ADHD Drugs Might Lower Criminal Behavior

It's a big step to crime reduction in people suffering from ADHD

A study conducted by Swedish Karolinska Institutet scientists shows that people affected of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are less likely to develop a criminal behavior when on treatment.

The study, comprising observations on more than 25,000 people throughout a period of 3 years (2006-2009), was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

It has previously been proven that people suffering from ADHD are more susceptible of committing a crime than the other individuals, News Medical report.

The research shows the various links existing between ADHD drugs and the decrease of criminal impulses in people.

Studying the behavior of people with ADHD during medication, out of medication and in a pause in between two treatment courses, researchers observed that patients' criminal conduct lowers with up to 32% while under medication.

No difference in the phenomenon's manifestation was observed between men and women, nor between different gravity levels of the crimes likely to be performed.

“We have shown that ADHD medication very probably reduces the risk of crime,” declared Henrik Larsson, Professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Karolinska Institutet.

“However, we need to point out that most medical treatments can have adverse side effects, so risks must be weighed up against benefits and the individual patient's entire life situation taken into consideration before medications are prescribed.”

Researchers say an efficient implementation of the discovery among patients would need complex further studies, but they also mention this is a great step to a matter of great importance: the global reduction of criminal behavior.

“Of course the potential pros and cons of each prescription have to be evaluated,” explained Professor Paul Lichtenstein from Karolinska Institutet and co-author of the study.

“What we're saying is that this probable reduction in the risk of crime must also be taken into account. It's said that roughly 30 to 40 per cent of long-serving criminals have ADHD. If their chances of recidivism can be reduced by 30 per cent, it would clearly effect total crime numbers in many societies.”

Up to 5% of school children around the world suffer from ADHD and almost half of them continue bearing the disease into adult life.

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