Article from PSYCHIATRIC TIMES
Stimulants have been found to protect youth with ADHD from developing major depression (MD). To ascertain if these effects are relevant to other common comorbid disorders, Dr Joseph Biederman and colleagues examined data from a 10-year, prospective study of white male youth with ADHD ages 6 to 17.
Of the 112 youth who were successfully reascertained at follow-up, 82 (73%) had received stimulant treatment, with a mean treatment duration of six years. In comparison with those who never took stimulants, participants who had received stimulant medication were significantly less likely to subsequently develop MD (24% versus 69% for those who were stimulant naïve), conduct disorder (22% versus 67%), oppositional defiant disorder (40% versus 88%) and multiple anxiety disorders (7% versus 60%). Children receiving stimulant therapy also had significantly lower lifetime rates of grade retention as compared to their counterparts who never received stimulants (26% versus 63%). Although parents from the non-stimulant group reported a significantly higher rate of bipolar disorder, the risk difference was not statistically significant.
The researchers concluded that these findings further enhance the claim of stimulants’ protective effects and hypothesized that “Efficacious stimulant therapy may interrupt the pathogenic trajectory leading toward other disorders.”