Whilst trying to track down the source of this article on how 7 million Americans have abused ADHD drugs I came across a study about treating cocaine users who have ADHD. There is some evidence linking cocaine use to ADHD but that wasn’t the focus of the research.
98 adults who were receiving treatment for cocaine use and had been diagnosed as having adult ADHD where enrolled on a 12 twelve treatment program for their ADHD. Split into three groups, they were treated either with sustained-release methylphenidate, sustained-release bupropion or a placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment the participants where reassessed on the adult ADHD rating scale and the result were startling. All three treatments worked about the same. Yes all three, including the placebo, a fake drug that does nothing, led to a notable reduction in symptoms.
Whilst the study group of cocaine using adults is not a the mainstream population of adult ADHD sufferers it does demonstrate the striking impact of the placebo effect and how one’s self-belief can dramatically effect behaviour.
Treatment of methadone-maintained patients with adult ADHD: Double-blind comparison of methylphenidate, bupropion and placebo