Reuters 4 December 2015
Kids and teens who take prescription medicines to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be twice as likely to be bullied as their peers who don’t have this mental health problem, a recent U.S. study suggests.
“Our findings show that there is some connection between a prescription for stimulant medications and bullying, even after accounting for the fact that adolescents with ADHD may have difficulties with peers or may have other problem behaviors associated with victimization,” lead study author Quyen Epstein-Ngo, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said by email.
To assess the connection between ADHD medication and bullying, Ngo and colleagues surveyed middle and high school students annually for four years.
Ultimately, the surveys involved nearly 5,000 youngsters. About 15 percent had an ADHD diagnosis and roughly 4 percent had been prescribed stimulants within the past 12 months, the researchers report in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
Among those who took ADHD medications, about 20 percent reported being approached to sell or share them, and about half of them did so when asked.
Overall, about 2 percent of the teens reported regularly experiencing both physical and emotional bullying, while 15 percent said they had never been victimized. Slightly more than 1 percent of the youth said they had regularly experienced just physical bullying, while 2.5 percent reported frequent emotional mistreatment.