Stimulants and conduct disorder

A recent study of 84 children revealed that Ritalin may improve symptoms of conduct disorders in children. Two-thirds of the children in the study had been diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as conduct disorder. The children, 6 to 15 years of age, were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 60 mg of Ritalin daily for five weeks. The drug did make a difference. Children’s behavior was evaluated by parents, teachers and clinic professionals in direct classroom observations. Observations of¬†antisocial behavior specific to conduct disorder were significantly reduced by Ritalin. Even when the severity of ADHD symptoms was controlled, there was a significant positive effect on conduct from Ritalin. Researchers concluded that Ritalin has short-term positive effect on some aspects of antisocial behavior.

Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume 54, 1997.

Published in ERN April 1998 Volume 11 Number 4

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