Treating ADHD could reduce re-offending rates


Previous research has found that people who have been diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are significantly more likely than the general population to commit a crime. Latest findings suggest that appropriately treating the condition dramatically reduces re-offending rates.

Experts and supporters of the research have argued it is critical to spend money on treating the condition appropriately to save money in the long term and reduce criminal activity.

ADHD is generally considered to be a disorder that affects children with as many as 7 percent of children in the UK meeting the criteria of a diagnosis. The behavioural condition is marked by impulsiveness and extreme difficulty maintaining concentration on one task for any length of time.

The research which was conducted by a Swedish group of psychologists and pharmacists looked at medical and social data of 25,000 people in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD.

The researchers confirmed that adults with ADHD were significantly more likely to commit a crime compared to adults without the condition. 37 percent of men with ADHD in the sample had committed a criminal offence compared to 9 percent without the behaviour disorder. Although the rates were lower for women with the disorder 15 percent compared to only 2 percent of women without the condition, it is clear to see there is a correlation between ADHD and an increased tendency to partake in criminal activity.

The most groundbreaking element of the research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when individuals took their prescribed medication for the behavioural disorder, they were up to 41 percent less likely to be convicted of a crime than when they were not on medication for a period of at least six months.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found when people took their medication they were 32-41% less likely to be convicted of a crime than when they were off medication for a period of six months or more.

This research is very encouraging; it could be now be time to establish if other means of treating the disorder could also have the same affect on the correlation with criminal behaviour.