Psycho-stimulant medication use in the absence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Turnbull, Danielle L.
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ADHD medication use has grown substantially, yet, little is known about treatment-seeking and prescription practices in the absence of ADHD diagnoses. This project utilized data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement, a survey of adolescent psychiatric disorders in the U.S. Rates of medication use, and the influence of prescriber specialty and treatment encouragement, on medication use were investigated among adolescents with ADHD, sub-threshold ADHD, and without ADHD. Findings showed that a small but notable proportion of adolescents in the sub-threshold and no ADHD groups took medication for ADHD. Encouragement from psychiatrists but prescriptions from family doctors were associated with medication use. These findings suggest that adolescents with minimal symptoms may be medicated for behaviour within the range of normal, whereas those with numerous symptoms may not be receiving adequate treatment. Second opinions may assist in proper dosage and treatment. The influence of encouragement from psychiatrists and prescribing physicians is discussed.
Psycho-stimulant, ADHD, Adolescents