Young people's relationship with stimulant medication in the context of an ADHD diagnosis

Tharia, A. (2018) Young people's relationship with stimulant medication in the context of an ADHD diagnosis. D.Clin.Psychol. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Introduction. Research into children and young people’s experience of stimulant medication has been contradictory but suggests that adolescents may have more ambivalent views, and highlights identity issues related to this age group. There is a gap in the UK adolescent experience of stimulant medication. There is also a lack of research into the wider meaning of taking stimulant medication for an ADHD diagnosis.

Aims. The aim of this study was to research how adolescent young people talk about ADHD, medication and themselves using discourse analysis, and how available ways of understanding ADHD and medication may impact on how they make sense of themselves.

Method. This qualitative study employed a semi-structured topic schedule to guide interviews and a focus group with thirteen young people aged 13-17, analysed using discourse analysis. Additionally, leaflets available at child and adolescent services and related websites were analysed.

Results. Four different ways of conceptualising medication were identified, with implications for young people’s sense of agency and control in relation to medication. The majority of participants talked about their un-medicated selves as dangerous, bad and out of control. Participants highlighted dilemmas related to balancing valued aspects of their un-medicated selves, with being in control and ‘safe’ when on medication.

Discussion. Clinicians should engage with the wider meanings of medication with young people, including family beliefs about medication. A focus on medication as a tool, rather than a cure, may empower young people to be decision makers. Clinicians should also be engaging young people in conversations about impact on self, in relation to medication.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ADHD; hyperkinetic disorder; stimulant medication; methylphenidate; psychotropic medication
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R0726.5 Medicine and disease in relation to psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0475 Therapeutics. Psychotherapy
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 15:52
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2018 14:15

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00