Special Needs News: College Students Misusing Stimulants More Likely To Have ADHD

College students who are misusing prescribed stimulants have been found to be more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance disorders, according to the results of a new study. This study involved structured interviews with students that are used in the diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as substance-use disorders.

"In addition to higher levels of ADHD, conduct disorder, and alcohol or drug use disorders, the majority of those misusing stimulants met or approached criteria for stimulant-use disorder," said Dr. Timothy Wilens, as per a report published in Science Daily. Wilens is the corresponding author of the study and also heads the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department in Massachusetts General Hospital. 

There were 300 participants in this study, aged 18 to 28 and all were undergraduates studying in schools located in Boston. One-third were found to have misused stimulant drugs, according to a report in WebMD. The researchers found that those who were found to have misused stimulant drugs were more likely to have a previous ADHD diagnosis or related symptoms in their childhood.

Two-thirds of the misusers of stimulant drugs were found to have stimulant-use disorder or to be very close to having the disorder, according to the report. Misusers of the stimulant drugs reportedly were more likely to say that the used drugs to get high, though Wilens was quoted as saying not everyone does that. Instead, Wilens said that there might be some pressure to take them for academic success.

According to UPI, Wilen said that the results of the study were not surprising because untreated ADHD has previously been linked to a greater risk of alcohol- and drug-use disorders, adding that stimulant-use disorder "may be more prevalent and severe than previously thought." This study on misusing stimulant drugs was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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