New Study Shows Kids With ADHD Don’t Improve Long-Term Grades WIth Medication


A new study finds that kids diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder that take ADHD medicine won’t see much results in school performance, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Despite studies that have shown that medicine such as Ritalin and Adderall increase attention span and concentration, little evidence supports the idea that it cognitively enhances overall grades and performance of ADHD-diagnosed students in the long run.

The National Bureau of Economic Research took a study on medication usage in Quebec and found that boys who were on medication over an average span across 11 years actually performed worse than those who weren’t on medication. Girls taking the medication had more emotional problems.

The possibility that [medication] won’t help them [in school] needs to be acknowledged and needs to be closely monitored,” economics professor Janet Currie, and director of the Center for Health & Wellbeing at Princeton University, told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.7 million kids were taking medication for ADHD in the U.S. as of 2007. Another interesting statistic reveals that 15% to 20% of all ADHD medicine in the U.S. is diverted or shared with people who don’t have a prescription. However, it is unclear and not easy to tell if those that aren’t diagnosed with ADHD who take the medication see an improvement with grades.

Still, kids who have ADHD and take medications do significantly better than those who are diagnosed and don’t take medication.

The Wall Street Journal writes, “Other studies have shown that kids who take ADHD medication and study early for an exam tend to do just as well, if not better, than kids without ADHD. But those who take medication and study at the last minute don’t do any better.

Together, these findings suggest that medication alone isn’t enough to improve academic performance. The medicine may help with focus, but it doesn’t help with deciding what to focus on, experts say. Rather, it needs to be coupled with skills training, such as learning how to organize or prioritize.”