ADHD medication may reduce car accident risk

Drivers in New York know that car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. For people with certain medical conditions, taking medication could make driving safer. This point is illustrated by a recent study of crash rates among drivers who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study found that ADHD patients who take medication for the condition may have a significantly lower rate of car accidents than those who do not take medication.

This study indicated that there is a higher rate of car accidents involving drivers who have ADHD than those who do not. ADHD is characterized by difficulty paying attention and being easily distracted. In adults, hyperactivity is not necessarily present as it often is in children, but adults with the disorder are sometimes prone to impulsiveness. Drivers with ADHD may be more inclined to engage in distracted behaviors like answering a phone call or operating the car stereo, according to research.

The authors of the recent study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, identified ADHD through health insurance claims and compared the risk of car crashes in months when patients had filled prescriptions for ADHD treatment medications and months when no prescriptions had been filled. The authors noted that they looked only at emergency room visits after car accidents and not accidents that were fatal or that required no medical treatment.

The study also found that about 83 percent of the ADHD patients identified had been prescribed medication for the condition at least once. Doctors note that medication taken early in the day may have worn off by evening, which is when many car accidents happen.

Every driver faces temptations for distractions when behind the wheel. The law specifies certain activities that are forbidden when driving, such as texting or other cellphone use. When distracted driving leads to someone being injured in a car accident, the distracted driver might be liable for damages whether or not they actually broke any laws.

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