Hyperactive Kids in More Danger from CigarettesChildren with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than others to smoke in adulthood.
Indeed, the more severe the ADHD symptoms in childhood, the earlier cigarette use starts, and the heavier the smoking is likely to be -- thereby substantially increasing the risk of death or serious disability from the smoking.
Ritalin, a drug taken by many ADHD children to help control the problem and improve concentration, has been found in animal studies to intensify the desire for stimulants. Nicotine is a stimulant.
"That might make them biologically, susecptible," says psychologist Nadine Lambert, University of California, Berkley, who reported on her study at the American Psychological Association meeting in Toronto.
The study also showed tha ADHD kids are also most likely to use cocaine or other stmulant drugs. This is not surprising, since nicotine has frequently been called the "gateway drug" because taking up its use in cigarette or chewing tobacco greatly multiplies the chances that a teen will go on to use illegal drugs.
Indeed, the U.S. Surgeon General has reported that:
Other studies show that:
The severity of ADHD symptoms in childhood also predicts the amount of stimulant and cocaine use.
Lembert began a study of 492 grade school children, about one-third with ADHD, in the late '60s.
She says cigarettes can improve mental focusing, a problem for kids with this disorder, so they may be "self-medicating" on nicotine in order to aid their concentration.
Parents whose youngsters show ADHD - or children who taken Ritalin for any reason - should be especially forceful in urging their children not be try smoking, and to carefully monitor them for signs that they may have already taken it up.
Teachers, neighbors, and friends of such parents can help by showing them a copy of this posting.ComPortOne Health & Fitness Page
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