AUSTIN (KXAN) — A recent study published in JAMA Network Open examined the prevalence of middle and high school students misusing drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
It found as many as one in four students surveyed, used medication such as Adderall without being diagnosed with ADHD.
The study’s lead author tells NBC News, “the findings should be a major wake-up call.”
Dr. Gregory Mattingly treats many children with the condition.
“ADHD is the most common neurologic condition in children, both here in the United States and all around the world. It’s about 8 to 10% of kids in the United States meet criteria for what we call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
As a psychiatrist and principal investigator in over 200 clinical trials focusing on ADHD, anxiety disorders, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Mattingly said stimulants such as Adderall can help treat ADHD but the drug is short in supply.
“It’s been frustrating for my patients, it is frustrating all across our country,” Mattingly said.
“We do have a shortage in particular with the short-acting stimulants, ie Adderall, that’s caused us all to take a look with our patients and say, ‘are there other treatment options that may be appropriate, maybe even more appropriate?’
Mattingly suggests patients or parents of children showing symptoms of ADHD, first talk to their physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
“In the same example, if I had a hard time focusing my vision, well, I put on glasses or contact lenses so that my vision is more focused. Same thing is true with our kids with ADHD.”
He said there are treatment options that may also help curb the number of people misusing the medication as the study in JAMA suggests.
“We know that short-acting stimulants like Adderall can sometimes be misused or diverted and used in ways that they maybe shouldn’t be used. So that’s led to the trend about trying to minimize the use of those short-acting stimulants and moving to the medicines that are once daily, smoother release, probably less likely to be abused or misused.”