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ADHD in College Populations - Diagnosing and Dosing in an Era of Diversion

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 1/1/2020

Expiration Date: 1/1/2023

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 1
  • Participation: 1



In the United States, 7.2% of undergraduate college students come to college already receiving prescriptions for stimulant medications and many seek care from college mental health providers for continuation of prescribed medication. The population seeking ADHD treatment for the first time is not homogeneous and requires individualized attention, precluding the use of “one size fits all” prescribing guidelines. Groups posing special challenges include student athletes, professional students (including medical, dental and law students) and minority student populations. There has also been a rise in the misuse of stimulant medications by college populations, currently reported to be around 17%, with a lifetime prevalence between 8 and 43%. Diversion is widespread, and data show that 62% of college students surveyed receiving stimulants divert their medication. At the same time, risk-taking and illegal behaviors are reduced significantly in the 30 days after a stimulant prescription is filled and the benefit of appropriately dosed stimulant medication for people with ADHD is well-documented. On campus stimulant misuse is often associated with the drive to achieve the goals valued by parents, teachers and professional school admissions officers. Students feel unable to sustain attention to dry, dense material and to simultaneously complete multiple assignments while keeping up with activities of daily living. Supplying students with the tools to succeed in academia, both undergraduate and graduate, may involve not only prescribing medications, but also helping them individuate from parents, assimilate different cultures, master stress and time management skills, and cope with comorbid diagnoses. Providers treating college students, both within the institutions and in the community, find themselves with the burden of meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders while correctly identifying and treating those in need. In this session we will review current data, present a balanced perspective and provide a framework for approaching these complex cases. We will also offer insight into specific student populations and the ethical dilemmas that they present.

**This content was captured at the 2019 APA Annual Meeting and may reference information from various sources and terminology from previous editions of the DSM.


  • General Member - $12.50
  • Resident-Fellow Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - $12.50
  • Non-Member - $25.00

This course is no longer free to APA members through the Course of the Month program. Promotional pricing ended January 31, 2020.

Course References

  • Anastopoulos AD, DuPaul GJ, Weyandt LL, Morrissey-Kane E, Sommer JL, Rhoads LH, Murphy KR, Gormley MJ, Gudmundsdottir BG. Rates and patterns of comorbidity among first-year college students with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. 2018 Mar 4;47(2):236-47.
  • Hechtman L, Swanson JM, Sibley MH, Stehli A, Owens EB, Mitchell JT, Arnold LE, Molina BS, Hinshaw SP, Jensen PS, Abikoff HB. Functional adult outcomes 16 years after childhood diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: MTA results. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 1;55(11):945-52.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore and discuss the use of stimulant medications in college and university
  • Identify special populations that require special attention when treating ADHD
  • Establish best-practice guidance when using stimulants in college students

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Residents/Fellows

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 60 minutes
Begin Date: January 1, 2020
End Date: January 1, 2023

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

Program Presenters

  • Gordon Strauss, M.D., Professor, Director of Student Mental Health Services, University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Disclosure: Stock Owner - Allergan, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Cigna, Humana, GlaxoSmilthKline.
  • Aaron Winkler, M.D., Psychiatry Resident, University of Maryland Medical Center. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Diane Gottlieb, M.D., Associate Professor, Drexel University College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Leigh White, M.D., Associate Director, MSU CAPS and Director of Psychiatry Services, Michigan State University. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Bettina Bohle-Frankel, M.D., Staff Psychiatrist, Northwestern University Counseling and Psychological Services. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners

  • Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Director of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Katie Putnam, Membership Development Specialist, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Ally Brown, Senior Program Manager, Online Learning, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

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Hardware/Software Requirements

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Optimal System Configuration:

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  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
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