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Severe Attention Disorder Linked with Drug Abuse

Jasbird Jasbird#dead-mail-box# at myrealbox.com
Mon Aug 18 02:24:22 EST 2003


Severe Attention Disorder Linked with Drug Abuse

Sunday, August 17, 2003 6:48 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity
disorder are more likely to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs, U.S.
researchers reported on Sunday.

It could be because children with the disorder -- called ADHD -- have
trouble paying attention, have problems at school and difficulty with
relationships with friends and family. This, in turn, could make them
susceptible to abusing drugs and alcohol, the researchers said.

It also shows it is important to diagnose and treat ADHD early, the
researchers write in the August issue of the Journal of Abnormal

Psychologists Brooke Molina of the University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine and William Pelham of the State University of New York at
Buffalo compared 142 teen-agers aged 13 to 18 who had been diagnosed
with ADHD to 100 children without ADHD.

They looked for antisocial behavior reported by the teachers and
parents and questioned the children.

Children with ADHD had a higher risk of abusing alcohol and heavier
drugs, and were more likely to smoke, at younger ages, than non-ADHD
children, they found.

"Childhood ADHD symptoms, particularly the inattention dimension of
ADHD, predicted later substance use to a greater degree than childhood
antisocial behaviors," Molina said in a statement.

About 72 percent of the children still had ADHD as teens and they
reported getting drunk more often and more cigarette smoking than
adolescents without childhood ADHD.

"A child may begin having poor academic performance and peer
difficulties and then gravitate toward nonconformist peer groups as an
adolescent where substance abuse is accepted as a way of life," said

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited. 

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