By Jean-Paul Salamanca ( | First Posted: Oct 15, 2012 05:49 PM EDT

A new study headed by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh, from King's College London in the United Kingdom, shows that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) say they feel more in control of themselves when taking stimulants like Ritalin to treat their condition.
(Photo : Youtube/ADHD Voices)

A new study shows that children with hyperactivity problems aren't feeling like robots after taking Ritalin and other related stimulants for treatment-instead, it makes them feel like they have more control.

The research was conducted at King's College London, a London-based public research university, and involved interviewing children from 151 families in Britain and the U.S. to examine the ethical and societal issues around such hyperactivity and attention disorders, particularly the use of drugs such as Ritalin for treatment.

According to the study, that data-which focused on asking children taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD-many of the children examined said that medication helped them control their impulsive behavior and make better decision.

"With medication, it's not that you're a different person. You're still the same person, but you just act a little better," Angie, an 11-year-old from the United States who took part in the study, said in the study, as reported by Reuters.

The concept of using medication such as stimulants to control impulsive or angry behavior among children with attention or hyperactivity disorders has been criticized by critics in the past; such children, they argue, need understanding and psychological therapy, not drugs.

However, biomedical ethicist Dr. Ilina Singh of King's College London-who spearheaded the research, a study called The ADHD VOICES - Voices on Identity, Childhood, Ethics and Stimulants-believes that with a correct diagnosis, the use of stimulants to treat children with ADHD is not only appropriate, but it can be beneficial.

""ADHD is a very emotive subject, which inspires passionate debate. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the condition, what causes it, and how to deal with children with ADHD, but the voices of these children are rarely listened to," explains Dr. Singh in a statement released Monday by Wellcome Trust, a UK charitable group that funded the study. "Who better to tell us what ADHD is like and how medication affects them than the children themselves?"

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders in the United States, the Huffington Post reports. In the U.S., an average 9 percent of children between the ages of five and 17 are diagnosed with it each year. In Britain experts estimate that between 5 and 10 percent of children and adolescents have ADHD.

In her research, Dr. Singh found that children often did not understand their condition or why they were receiving medication, and many children in the study reported that they had little meaningful contact with their doctors. After the initial evaluation, clinic visits tended to focus on side-effect checks, during which children were weighed and measured, and most children were not asked any questions during these visits.

The report concludes with several recommendations for how parents, doctors and teachers can help children cope with and better understand ADHD, and begin to tackle the stigma around the illness.

Professor Peter Hill, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, said through the Wellcome Trust group that he hoped the study would inspire people to think differently about ADHD.

"Behaving differently around these children is the main challenge," he said. "We hope that the strategies we have outlined will help improve the interactions with these children and help improve their lives."

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