Characteristics of Clients Prescribed Ritalin and Referred for Alcohol/Drug Use Assessment

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Education


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Thel Pearson, Ph.D.


Eldon Edmundson, Ph.D.


John Jensen, Ph.D.


One area of the alcohol/drug field with numerous overlaps into the other disciplines is the diagnosed alcohol/drug problem client who has also been diagnosed as hyperactive and treated with prescribed Ritalin. These are further complicated by family histories of alcohol/drug problems which introduce genetic and environmental factors to be considered in the diagnosis and treatment.

p>The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics of clients who had been prescribed Ritalin and were later referred for alcohol/drug use assessment.

Thirty case histories were randomly selected for outpatient alcohol/drug clients files. Data from the client records provided a chronological, longitudinal history, which included: behaviors; signs and symptoms; social, health and medication histories; arrest records; and alcohol/drug use inventories.

The data were organized around four areas of study: 1) the basic descriptive data of the sample population; 2) a selected social history; 3) selected health criteria; 4) alcohol/drug use characteristics and prior alcohol/drug treatments.

The data collected from this subgroup led to seven observations which are recommended for further study: 1) significant histories of characteristics of high risk children; 2) a high rate of family histories of alcohol/drug abuse; 3) a more rapid, intense progression of alcohol/drug symptoms than the traditional alcohol/drug outpatient client; 4) a high rate of reported acts or convictions of violence; 5) a high drop out rate from primary and secondary educational systems; 6) multi-diagnosis and treatments for the same signs and symptoms; and 7) reported prescribed Ritalin use prior to the onset of experimental alcohol/drug use.

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