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Can children become addicted to medications for ADHD?

Long-term effects of medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children are unknown, but neuropsychologists argue, based on knowledge of those who are addicted to nonprescription stimulants and of recent animal studies, that "stimulants could alter the structure and function of the brain in ways that may depress mood, boost anxiety and, in sharp contrast to their short-term effects, lead to cognitive deficits."

Another concern regarding longer-term side effects is the potential for addiction to these drugs. According to Volkow, a leader in the field, "People abuse prescription stimulants for various reasons -- to get high, to improve academic or athletic performance, or to lose weight -- putting themselves at risk for dangerous health consequences. Young people are at particular risk -- in 2005, 8.6 percent and 4.4 percent of twelfth graders reported past-year non-medical use of amphetamine and methylphenidate, respectively."
The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

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The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

As a parent, you already know that your child has many gifts. What you may not know is that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related symptoms—the very qualities that lead him or her...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.