Pharmacotherapy for pediatric psychiatric disorders may reduce the risk for later substance use disorder (SUD), according to a paper published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. Timothy E. Wilens, MD, and colleagues examined pharmacological treatments of psychiatric disorders in adolescents and young adults and their effect on substance use, misuse, and use disorder development. Studies included 21 on the impact of pharmacotherapy and later SUD in attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), two in major depressive disorder, and three on psychotic disorders. Most studies reported reductions in SUD, followed by no effects and enhanced rates of SUD (14, 10, and two studies, respectively). Earlier-onset and longer treatment duration were associated with the largest risk reduction for later SUD in studies in ADHD. “The fact that the literature shows that juvenile-onset psychiatric disorders are significant risk factors for SUD coupled with our findings that medication treatment reduces that risk affirms that we need to identify and treat psychiatric disorders early in life,” Dr. Wilens said in a statement.
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