ADHD Drugs Can Lower Criminal Behavior; Can Medicine Change Society?

By Staff Reporter on November 23, 2012 4:47 PM EST

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Scientists of the Sweden's Karolinska Institutet conducted a study on ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and discovered remarkable results from the collected data.

According to researchers, individuals that receive treatment for their ADHD are less likely to develop criminal behavior. The study included a sampling of 25,000 ADHD individuals over a period of 3 years (2006-2009). Its results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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In a previous study, scientists were able to prove that individuals suffering from ADHD were more likely to commit crimes than others. This discovery led the Karolinska Institutet scientists to see whether a solution to the troubling side-effect exists.

The scientists observed the 25,000 participants while under ADHD medication, out of medication, as well as in a pause between two treatment courses. According to the study, significant evidence indicated that criminal conduct in patients lowered by 32 percent while receiving treatment for ADHD.

The study did not break down the findings based on gender nor on the severity of the crimes performed.

Professor Henrik Larsson of the Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics announced, "We have shown that ADHD medication very probably reduces the risk of crime.

"However, we need to point out that most medical treatments can have adverse side effects, so risks must be weighed up against benefits and the individual patient's entire life situation taken into consideration before medications are prescribed."

While the study only reveals general data, the implementations are important - is it possible to reduce global criminal behavior by the application of science and medicine?

Karolinska Institutet's Professor Paul Lichtenstein says, "Of course the potential pros and cons of each prescription have to be evaluated. What we're saying is that this probable reduction in the risk of crime must also be taken into account. It's said that roughly 30 to 40 per cent of long-serving criminals have ADHD. If their chances of recidivism can be reduced by 30 per cent, it would clearly effect total crime numbers in many societies."

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