Medication management plays an important role for people who use prescription medications for most of their life. One of the problems with using drugs for a long period of time, especially with grade-school children with ADHD who use stimulants like Ritalin to treat symptoms, is that abuse and addiction can develop over time.
However, one recent study shows that using stimulant drugs at an early does not mean the child will have a greater chance of struggling with drug abuse and addiction later in life. The stigma of using prescription medications at an young age causes parents to feel uneasy about giving their child drugs – worrying that the drug will cause them to crave more of it.
Dr. Andrew Adesman (chief of development and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York) made a statement on the study that may reassure parents everywhere:
“This study provides parents and physicians with further reassuring evidence that prescribing stimulant medications to grade-school children with ADHD is not associated with an increased risk of later substance use at age 18,’ he says, and continues, “Although some parents have expressed the fear that Ritalin and other stimulant medications could be ‘gateway drugs’ that put children with ADHD at even greater risk for later substance abuse problems, this well-designed analysis of a large national sample clearly shows that this is not the case.”
Source: Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., research faculty chair and professor, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park; June 2016, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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