Stimulants Help Students With ADHD
Drug Treatment Improves Long-Term School Success, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Not Just Controlling Behavior
Nearly 2 million children in the United States have ADHD, but many children
with the disorder remain undiagnosed and many more do not get treatment.
Barbaresi says the Mayo research offers some of the first evidence that
treatment with stimulant medications can have a lasting impact on quality of
life into adulthood.
The research appears in the August issue of the Journal of Developmental
and Behavioral Pediatrics.
“The criticism [of stimulant drugs] has been that we are treating children
just to control behavior and other undesirable symptoms,” he says. “But these
findings show a real impact in terms of life outcome.”
Pediatric psychologist Ronald Brown, PhD, of the Medical University of South
Carolina, says it is clear that Ritalin and other stimulant drug treatments can
positively affect school performance and other life outcomes in children with
But he adds that too many health providers rely on drugs alone, ignoring
other effective treatments like psychotherapy, special education, and
“Pediatricians have to treat many kids in a short period of time, so it is
hard for them to provide any other type of treatment,” he says. “And many
insurance companies don’t pay for additional services for children with
Brown chaired a recent American Psychological Association (APA) task force
examining the use of drugs in children with mental disorders.
The group concluded that a combination of behavioral therapy and drug
treatment can often be more effective than either treatment alone in the
treatment of ADHD.
“The message to parents of children with ADHD is that there are treatments
that work, and stimulants are just one of those treatments,” Brown says. “If
parents don't feel comfortable with medication there are other options.”