There are now over 170 controlled double blind studies showing the efficacy and safety of the psycho-stimulants even with patients with co morbid eating disorders, chemical dependency and bipolar disorder. All other medications should be reserved for the rare person who cannot be managed with stimulant class medications.
The psycho-stimulants are not addicting although they are abusable. This is why they are Schedule II drugs. It is rare for an ADHD person to abuse these medications. Well regulated medication renders people with ADHD “normal” and over-dosing produces an unpleasant “zombie effect.”
In spite of publicity to the contrary, medications used for ADHD are not addictive. Some ways to distinguish the difference are as follows:
|DRUGS OF ABUSE||DRUGS FOR ADHD|
|PEOPLE TAKE THEM TO FEEL GOOD||FEEL NOTHING/BAD IF OVERDOSED|
|PEOPLE CRAVE THE DRUG||COMMONLY FORGET TO TAKE MEDS|
|PARENTS FIGHT TO GET THEIR KIDS NOT TO TAKE THEM||PARENTS FIGHT TO GET THEIR KIDS TO TAKE THEM|
What is probably more important is the prospective longitudinal study by Biederman and his colleagues28 that shows that the stimulant class of ADHD medications actually protect against the development of substance use disorders (SUD). Left untreated, persons with ADHD have three times the incidence of Substance Use Disorder diagnosis than does the population at large (47% vs. 15%). If the person with ADHD is consistently treated with stimulant class medication the risk of developing SUD is the same as the general population.
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