A Systematic Review Of The Literature On The Association Between Evidence-based ADHD Treatment And Later Adolescent/adult Substance Abuse
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Objective: There has been much controversy over prescribing stimulant medication to treat the symptoms of childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This study aims to explore the relationship between prescribing stimulant and non-stimulant medication for the treatment of childhood ADHD and future substance abuse in adolescents and young adulthood. Method: A systematic review of all ten studies that met inclusion criteria was conducted testing whether stimulant treatment of ADHD reduces or increases the risk for future substance use, abuse and dependency. Results: Ten studies were critically appraised for high methodological quality. ADHD was found to be a high risk for subsequent substance use disorders. Stimulant treatment of ADHD in childhood was not found to increase the risk for substance use and, in fact, demonstrated a statistically significant protective effect against the development of future SUD in four out of the six studies. Conclusion: This study found that evidence-based treatment of ADHD in childhood does not increase the risk of substance abuse and does in fact protect individuals from developing SUDs in adolescents and young adulthood. Furthermore this study has found a need for future research to be conducted in this area of study.