Kids with attention deficit disorder have problem focusing in school, are hyperactive and have problem curbing their impulses. But, what happens with those kids when they grow up? A group of Swedish scientists believe that the disease lasts throughout the life of many ADHD sufferers, often making them more prone to breaking the law.
What is ADHD ?
About 5 percent of American children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Many others are never diagnosed because the disease is confused with just bad behavior. As a consequence, the disease is not treated and children go through life without real understanding of their problems and no help.
ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder in children. Its true cause is not clear, but it often runs in families. It starts showing signs in early childhood, leading scientists to believe that it gets triggered during the early brain development. The brain scans of children with ADHD shows significant differences from those of normal children of the same age.
ADHD causes children to be hyper active, to have problem paying attention to their teachers and to be prone to impulsive behaviors regardless of the consequences.
ADHD in adulthood
The controversial Swedish study shows that teenagers and adults with ADHD are seven times more prone to breaking the law and that common ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall can help them curb their criminal impulses.
Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied about 16,000 men and 10,000 women who had been diagnosed with ADHD. They also used court and prison records to track convictions of people with ADHD, and to see if they were taking medications when they committed their crimes.
They found that more than 37 percent of men and 15 percents of women with ADHD were convicted of at least one crime during the research period. While most of the crimes committed by people with ADHD were thefts, about 4,000 of them were violent.
Scientists also found that regular use of ADHD medications reduced the number of people who committed crimes by 41 percent in women and 32 percent in men.
The findings were published in the recent New England Journal of Medicine.
The study shows clear link between ADHD and criminality, and it establishes the need for regular medication throughout their lives. Medication not only prevents criminal behavior, but helps people with ADHD to look for other kind of help available, such as counseling and general health care, which can help them to have normal, productive lives.