Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 220–223

Prevalence of ADHD Diagnosis and Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use in Medical Students

  • Jeffrey P. Tuttle
  • Neil E. Scheurich
  • John Ranseen
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.34.3.220

Cite this article as:
Tuttle, J.P., Scheurich, N.E. & Ranseen, J. Acad Psychiatry (2010) 34: 220. doi:10.1176/appi.ap.34.3.220



The authors aimed to determine the prevalence of ADHD diagnosis and the prevalence of nonmedical prescription stimulant use among a sample of medical students.


An anonymous survey was administered to 388 medical students (84.0% return rate) across all 4 years of education at a public medical college.


Eighteen medical students (5.5%) reported being diagnosed with ADHD and 72.2% of those students were diagnosed after the age of 18. Thirty-three medical students (10.1%) reported using prescription stimulants for nonmedical purposes during their lifetime. The most commonly reported motivation for nonmedical prescription stimulant use was to improve academic performance. There was no significant correlation between an ADHD diagnosis and a history of nonmedical prescription stimulant use (p = 0.072).


This survey suggests that medical students appear to be a relatively high-risk population for nonmedical prescription stimulant use.

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey P. Tuttle
    • 1
  • Neil E. Scheurich
    • 2
  • John Ranseen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  2. 2.Five County Mental Health Authority in North CarolinaPuerto Rica

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