Many Children with AD/HD Going Without Medication

Almost half of adolescents who have a diagnosis of full-scale AD/HD and who might benefit from AD/HD medications are going untreated.

Sunday October 1st - 12:24pm

Many school-age children who could benefit from AD/HD meds are going untreated, suggests a new study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study, which involved 1,610 twins between the ages of seven and 17, found that almost half of those who might benefit from AD/HD medications are not getting them.

"What we found was somewhat surprising,” said Richard D. Todd, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and genetics at Washington University. "Only about 58 percent of boys and about 45 percent of girls who had a diagnosis of full-scale AD/HD received any medication at all." The researchers speculate that either pediatricians are failing to identify children with AD/HD, or that the parents of these children are choosing not to put their kids on stimulant medications.

The study comes at a time of widespread concern over the rising numbers of children who take stimulant medications for AD/HD. Between 1975 to 1987, the number of elementary school children taking AD/HD meds more than tripled, according to another study. A third study found that the number of adolescents taking AD/HD medication increased 250 percent between 1990 and 1995.

The Washington University study was published in the July 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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