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Stimulants Unlikely to Affect a Child's Personality

Prescribing methylphenidate to a child likely will not affect his individuality, research shows.

The results of a new study indicate that stimulant drug treatments for ADHD may not affect a child's individuality or authenticity. The findings challenge widespread ethical concerns about prescribing methylphenidate to children, and may help ease concern among parents who worry that the stimulant, found in medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, and Daytrana, may somehow "change" a child, or make the child feel "different."

The research included data from a pilot interview study investigating relationships among children's moral self-understandings, an ADHD diagnosis and stimulant drug treatment, and focused on the children's understandings of their authentic selves.

All too often, however, children reported that they believed a dimension of their 'real' selves was `bad'; medication did not affect this belief. A correct diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan can help counteract many of these unhealthy and persistent thought patterns, which are sometimes brought on by falling behind in school or by struggling to interact with peers.

Details of the study, conducted by Dr. Ilina Singh at the BIOS Center at the London School of Economics and Political Science, are published in an article in the Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Vol. 12).

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Source: Stimulants Unlikely to Affect a Child's Personality