Prenatal use of methamphetamine is associated with behavior problems in children as young as 3 years. The study, “Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Childhood Behavior Problems at 3 and 5 Years of Age,” in the April 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 19) used maternal self-reporting and/or meconium results to determine prenatal methamphetamine use as part of a prospective, longitudinal study. The authors found that children as young as age 3 had an increased risk of emotional reactivity and anxiety/depression. By age 5, children prenatally exposed to methamphetamine were at higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The authors conclude that early detection of specific methamphetamine-associated behavioral syndromes, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and emotional volatility, could lead to the development of better prevention and intervention programs for these children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)