Feigning ADHD and stimulant misuse among Dutch university students

Anselm B. M. Fuermaier*, Oliver Tucha, Janneke Koerts, Lara Tucha, Johannes Thome, Frank Faltraco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing number of university students seeking diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and findings of an increased stimulant misuse among university students, has raised concerns regarding the credibility of the symptoms of those students. However, most of our current knowledge refers to university students in North America and less is known about this issue on European campuses. The present survey aimed to collect opinions on feigning ADHD and to estimate the prevalence of stimulant misuse among 1071 university students in the Netherlands. The majority of students expressed liberal attitudes towards feigning ADHD. Also, a substantial number of respondents considered feigning ADHD themselves or know someone who feigns ADHD. Furthermore, 68% of students assumed benefits of taking stimulants without prescription and 16% have indeed already taken stimulants without prescription. Feigning ADHD and misuse of prescription medication are prevalent issues among Dutch students. The results underline the need for a careful diagnostic evaluation of individuals for ADHD. Furthermore, efforts are required in order to prevent stimulant drug trafficking and misuse among university students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079–1084
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Early online date13-Jan-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2021


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