Kids on ADHD drugs do 10 times worse at school than kids who avoid medication

By | February 23, 2010 with ADHD who use prescription drugs to manage their condition are 10 times more likely to perform poorly at school than ADHD kids who avoid medication, a new report reveals.

The report also finds stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and dexamphetamine make no significant difference to the level of depression, self-perception and social functioning of a 14-year-old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Those consistently using medication had significantly higher blood pressure at age 14 than children who had never taken drugs, a side-effect that could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke even into adulthood.

The report’s co-author, Lou Landau, said the world-first study into the long-term effects of stimulant medication on children with ADHD, to be published today, showed “drugs over the long term don’t have an impact on improving performance”.

“They don’t improve outcomes for those with ADHD, they make no difference to levels of depression, social functioning and self-perception, and for those on medication it is 10 times as likely that classroom performance will be below average,” he said.

Professor Landau, principal medical adviser to the West Australian Department of Health, which funded the research, said that was not to say drugs should never be used to treat ADHD. “There may be some children for whom the need to manage the condition in the short term will outweigh the long-term effects.”

The report is groundbreaking because it uses data from the Raine Study, which has been tracking the progress of more than 2800 families for two decades. Parents of the 131 children diagnosed with ADHD under the study have been providing information since the children were born. The outcomes were measured when the children were 14 years old. …

via Kids on ADHD drugs `poor at school’ | The Australian.

The kids already know this.  They hate taking these meds.  They’ve been trying to tell adults this for 20 years.  Teachers love the stuff, however, because it makes kids more “manageable”.  Poor performance from a depressed non-troublemaker is better, from the teacher’s point of view, than good performance from someone disrupting the classroom.

6 thoughts on “Kids on ADHD drugs do 10 times worse at school than kids who avoid medication

  1. Danny

    I’m just musing but I think the wave of ADHD in kids is not really a disorder but a sign that the new generation is capable of absorbing much more information at a greatly increased rate. They assimilate school criteria quickly and are left with added processing power with no outlet so they become fidgety and search for satisfaction elsewhere.

    A lot of people disrespect the younger generation for their inability to focus and be patient. Im thinking we should respect them and alter our teaching methods so they can absorb more, faster. The generation of the fidgety will take our world to unimaginable places with that speed of mind. Just look at video games. The oldest member of the best video game league is 25 and he’s called a grandpa. The kids are quick! We need to catch up, not slow them down.

    1. Jellsmom

      Danny, this is the best and most positive explanation for ADHD that I have heard or read anywhere else. I reluctantly have my 7 year old son on medication and I feel the risks and side effects are not worth it. I want to take him off, but I do not know what else to do about his school situation. For example, I cannot afford a private school. I have been thinking about homeschooling. Thanks for posting your view. I have been enlightened about ADHD.

  2. Petite Cossette

    Amen to that, Danny. When I was a kid, I was unofficially diagnosed with AD(H)D, and I refused the medicaation, and now I’m glad I did.

  3. John

    I too refused ritalin after realizing I wasn’t myself anymore.I believe that pharmaceutical companies have been aware of this long before now and that test results more than likely received the same results as these but only been suppressed.IMHO these huge companies are nothing more than money grubbing,greedy bastards that’s only concern is there next dollar.Here’s an interesting article recently released.

  4. Lindsey

    This might be true for younger kids, but personally I think half of them are just unruly to begin with and parents are looking to blame it onto a medical condition rather than their own parenting. But I’ve seen cases of real ADHD, in teenagers admittedly, where the medication made a world of difference. My brother, for instance– he’s as smart as they come, but he was doing horribly in school, and no amount of taking away his X-Box or forcing him to do his homework was changing that. Eventually my dad realized he might have ADHD, and he fit the symptoms perfectly, so he put him on meds. Now my brother’s got the highest GPA in his class.

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