Non-Western Parents Shun Stimulants for ADHD Kids

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Children are less likely to be treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with stimulant medication if their parents were born in non-Western countries.

Researchers examined more than 600,000 people born in Western Australia between 1980 and 2008. Of that number, 13,555 — or 2% — were diagnosed with ADHD and used stimulants to treat symptoms.

Further analysis found that 80% of those treated with stimulants had parents who were born in Australia, North America or Europe, while just 5% of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD and who received stimulants had parents born in Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Africa, the researchers reported in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Manonita Ghosh, a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia in Perth and the study’s lead researcher, said that children whose father was born in Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Africa were the least likely to receive drug treatment.

“There is some evidence to suggest that mothers tend to rate levels of ADHD symptoms as more serious than fathers, and also that fathers are more likely to perceive erratic or difficult behaviors as a normal part of child development, especially in relation to their sons,” she said in a statement.

Ghosh added that cultural differences may explain why children of parents born in non-Western countries were less likely to be treated with stimulants for ADHD.

Non-Western Parents Shun Stimulants for ADHD Kids
Non-Western Parents Shun Stimulants for ADHD Kids

Children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) whose parents were born in non-Western countries are less likely to be treated with stimulant medication compared with their Western counterparts.

Local researchers examined data from more than 600,000 people born in WA between 1980 and 2007 and found 13,555 (or 2% of) children or adolescents diagnosed with ADHD used stimulants to treat the symptoms.

In breaking down the data, they found 5% (or 734 children) treated with stimulants for ADHD had parents born in Africa, Asia, the Middle East or South America.

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