ADHD Drugs Don’t Boost Kids’ Grades

ADHD Drugs Don’t Boost Kids’ Grades

Studies of Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Find Little Change

New studies of children taking psychiatric drugs find that there is little evidence that the drugs actually improve academic outcomes.

A growing body of research finds that in the long run, achievement scores, grade-point averages or the likelihood of repeating a grade generally aren’t any different in kids diagnosed with symptoms called ADHD who take psychiatric drugs compared with those who don’t take such drugs.

A June, 2013 study looked at ADHD drug usage and educational outcomes of nearly 4,000 students in Quebec over an average of 11 years and found that boys who took ADHD drugs actually performed worse in school than those with a similar number of symptoms who didn’t. Girls taking the medicine reported more emotional problems, according to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The results “suggest that expanding medication use can have negative consequences given the average way these drugs are used in the community.”

The reason this issue was studied by an economics research think tank is because a policy change in the province of Quebec, Canada greatly expanded insurance coverage for prescription medications; the change was associated with a sharp increase in the use of Ritalin relative to the rest of Canada.

If you agree that alternatives like good nutrition, effective non-psychiatric medical diagnosis and treatment, and teaching children how to read and study are preferable to harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, clap your hands — and contact your local, state and federal representatives to tell them what you think. Ask them to stop funding psychiatric drugs for children.

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