An increasing number of people are going to psychiatric wards for symptoms of psychosis after being prescribed stimulant ADHD medication, according to the chief physician of Landspítali’s emergency department.
Stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have been prescribed three times as much in Iceland compared to other Nordic countries. Sales of such drugs have increased by 170 percent over the past decade. One in twenty Icelanders uses such medication, reports Vísir.
“People are coming in with psychotic symptoms that we associate with being given these stimulants for ADHD. We have been seeing that this seems to be increasing considerably,” says Halldóra Jónsdóttir, chief physician of Landspítali’s emergency department.
Halldóra says that psychosis can have a great impact on people’s lives.
“People like this lose a certain amount of control over their lives when they go into psychosis, and we have seen many who have had to go to psychiatric wards and therefore temporarily lost their job or studies. Fortunately, most people recover but can not continue to take the drugs,” she says.
Halldóra says that due to this increase, the hospital will launch a study on the connection between ADHD stimulants and psychosis. She expects the results to be published next year.
ADHD drugs contain dopamine, she says, and if the chemical reaches levels that are too high, the person can go into psychosis or depression.
Halldóra believes that it is necessary to look at prescriptions for such drugs. “Perhaps there are more ways to help people with ADHD than these stimulants. There are also other drugs,” says Halldóra.
This article has been updated from the original version to correct the amount of stimulant prescriptions.
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