Teens should think twice if they believe the negative effects from misusing medication to treat ADHD are short-term. In fact, problems associated with prescription stimulant misuse can last through age 35, according to a new University of Michigan study.
But using medication to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as prescribed by doctors does not show long-term negative effects.
However, high school students who use prescription stimulant medication on their own—without a doctor’s orders—are less likely to obtain a four-year college degree and more likely to develop a substance use disorder as adults. In contrast, no such effects are seen among those who only use medication as prescribed. The analyses included several controls for possible confounds, including use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs during adolescence, and high school GPA.
Past studies have examined the increased risk of short-term consequences, such as headaches, sleep problems, substance-related problems and academic difficulties, when…