Children Taking ADHD Drugs More Likely to Take Antidepressants as Teens

Adhering to a commonly prescribed medication for ADHD in children is associated with higher chances of being prescribed antidepressants in adolescence.


A team of researchers, led by Nir Madjar and Dan Schlosberg from Israel, hypothesized that greater adherence to methylphenidate (MPH) during early childhood would predict a lower risk of antidepressant (ADM) use in adolescence, but instead found the contrary. The study, published in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, is the first of its kind, spanning a large general population-derived sample over a 12-year follow up. The authors report the primary finding:

“children with high MPH adherence had a 50% higher likelihood for first ADM prescription during adolescence when controlling for the use of other non-ADM psychiatric medications or parental use of ADM.”

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Madjar reviews the prevalence of ADHD as one of the most common psychiatric diagnosis among children. While methylphenidate is a typical long-term treatment approach for children diagnosed with ADHD, the adherence to taking the medication regularly over the long-term is just 37% and 21% of those prescribed the drug for ADHD in childhood terminate medications altogether. After reviewing the existing literature on methylphenidate use for ADHD in children, the authors hypothesized that early adherence would be negatively associated with antidepressant use later on.

“The aim of the current study,” they write, “was to determine the relationship between adherence to MPH, among children diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed MPH in early childhood (i.e. before the age of eight), and future dispensed prescriptions of ADM, addressing the current gaps in the literature, i.e., focus on early childhood MPH onset, using a large sample and longitudinal research design.”

The study examines data from the largest payer-provider healthcare organization in Israel, including individuals born between January 1990 and December 1996 who were first prescribed MPH between ages 6-8 and not prescribed ADM before age 12. Logistic regression was performed to test the association between childhood adherence to MPH and prescription of ADM in adolescence.

The results do not support previous findings and instead, indicate that “children with high MPH adherence had a 50% higher likelihood for first ADM prescription during adolescence when controlling for the use of other non-ADM medications or parental use of ADM.” The authors explain that this could mean ADHD children who adhere to MPH treatment have a higher risk of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety that would warrant ADM treatment in adolescence.

Madjar and colleagues go on to propose possible explanations for this finding:

  1. It is possible that children who need persistent treatment for ADHD during early childhood suffer from more severe dysregulation, which first appears as deficits in attention, hyperactivity, and poor behavioral regulation, and is later manifested also by emotional regulatory dysfunctions (i.e., depression/anxiety).
  2. …some depressive symptoms may appear as irritability among children and adolescents and, therefore, be misdiagnosed as ADHD. For these children, MPH treatment would be ineffective and may lead to earlier onset of clinical mood/anxiety symptoms that may necessitate ADM pharmacotherapy.
  3. It is possible that relatively more persistent consumption of MPH at an early age affects the onset of depression or anxiety.
  4. In our data, we controlled for parental use of any ADM, which may indicate both the genetic risk for depression/anxiety, as well as inclination or awareness to search and use medical therapy… Either the parent’s or child’s satisfaction with the effects of MPH in childhood may increase the likelihood to seek other medical treatment when needed.

While these propositions are backed by prior research, a causal relationship is not clear, and more research is needed to explore nuances within the relationship between childhood adherence to MPH and adolescent use of ADM. The authors point out further limitations to the study, such as their limited access to additional covariates, the relevance of knowing the severity of the ADHD diagnosis but a lack of data thereof, and the absence of private providers’ data which could impact the findings.

Research on the long-term implications of MPH use in children requires more careful attention, further study, and updated information. Madjar, Schlosberg, and colleagues conclude by underscoring the need for research to understand the long-term effects of childhood MPH adherence better:

“This study also emphasizes the need for further large-scale prospective research initiatives such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Drugs Use Chronic Effects (ADDUCE) project, which is a collaborative longitudinal study of the long-term effects of MPH use among children and adolescents currently conducted in Europe.”



Madjar et al. (2019). Childhood methylphenidate adherence as a predictor of antidepressants use during adolescence. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (Link)


  1. I do not think more research is needed. Why not put doctors and pharmacists drug traffickers in jail? There is no objective difference between the trafficking of legal and illegal narcotics. I think the really brutal repression must be used against these people. Something that strikes them with stupor and terror.

    The destruction of drug traffickers by uniform repression, regardless of the “legal” or “illegal” status of the drug, will have an extraordinarily beneficial effect on public health. These people are not necessary to society. Their disappearance in prison will have no negative effect on society. We have everything to gain by not being delicate.

