Taking ADHD Meds Decreases Criminal Activity

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • We know that ADHD medication can help you focus, control impulses and pay attention to details. But recent research says ADHD medication can also reduce criminal acts in those with ADHD. While I certainly am not saying that all individuals with ADHD are criminals, past studies have shown that those with ADHD have a higher chance of committing a crime than their non-ADHD counterparts. It isn’t clear whether this is because of an inability to control impulses or the need for high-risk, high-stimulus situations or because of some other reason altogether.

    According to a previous post, submitted by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (www.add.org) at least 25 percent of all adults incarcerated have ADHD. Many of these prisoners are not adequately treated for ADHD while in prison.

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    A new study, completed over four years in Sweden and published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that individuals with ADHD who are taking medication for the disorder are less likely to engage in criminal activity. The study analysed more than 25,000 patients diagnosed with ADHD. The findings from the research include:

    • Those taking medication had a lower overall incident rate of criminal behavior than those not taking medication.
    • Those who took medication at some time but not continuously were more apt to engage in criminal acts while not on medication.

    This study is important because it doesn’t just compare individuals who have never taken medication to those who have, it also compared the same individuals - while on and off medication - and found that the same person was less likely to participate in criminal activity when taking medication than they were when they were not taking medication.

    The study did not show any significant differences in either gender or minor/major crimes. The study also did not analyze individual medications to see whether certain medications had a lesser rate of criminal activity.

    One of the authors of the study, Professor Paul Lichenstein indicates “this probable reduction in the risk of crime must be taken into account. It’s said that roughly 30 to 40 percent of long-serving criminals have ADHD. If their chances of recidivism can be reduced by 30 percent, it would clearly affect total crime numbers in many societies.” [1]

    For more information:

    ADHD Treatment in Adult Correctional Facilities

    ADHD and Conduct Disorder

    ADHD and High Risk Behavior


    [1] “ADHD Medication Can Lower Risk of Criminal Behavior,” 2012, Nov 25, Staff Writer, Medical News Today


Published On: November 26, 2012