Scientists have stated that criminal behavior in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drops dramatically when they take stimulants such as Ritalin to help them control their impulses.
An analysis of more than 25,000 people with ADHD (a mental disorder characterized by absent-mindedness, impulsivity and sometimes aggressiveness) found that the number of crimes they committed was about a third lower among those taking medication. Past international studies show that up to two-thirds of young offenders and half of prison inmates suffered from ADHD during childhood. Many of them may still have symptoms.
Previous research has shown that people with ADHD have, on average, lower education and income, higher unemployment, divorce, and substance abuse. But until now, it was not clear to health experts how drugs might affect crime rates.
British and Swedish scientists have conducted a new study that showed that patients who went through periods of ADHD medication significantly reduced their risk of becoming involved in criminal activities during this period.
“The bottom line is that the drugs have led to a 32 percent reduction in male crime and a 41 percent reduction in female crime,” said Sienna Fasel , a forensic psychiatrist at the University of Oxford in the UK, who presented the results at a briefing in London.
The results showed that encouraging people with ADHD to take medication can help reduce crime and relapse. Considering that roughly 40% of senior criminals suffer from ADHD, a 30% reduction in their criminal activity would clearly be of great benefit to society as a whole.