Kids who take Medication for ADHD Twice as Likely to be Bullied


The research also raises questions about why these kids are targets of frequent taunting or aggression by their peers. "As they transition into adulthood, the social effects of their ADHD diagnosis will impact a broad range of people with whom they come into contact". "If these kids could do better they would". In the survey they compared four groups of students- those who had ADHD, those who had recently been prescribed any type of stimulants for this disorder, those who gave their medication away or whose medication was stolen, and those who do not have ADHD. "We're not quite sure exactly what's going on there".

The research team was unable to tease out whether kids were being for their medicines or for other reasons. "They may be putting themselves in riskier situations where they're more likely to be victimized". Maybe they're being coerced to share their medications, she reasoned. "This study doesn't say 'don't give your child medication.' It suggests that it's really important to talk to your children about who they tell", Epstein-Ngo says.

Cottler, lead author of the first national study examining teens' and preteens' prescription stimulant use, published in 2013, said that it must be the ADHD affected teen's behavior which is not tolerant by other kids.

"There's growing concern around stimulant misuse and abuse. We've factored out that some kids may have more severe symptoms and that may lead to bullying, and we've also factored out the fact that some kids may have additional problem behaviors", Epstein-Ngo said.

The University of MI study found that at even higher risk were middle and high school students who sold or shared their medications, those kids were four-and-a-half times likelier to be victimized by peers than kids without ADHD.

Of those who took ADHD meds, 20 percent reported being approached or bullied to sell or share them, and about half of them did. They found kids taking Ritalin or similar medications had double the risk of being physically or emotionally bullied than those without ADHD.

Dr. Wendy Moyal, a child and adolescent psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to improving mental health care for children, was surprised by the findings.

It's unclear why kids with prescriptions for stimulant medications are more at risk for bullying and victimization.


She also says the findings should not scare parents away from considering a stimulant medication.