Young People’s Experience of ADHD and Stimulant Medication: A Qualitative Study for the NICE Guideline



Background:  The NICE ADHD Guideline Group found a lack of research evidence on young people’s experiences with stimulant medications. The present study was commissioned to help fill this gap in the evidence base and to inform the Guideline.

Method:  Focus groups and 1:1 interviews with 16 UK young people with ADHD.

Results:  Young people were positive about taking medication, feeling that it reduced their disruptive behaviour and improved their peer relationships. Young people experienced stigma but this was related more to their symptomatic behaviours than to stimulant drug medication.

Conclusions:  The study’s findings helped to inform the NICE guideline on ADHD by providing evidence that young people’s experiences of medication were in general more positive than negative. All NICE Guidelines involving recommendations for the treatment of young people should draw on research evidence of young people’s experiences of treatments.