June 07, 2016
A common concern among caring parents is that treatment for ADHD with stimulant medication such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) or dextroamphetamine (Adderall) will lead to addiction and substance abuse in the teen years. http://www.currentpsychiatry.com/home/article/do-stimulants-for-adhd-increase-the-risk-of-substance-use-disorders/aeff7b1bc2f03475bfdad4cd7e0fd91d.html ,
While this is a valid question, the evidence based answer clearly is “no”, stimulants do NOT lead to substance abuse. Multiple studies over the years continue to demonstrate the stimulants substantially lower the risk for substance abuse. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14529324. http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(16)30099-5/abstract.
In fact, UNTREATED ADHD children have higher risk for substance abuse than peers in the same age group; treatment with stimulants reduces the risk for kids with ADHD back to the rate seen in the general population.
Bottom line, if you and your doctor decide to treat ADHD with stimulant meds, you do not need to worry you are putting them at risk for later substance abuse or addiction.