ADHD News & Research

ADHD Meds Cut Down on Criminal Behavior

Post-childhood medical treatment for attention deficit reduces impulsive behaviors.

March 25, 2013

Older teens and adults with attention deficit are much less likely to commit a crime if they are taking ADHD medication, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

People with ADHD are four to seven times more likely than those without the condition to break the law. The good news is that taking ADHD medications like Ritalin, Adderall, or other stimulants reduced all kinds of crime – burglaries and thefts as well as violent crimes.

The study found that:

> About 37 percent of men with ADHD were convicted of at least one crime during a four-year period, compared with just 9 percent of men without ADHD. For women, the crime rates were 15 percent with ADHD and 2 percent without it.

> Use of ADHD medicines reduced the likelihood of committing a crime by 32 percent in men and 41 percent in women.

“It’s not necessarily just the medication that reduces the likelihood of crime,” says Paul Lichtenstein, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who headed up the study. Taking ADHD medicines help people organize their lives better and reduce impulsive behavior. They also bring a patient into counseling and health care, which may benefit symptom management.