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Kids On ADHD Medications Linked To Being Bullied At School

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A recent study found that kids who are on medication to treat their attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at a higher risk of being bullied compared to their peers who do not suffer from ADHD, reports TIME.

ADHD Medications and Bullying

Five thousand students from five different public schools were given a survey. The results revealed that kids who shared their stimulants or had their medications taken from them in the previous year, were four-and-a-half times more likely to be bullied habitually.

“We know that among adolescents in the U.S., prescription stimulants are some of the most misused and shared diverted drugs,” explained lead researcher, Quyen Epstein-Ngo, of the University of Michigan. “We also know that bullying is a real issue. There was some research that suggested that kids were having their medication stolen or were being coerced into giving it away.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of kids between the ages of 14 and 17 who were on some form of ADHD medication had increased from 4.8% in 2007 to 6.1% in 2011.

An estimated 6.4 million children (11%) were diagnosed and treated for ADHD as of 2011.

Other research studies conducted in previous years suggest that kids with ADHD struggle with making new friends, and run a higher risk of dealing with anxiety disorders and substance abuse issues. As a result, these additional mental health issues may increase further risk of bullying. Kids who carry their medications with them are at even greater risk.

“For some children, stimulant medications are immensely helpful in getting through school,” Epstein-Ngo noted in a news release. “This study doesn’t say ‘don’t give your child medication.’ It suggests that it’s really important to talk to your children about who they tell.”

Learn more about the study here: Journal of Pediatric Psychology

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