of the total of 7413 children diagnosed with ADHD and treated, 6287 were boys. Children were included who had social, emotional or behavioral difficulties, dyslexia, language or speech disorder, intellectual disabilities, physical or motor impairments or a combination of these.
Compared with normal children, treated children had lower academic attainment, higher rates of unauthorized absence from school, and far more special educational needs. They were also more likely to leave school before the age of 16, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to be hospitalized.
Interestingly, the unemployment rates among affluent children on drugs for ADHD, and poor children not treated with ADHD drugs, were the same.
Between 1992 and 2008, drug prescriptions in the United Kingdom for ADHD increased 34 times. This was a result of increased reliance on drugs, increased frequency of diagnosis especially in girls, and longer maintenance of treatment.
It appears that reliance on drug therapy to resolve ADHD is unwarranted. The effects of drug therapy are far from optimal. The drugs utilized are amphetamines or related to them, and possess addictive properties.
Safer and more effective therapies should include improved nutrition and elimination of items that impair concentration, such as sugar, food additives and preservatives, and toxic pesticides within foods. Regular physical activities in sports and exercise support attention and enhance both physical and mental wellness. Limiting time spent watching television and playing video games would help children focus on more creative activities.