From the Editor
Stimulants are commonly prescribed to children with ADHD. Do they protect kids against future substance misuse? Or, having been exposed early to stimulants, are these patients more likely to develop substance problems in adulthood?
Past studies have attempted to answer these questions but have been limited by study design. In a new JAMA Psychiatry paper, Brooke S. G. Molina (of the University of Pittsburgh) and her co-authors take a fresh look. In a cohort study involving 547 students, some of whom were treated with stimulants while others received behavioural therapy during the first period, Molina et al. look at outcomes when these participants are in their mid 20s. “This study found no evidence that stimulant treatment was associated with increased or decreased risk for later frequent use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarette smoking, or other substances used for adolescents and young adults with childhood ADHD.” We consider the study and its implications.
In the second selection, Dr. Juveria Zaheer (of the University of Toronto) discusses patient suicide in a new Quick Takes podcast interview. Focusing on the impact on psychiatrists and residents of psychiatry, she draws from the literature, including a study she recently senior authored for The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. She notes common reactions by psychiatrists and residents, including guilt and shock. And Dr. Zaheer talks about her own experience. “I’ll never forget when it happened.”
And in the third selection, Lucy Foulkes (of the University of Oxford) writes about anxiety and current approaches. In a Guardian essay, she notes her own history as an “anxious teen” and wonders if life is better for today’s adolescents, with awareness campaigns but not necessarily meaningful services. “We are now in a situation where many teens know or believe they are anxious but aren’t getting the help they need to manage it.”
The Reading of the Week has formal partnerships with 14 postgraduate programs and, today, we welcome PGY1s who are joining us from across Canada.