Kids report ADHD meds are helping them, not changing them

    Treating kids who have ADHD with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin often stirs up heated debates, but how do kids themselves feel about taking these medications?

    A new British study sheds some light on the issue.

    The use of stimulant drugs to treat kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has grown rapidly in recent decades. Many experts and parents worry that children are overdiagnosed and overmedicated — and that medications are changing their personalities and ability to be themselves.

    Drawing on her interviews with 150 American and English children between the ages of 9 and 14, British researcher Ilina Singh found that the majority of kids reported that the medications were helping them, without changing who they were.

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    These findings are in accordance with his experience in treating kids with ADHD, according to University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Tony Rostain.

    “When the medication is working appropriately, kids, adolescents and even adults think that it really does help them to be a better person, in terms of being able to make good choices, and being able to think through the consequences of their decisions and being able to process complicated information and make more sense of it,” explained Rostain.

    Rostain says Singh’s research is very important as it bring a patient perspective to the heated discussion about ADHD medications. Rostain added that about 8 percent of children in this study reported that they did not feel like themselves on these medications. He says it’s very important for doctors to ask their young patients how these medications affect their sense of self.

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