If a child is diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), will he or she eventually outgrow it or continue with the condition into adulthood?
A new study shows that nearly 30% will continue to struggle with ADHD, and may develop other mental health issues.
"We suffer from the misconception that ADHD is just an annoying childhood disorder thats over treated," researcher William Barbaresi, MD, of Boston Childrens Hospital, says in a prepared statement. "This couldnt be further from the truth. We need to have a chronic-disease approach to ADHD as we do for diabetes. The system of care has to be designed for the long haul."
The study included 5,700 adults. Two groups were created: one group had been diagnosed during childhood with ADHD, and the other group grew up without ADHD.
Out of 367 participants who had childhood ADHD, 232 were followed into adulthood. At age 27, nearly 30% had adult ADHD.
Researchers also found that nearly 57% of the adults with childhood ADHD had at least one other mental health issue. 35% of the adults without childhood ADHD also had one or more mental health issues.
Substance abuse or dependence (26%), antisocial personality disorder (17%), other substance abuse/dependence (16%), hypomanic episodes (15%), anxiety disorder (14%) and major depression (13%) were the most common mental health issues experienced by adults diagnosed with childhood ADHD.
The researchers noted that death from suicide was nearly five times higher in this group.
Among all 367 adults with childhood ADHD, seven (1.9%) had died, three of them from suicide. Of 4,946 people without ADHD, only 37 (0.7%) had died, five by suicide.
Ten people whod had childhood ADHD (2.7%) were in jail at the time of recruitment for the study.
This study "speaks to the need to greatly improve the long-term treatment of children with ADHD and provide a mechanism for treating them as adults," r
Drugs given to help manage ADHD can be very effective when they are prescribed for kids who have been properly diagnosed. However, when these drugs are prescribed as study aids they can become addictive and can produce serious cardiac risks.
Dr. William D. Graf, professor of pediatrics and neurology at Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, and five colleagues became concerned when they noticed the increasing number of physicians prescribing ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall- to perfectly healthy children.
The dramatic increase in the number of children taking stimulants and other "study drugs," as they are popularly known, seems to back up his anecdotal evidence.
The Yale doctors have publicly taken a position on this topic in a paper that offers guidance to physicians and discusses the ethics of prescribing stimulant drugs to children who do not have ADHD in order to help them do better in school.
The paper suggests that physicians have a moral obligation to prevent misuse of medication.
It concludes that the practice of "neuroenhancements" isn't justifiable. It adds that the prescription of these drugs is inadvisable because of "numerous social, developmental, and professional integrity issues."
"We are a highly competitive society, and we know some physicians are prescribing these at a parent's request," Graf said. "Other parents have told us they felt doctors pushed these drugs on their children."
Several studies have looked at the increase number of students who are taking study drugs. A 2004 study notes that in some U.S. schools "the proportion of boys taking methylphenidate (Ritalin) exceeds the highest estimates of the prevalence of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder."
Another study suggests that about 16% of the population of some high schools and colleges use prescription drugs as study aids.
Other college professors have noticed the increase in college students
A new study from Scotland suggests that the more you talk to and interact with your baby, the less likely it is that your child will develop ADHD later in life.
Researchers believe they have discovered a link between a lack of communication between a mother and her baby and a risk that the child will develop emotional problems and behavioral disorders as the child matures.
Scientists analyzed hundreds of videos of mothers interacting with their year-old babies. Study co-author Dr Clare Allely, a psychologist at Glasgow University's Institute Of Health And Wellbeing, said: "We used 180 videos for this study of mothers interacting with their 12-month-old infants " of which 120 were controls and 60 were of the children who were later diagnosed with disorders at seven years old."
They found that for every decrease of five vocalizations per minute by the mother the odds of the child developing ADHD by the age of seven increased by 44%. Vocalizations included everything from simple sounds to words.
Researchers said the findings did not mean that if you dont talk to your baby all the time that he or she will develop psychological and psychiatric problems. Instead they suggest that active parenting may offer a protective effect against these kinds of conditions.
Philip Wilson, study co-author and professor of primary care and rural health at the University of Aberdeen, said there are several theories on why the link may exist. "We have got the possibility that active parenting and active communication by the parents may have a protective effect against the development of problems with attention and conduct," he said.
"The other main hypothesis is to do with genetics. We know people who themselves have ADHD or conduct problems tend to be more under-active and communicate less later on in life. So the second possible explanation is that it may be the mothers themselves have ADHD and have become underactive and passed on the