Treatment for hyperactivity can reduce crime

Medications help reduce concentration and impulsiveness problems.

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involved in crimes are less likely to re-offend if they receive medication, a study reveals.

Previous studies have shown that people with ADHD are more likely to commit crimes than the general population.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm say that giving these individuals better access to medication can reduce crime and save money.

In the UK, 3% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and 50% of these continue to have the disorder into adult life.

People with the disorder face problems with concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

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Estimates suggest that between 7 and 40% of individuals in the criminal justice system may suffer from ADHD and similar disorders,

although in many cases the disease has not been formally recognized.

Karolinska scientists analyzed data from more than 25,000 people with ADHD in Sweden.

They found that those with the disorder were more likely to commit crimes

(37% of men and 15% of women) than adults without the disorder (9% of men and 2% of women).

organized life

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that

when people took medication they were 32 to 41 percent less likely to be convicted of a crime than

when they were without treatment for a period of six months. or more.

Dr. Seena Fazel, one of the study’s authors, says the medications can reduce impulsive decisions

and allow a person to better organize their life, which leads to staying in a job and staying in a relationship.

Many children diagnosed with ADHD continue with the disorder into their adult lives.

Another of the authors, Professor Paul Lichtenstein, states: “It is said that approximately 30% to 40% of criminals with long sentences have ADHD.”

“If their chances of reoffending can be reduced by 30%, this would clearly have an effect on overall crime numbers in many societies.”

For his part, Professor Philip Asherson, a psychiatrist and president of the Adult ADHD Network in the UK,

who was not involved in the study, said: “We want people to be able to make their own decisions and have personal responsibility,

nobody is forcing you to take drugs.

According to the expert, it costs between $150 and $470 a month to treat a person with ADHD with medication,

and when the costs of unemployment and the criminal justice system are taken into account, these “far exceed” the costs of treatment.

But he warns that the side effects of the drugs used, such as Ritalin, must be taken into account.

“Not to think about it”

Andrea Bilbow, founder of the National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service, comments:

“Of course, there are many people with ADHD in the population who are not involved in crime.”

“But for some individuals with the disorder, if they are not treated themselves they will treat themselves with street drugs.”

“Referring an adult to specialist services can cost about $2,400.

If we compare this to the amount of money we could save by keeping people out of prison, it would be a no-brainer,” he says.

The researchers looked at a variety of crimes, from misdemeanors to violent crimes,

and found a reduction in all of them when people took medication.

The authors acknowledge that when treatment is offered the person also receives

more attention from other support services and this, they say, could also contribute to the reduction of criminal behavior.

Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatry, welcomes the study.

She says that “in an era where psychological therapies are prevalent, this reminds us that medication can also have a positive impact.”

The study’s authors say that ADHD can exist alongside other disorders, such as behavioral disorders,

and therefore more research is needed to better understand how these contribute to criminal behavior.

The researchers believe their study findings may apply to many other countries

where rates of ADHD in children and prescription medication are similar to Sweden.