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Report Probes Overdose Deaths Among Teens on ADHD Medication

March 16, 2022More than a quarter of teens who overdosed on medications used to treat anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had received a recent medical prescription for benzodiazepines or psychostimulants, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. 1For the study, researchers studied data from the commercial claims database on privately insured youth aged 15 to 24 who overdosed on benzodiazepines or stimulants in emergency rooms between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018.

Researchers then compared the data with prescription records to determine which patients had a doctor’s prescription for the medication. Benzodiazepines and stimulants are commonly prescribed ADHD medications.Findings show that, among those who overdosed on benzodiazepines (2,987 youth), 29% had a prescription for the drug in the previous month before overdosing, and 42% obtained a prescription six months prior.

Twenty-five percent received a prescription for stimulants one month before overdosing (971 youth), and 39% received a doctor-written prescription six months earlier.The researchers also found that youths who had intentionally overdosed were more likely to have recent medication prescriptions than were youth who had accidentally overdosed. Further, more than half of benzodiazepine overdoses (56%) were intentional compared with 40% of stimulant overdoses.“These findings highlight the need for physicians to assess youth for self-injury risk who are prescribed benzodiazepines and stimulants, and the need for varying efforts to prevent intentional and unintentional overdoses,” said Greta Bushnell, Ph.D., MSPH, a co-author of the study.

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March 16, 2022More than a quarter of teens who overdosed on medications used to treat anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had received a recent medical prescription for benzodiazepines or psychostimulants, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. 1For the study, researchers studied data from the commercial claims database on privately insured youth aged 15 to 24 who overdosed on benzodiazepines or stimulants in emergency rooms between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018.
March 11, 2022Two years ago today, the World Health Organization formally characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. Inside a week, workplaces, schools, places of worship, and most unessential stores had shuttered; we were all thrown into psychological vertigo.

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Study: COVID-19 Disproportionately Harms Youth with ADHD
January 31, 2022 COVID-19 has disproportionately damaged the lives and behaviors of children with ADHD, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.1 Though children with ADHD are no more likely than their peers to test positive for COVID-19, they are more likely to experience pandemic-related sleep problems, family conflict, fear of infection, and academic setbacks, the research found.A groundbreaking study on the broader mental health implications of the pandemic, the research examined 620 youth with ADHD and 614 individually matched controls who participated in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development study to determine their risk for COVID-19 and their differing experiences with pandemic life, among other factors.Though their caregivers reported observing significantly more COVID-19 symptoms, children with ADHD were no more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than were children without the disorder.  When compared to controls, children with ADHD were more likely to break rules related to COVID-19 restrictions and to experience the following:No significant differences were found between the two groups regarding using screens, engaging in physical exercise, and following a daily schedule.The authors of the study found that children with ADHD were less responsive to protective environmental variables like parental monitoring and school engagement, and they concluded that students with ADHD may need more specialized support during in-person school.
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