ADHD Disorder in Juvenile Delinquents

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Updated: Sep 07, 2023
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There are many mental disorders that juvenile offenders exhibit. The most common behavioral disorder found in juvenile delinquents is ADHD (Rouse and Goldstein 1999). Like all children that act in the moment and don’t think about future consequences, youth with ADHD have little self-control (Rouse and Goldstein 1999). Researchers found that children with attention deficit disorder are at a higher risk for substance abuse such as alcohol, marijuana, tobacco etc. (Sibley et al. 2014) In their study results they found that participants of ages 5 to 18 that had ADHD along with conduct disorder were five times more likely than the controlled group to continue using drugs once exposed to it at an early age (Sibley et al .

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2014). Hastard and Sharon (2014) found the same when they conducted their study they found that although they are prescribed controlled medication and get behavioral therapy at an early age they still at high risk for substance abuse disorders (Hastard and Sharon 2014). On the other hand, Zheng et al (2014) found that the opposite about long-term effects of stimulant ADHD medication on the development of substance abuse (Zheng et al. 2014). In their study, they studied individuals that were born from the years of 1960 up until 1998 and connected it with substance related crimes, deaths, in the 2000’s (Zheng et al. 2014). They found that ADHD medication was not associated with increased substance abuse (Zheng et al. 2014). In this study compared to others that are more recent they found that ADHD medication was not in correlation with increased risk of substance abuse.

Lastly, repeated offenses are something common for the juvenile delinquents with ADHD. In this study, they discovered a relationship with ADHD and the repetition in offenses. They also where curious to see if detention facilities have any impact on the youth with ADHD. They found that offenders with ADHD that had contact with detainment facilities are interrelated with rearrests (Gordon et al 2012). They also found that because youth with ADHD lack attention in proceeds in the criminal court (Gordon et al 2012). They are also less likely to follow non-commitment sanctions and are more likely to become reconvicted than youth with no ADHD (Gordon et al 2012).

Youth with ADHD come into contact with the juvenile system at a higher rate than other youth (Rouse and Golstein 1999). Youth with ADHD have conduct behavioral problems and have a harder time in school. They also have a hard time becoming accepted by their peers. Youth with ADHD have a higher risk for substance abuse. Youth with ADHD can have a very hard time growing up. We must help them break the cycle and help them stay away from the juvenile system. We should have more programs for kids with ADHD. The schools and the justice system should be required to take courses on how to handle kids with ADHD. Especially the juvenile justice system should make it a priority to help properly adjudicate a juvenile offender with ADHD.

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ADHD Disorder in Juvenile Delinquents. (2019, Jul 29). Retrieved from