20 October 2009

ADHD linked to criminal behaviour

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than other children to engage in criminal activity when they grow older, a new study has found.


Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than other children to engage in criminal activity when they grow older, a US study has found.

The study included more than 10,000 adolescents who were later surveyed in adulthood. It found that youngsters with ADHD were twice as likely to commit theft later in life, and were 50% more likely to sell drugs.

The findings, believed to be the first evidence of a link between ADHD and criminal activity, were published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.

Long-term consequences
"While much research has shown links between ADHD and short-term educational outcomes, this research suggests significant longer-term consequences in other domains, such as criminal activities," study lead author Jason M Fletcher, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

"We also found important differences in the association between adult crime and the type of childhood ADHD symptoms - whether hyperactive or inattentive or both," he said.

Meds vs criminals?
Fletcher and colleagues plan to investigate whether drug treatments may reduce the illegal activities associated with ADHD in adulthood. The researchers also plan to study the associations between childhood ADHD symptoms and later employment and earnings.

ADHD, which affects between 2% to 10% of US schoolchildren, is far more common in males than females. It's also more prevalent in people who have close relatives with the condition, suggesting a genetic origin, the study authors noted in the news release. - (HealthDay News, October 2009)


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Dr. Shabeer Ahmed Jeeva is a specialist psychiatrist who has been practicing child and adult psychiatry for 30 years. He has vast experience in treating ADHD, and is also an ADHD patient himself. Dr. Jeeva trained and practiced in Canada as a child and adult psychiatrist and had lived there for 25 years. He had attended medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland (1970-1976). His professional experience and accreditation includes: Psychiatric residency at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Child Psychiatry fellowship at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Diploma in Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa (Canada), and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada. Visit his website at:

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