Updated 14 June 2017

Divorce ups Ritalin use

Children of divorced parents are nearly twice as likely as other children to be prescribed Ritalin, according to a new study.

Children of divorced parents are nearly twice as likely as other children to be prescribed Ritalin, says a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Ritalin is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers found that 6.1 percent of 633 Canadian children of divorced parents were prescribed Ritalin, compared with 3.3 percent of 4 151 children whose parents were still married, the Canadian Press reported.

Study author Lisa Strohschein of the University of Alberta said there may be a number of reasons why Ritalin use is higher among children of divorced parents.

The stress of divorce may aggravate a child's existing ADHD-related behavioural problems to the point where a doctor decides that Ritalin may be helpful. In other cases, children of divorced parents may channel their anger, anxiety and sadness into behaviour that's mislabelled as ADHD-like.

In some situations, Strohschein said, parents and doctors may give Ritalin to children in anticipation of behavioural problems that may be caused by the stress of divorce, the CP reported. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
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June 2007


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Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation ( She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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