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Medication reduces car crash risk among ADHD patients

Nevada residents should know that those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder suffer from inattention and impaired impulse control and are thus more prone to auto accidents. A study of more than 2.3 million people conducted back in 2017 and published in JAMA Psychiatry shows, however, that medicated ADHD patients are much less likely to be in a crash that non-medicated individuals.

The 2.3 million people were all ADHD patients 18 and older. More than 1.9 million had received at least one prescription for ADHD medication. Researchers compared the number of crash-related emergency room visits during the time these patients were driving to the number of such visits when patients had no prescription filled. They also compared the results to a control group of age-matched and sex-matched drivers with no ADHD diagnosis.

Ultimately, researches estimated that 22.1 percent of the car crashes could have been avoided through medication. Male ADHD patients were 38 percent less likely, and female patients 42 percent less likely, to crash while medicated.

Of course, the level of impulsivity and inattention varies between patients. Some even question the need for medication once a person reaches adulthood, saying that practicing driving early on will help make the routine easier for ADHD patients. In most cases, though, medication together with behavior therapy or some other psychosocial treatment may be necessary to keep ADHD patients safe on the road.

Failing to take reasonable steps to keep a medical condition under control may be a form of negligence in a driver. If a medical condition becomes a factor in a car accident, the other side may be able to file an injury claim against that driver's auto insurance company. In a successful case, the insurance company might award the plaintiff damages that cover legitimate losses like vehicle damage and medical expenses. A lawyer may assist with the negotiation and other steps.

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