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ADHD Medication in Islam

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 by in Question and Answer, Wellbeing | 2 comments

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Question: Can a Muslim use ADHD medicine?

Answer: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a particular condition that affects one’s behaviour or development. It is a behavioural disorder, not an illness or sign of low intelligence. Although there is controversy regarding, it is a medically and psychologically accepted behavioural disorder. But, the disorder has to be diagnosed by a trustworthy and competent medical professional, not a parent or family member, before medicine can be administered.

The common problems that a person inflicted with ADHD face are:

  • Inattention: having difficulty concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything
  • Impulsivity: talking over the top of others, having a short fuse, bend accident prone
  • Overactivity: constant restlessness and fidgeting

There are a few medicine strategies that can be taken. Normally stimulants, of the psychostimulas class, are given to treat this disorder. Stimulants work in treating the patent 70-80 percent of the time by causing quick and dramatic improvements in behaviour. Common stimulants that are used are: Adderall, Concerta, Dexadrine, Focalin, Metadate, Methylin, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Daytrana, and Quaillivant. The common side-effects that ADHD patients have from these medications are: decreased appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, headaches, jitteriness.

If stimulants are not providing the desired effect or if the side-effects are too unpleasant the medical professional may opt to administer a non-stimulant alternative. Some common non-stimulant alternatives are: atomexetine, clonidine, and guanfacine.

Stimulants are normally considered intoxicants and fall into the category of prohibition for recreational use in the Islamic view. That means, a non ADHD patient would not be able to take this medicine in order to get high. But, such drugs are permitted for medical use. Refer to the following verdicts:

In Practical Laws of Islam, Sayyid Khamenei was asked “Is it permissible to use narcotic drugs for the treatment of diseases? And assuming that it is permissible, is it absolutely permissible or in case that it is the only way of treatment?” (Question 1393) His answer was: “There is no objection to it provided that the treatment and the eventual recovery are dependent on their use and it is prescribed by a trustworthy physician.”

Sayyid Sistani: “By considering the serious harm of narcotic drugs, it is forbidden to use them…except for medical purposes and the like; in the latter case, it can be used only to the extent of need.”

The determination of the treatment or recovery being attributed to a certain drug falls on the shoulders of the trustworthy physician. Likewise, determining the extent of the need. And Allah knows best.

Answered by Shaykh Hamid Waqar

2 Comments

  1. My daughter has ADHD and has to take medication to get through the day at school. This is the first year that she would fast that Ramadan will start before school is out. Can she make up the days or give charity for the days she misses fasting due to medication? She can’t take it as early as suhoor. She also can’t actively participate in classes and final exams without it. Thank you for any info on this matter.

    • Salaams, if it is necessary than she can take it and would have to make the fasts up. You would have to consult with a psychologist to determine whether it is necessary or not.

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