What is the increased risk for substance abuse with stimulant therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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There has been a long concern that the use of stimulate therapy leads to substance abuse. Recent studies have demonstrated that stimulant therapy does not increase the risk of future substance use or abuse. [35] Furthermore, 112 people with ADHD were observed for a period of 10 years. At the time of the follow-up assessment, 82 (73%) had been treated previously with stimulants and 25 (22%) were undergoing stimulant treatment. No statistically significant associations were noticed between stimulant treatment and alcohol, drug, or nicotine use disorders. The findings revealed no evidence that stimulant treatment increases or decreases the risk for subsequent substance use disorders in children and adolescents with ADHD when they reach young adulthood. [36]

Stimulant medications do enhance mental executive functions for those with ADHD. [37]

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