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    • I agree, Sylvain. I think western civilization is experiencing it’s third psychiatric “holocaust” because these “legal” “narcotic” drug pushing psychiatrists never get punished for their, historic and continuing, crimes against humanity. There’s something to be said for eye for an eye justice, and the psychiatrists have sent their clients into a stupor, and terrorized them by making them “psychotic,” with their psychiatric drugs. They do belong in jail. Thanks for speaking the truth.

      And just an FYI, I was terrorized by a “psychosis,” caused by a medically confessed “foul up” with Risperdal in 2002. And that “psychosis” took the form of a supposed struggle with God. Where He showed me that He always delivered justice in my life, via sins of the father justice, which frightened me about God. But He also showed me that He always sent me someone to save me in a time of trouble, as well. I’d rather see eye for an eye judgement and justice brought about, than sins of the father judgement on unethical people’s innocent children.

      So I do agree, these psychiatrists, and their misinformed “mental health” minion, who now function as the “omnipotent moral busy bodies” about whom C. S. Lewis forewarned us.

      Scientific fraud based, money worshipping people, who apparently never learned that holocausting innocents, for the war mongering and profiteering, bailout needing, home stealing, globalist banksters, is unwise behavior. Which is what most of our “mental health” workers are today, thus they are no longer worthy of our respect.

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  2. I notice how these authorities seem to be working hard to deny that the Ritalin might have induced a maladaptive state in the youthful patient group, leaving these individuals more prone to “depression” as their bodies maladapt to the continuing presence of the drug in their systems (similar to the maladaptive state induced by chronic use of amphetamines).

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  3. Another possible explanation for this finding is that once a person is sucked into the “disempowering mental health” system, it’s extraordinarily difficult to break free. This is for lots of reasons, but does include, outright illegal behavior by our overly persistent, “mental health” workers.

    For example, I had a former psychiatrist who illegally listed me as her “out patient” at a hospital I’d never been to, for years, so she could get me medically unnecessarily (based upon a “medically clear” diagnosis) shipped to her a second time. Once I learned about this crime from a health insurance company, who refused to insure my children and I because of this crime. I called that psychiatrist and told her to stop listing me as her patient at a hospital that agreed with me, I’d never been there before.

    That psychiatrist thought she was clever, and started illegally listing me as her “out patient” at the hospital I’d has the misfortune of meeting her. She even had her lackeys call me and ask why I’d missed an appointment, which I had not made with her, and after I’d moved out of state. Her lackeys were quite embarrassed, once they garnered insight into reality.

    Although, I will say that psychiatrist’s partner in crime, was eventually convicted by the FBI. Because he and that psychiatrist had been having lots and lots of people medically unnecessarily shipped long distances to themselves, “snowing” (drugging until only the whites of the eyes show) people, then performing unneeded tracheotomies on people for profit. Although he was only convicted for Medicaid/Medicare fraud, not the crimes he committed against, God knows how many, people.

    So that overly persistent psychiatrist did have covering up her many, many crimes, no doubt against many, many people, as a motive. But I do want to point out that our “mental health” workers do go to extreme levels, including breaking laws, in order to keep people within their “disempowering mental health” system, so that should be listed as another possible explanation for this finding.

    Plus, since the only thing psychiatrists know how to do is look for “the right drug cocktail,” it’s not actually remotely surprising that the ADHD kids are being given the antidepressants. For goodness sakes, they’re also giving these ADHD children the antipsychotics. The psychiatrists don’t care, their diagnoses are not even real diseases. Psychiatry is all just about drugging people forever and ever and ever.

    But, as always, there is a call for more research into their “invalid” and “unreliable” non-diseases.

    As our modern day psychiatric holocaust of the innocents wages on.

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  4. Well of course, those drugs permanently damage the dopaminergic system in the brain. Not even having to adhere to the biochemical-is-all view, the dopaminergic system is certainly important to happiness and joy and especially euphoria. It’s been known for generations, both in society and in science, that most (and to some degree I’m sure it’s all) cocaine users lose their abilities to experience joy in at least the first several years they come off the drug and especially in the first few months. And, of course, ADHD drugs are just pharmaceutical cocaine.

    And many of these ADHD kids will spend their lives abusing drugs that get normal people high, just so they can experience the normal feeling of natural joy, or something similar at least.

    The drugging of children will go down in history as the greatest human atrocity, and for far more many reasons than this too.

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