Kids With ADHD Want Their Meds

By McCarton Ackerman 10/15/12

Highly controversial ADHD medications receive a ringing endorsement from the kids who take them.

Kids say ADHD meds help them focus.
Photo via

The debate on giving children ADHD medication is fiercely contested on both sides, but the kids themselves seem to be largely in favor of taking the meds. Researchers interviewed 151 American and British kids taking either Adderall or Concerta (a longer-acting version of the same drug). Most of them said that the meds helped them do better in school, and to manage their impulsivity. And most of them disagreed with the claim—made by many who oppose such prescriptions—that the drugs make them feel like "robots." "With medication, it's not that you're a different person. You're still the same person, but you just act a little better," says Angie, an 11-year-old from the US. The research was led by Ilina Singh, a biomedical ethicist from King's College London, who believes that children on the medication are often left out of the debate. "ADHD is a very emotive subject which inspires passionate debate," she says. "Everyone seems to have an opinion about the condition, what causes it, how to deal with children with ADHD, but the voices of these children are rarely listened to. Who better to tell us what ADHD is like and how medication affects them than the children themselves?" An estimated 5 million US kids are diagnosed with ADHD, according to recent FDA figures—a number that has skyrocketed in the last decade.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.