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Children don’t think that stimulant drugs for ADHD rob them of their “authenticity” and moral responsibility

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 15 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6947
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Claims by some observers that stimulant drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rob children of their “authenticity” and moral responsibility have been refuted by a study that was based on interviews with patients.

Responses from 151 children in the United Kingdom and the United States showed that those who were taking stimulants believed that the drugs helped them pause rather than lash out so that they made better decisions and had more control over their behaviour.

Ilina Singh, reader in bioethics and society at King’s College, London, carried out the ADHD VOICES (voices on identity, childhood, ethics, and stimulants) study to investigate some of the controversies over treatment with stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate.1

The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, involved interviews with children aged between 9 and 14 years who were either taking stimulants for ADHD, had a diagnosis but were not currently taking treatment (they …

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