- Published: November 28, 2012
- Written by Angela Lin
Violence or criminal behavior per se is not one of the symptoms that comprise a diagnosis of ADHD. However, many traits that are characteristic individuals with ADHD do contribute to antisocial activity, including impulsivity and aggression. Studies suggest that ADHD is anywhere from two to ten times more prevalent in the prison population than in the general population (i.e. roughly 10 to 40% of the prison population has ADHD), and research shows that criminal behavior in individuals with ADHD decreases by roughly 30% when the ADHD is treated with medication.1
Of course, since ADHD is not directly the cause of any threat of harm to self or others, the legal system cannot force individuals to comply with medical treatment. However, it is quite possible that some individuals who were never previously diagnosed but struggled with the challenges commonly encountered by those with ADHD in school, the workplace, and general society before ending up on the wrong side of the criminal justice system would be open to the idea of taking medication. Evaluation for and appropriate treatment of ADHD should be a part of the process for reintroducing convicts to general society.
Additionally, pharmacological interventions for patients with ADHD…