According to a study published online on November 23 in Pediatrics, bullying and insomnia are side effects of ADHD medication. Children taking drugs like Concerta, Adderall or Ritalin are more likely to suffer from insomnia and also have double chances of being bullied in school.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a chronic condition characterized by deficit of attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. About one in 14 kids and teenagers in the USA are diagnosed every year with ADHD. Children with ADHD have difficulty staying focused for a long time and since their brain finds it harder to filter the information it receives, they get easily distracted.
This new study found that children on ADHD medication sometimes have problems falling asleep and sleeping for the whole night. However, the authors of the study argue that taking the kids off meds is not a solution, but adjusting the doses and keeping a healthy sleeping schedule and bedtime routine might help.
Also, another worrying finding of the study shows that children with prescription for ADHD drugs are, on average, twice more likely to become victims of bullying. After studying about 5,000 students of middle and high school for four years, the researchers found out that about 20 percent of those taking ADHD medicine have received offers to sell or share their drugs and about half of them accepted to do that. Those who did were, oddly, 4.5 times more likely to become victims of bullies than those who did not accept to share their meds. Even those who did not share their medication were facing two times more bullying than their peers who were not on medication.
The researchers encourage parents to advise their children not to share their medication with anyone, under no reason. Also, since the risk of bullying increases for children who are known to be on ADHD medication, parents should also advise their children to be careful who they are talking to about this issue. One of the main reasons why bullies want the drugs is that ADHD medication has the opposite effects for persons without the condition so they can be used for getting high.
While some of the results of this study are highly relevant, future research is needed on this issue. In the meantime, parents should not be discouraged to look for help when their children need it.
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