ADHD and Mixed-Handedness, College Treatment
It’s been a rough week for kids and young adults with ADHD — attention deficit disorder. Attention deficit disorder is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Someone with ADHD has a hard time focusing and concentrating on work or school work, often finds it difficult to sit still and concentrate in meetings or classes, and will often act in an impulsive manner that they later regret. It’s estimated that between 3 to 9 percent of school-aged children and young people suffer from ADHD.
First came news on Monday that a significant portion of college campuses’ health services do not offer a way for their students to be treated for ADHD with medication. Attention deficit disorder can be treated successfully a number of different ways, of course, and medication is just one option. For better or worse, though, it is the option most Americans prefer (as they vote by the treatment choices they pick). While all college campuses offer counseling for mental health concerns like ADHD, not all have psychiatrists on staff who can prescribe medications to students.
The survey of 124 college campus practices by Dr. Mark Thomas at the University of Alabama is the first part of Dr. Thomas’ efforts to create a set of treatment guidelines for the treatment of ADHD in young adults. He notes that while guidelines exist for children and for adults, this in-between age is not very well-covered by existing guidelines. Many college students suffer from attention deficit disorder and their academic careers are negatively affected by it being untreated or undertreated.
Yesterday we learned that children who are ambidextrous — that is, they have equal use of their right and left hands — have more mental health and learning problems than either solely right- or left-handed children.
The new research found that when the children under study reached 15 or 16 years old, mixed-handed adolescents were also at twice the risk of having symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They were also likely to have more severe symptoms of ADHD than their right-handed counterparts.
Previous research has suggested that ADHD may be linked to having a weaker function in the right hemisphere of the brain. This could help explain why some of the mixed-handed students in today’s study had symptoms of ADHD.
The upshot from this week in ADHD news so far?
College students don’t always have ready, simple access to all ADHD treatments available, which may discourage the student from actually receiving helpful treatment for their concern. Students may just try and ignore the problem, all the while their grades and other aspects of their lives suffer.
Kids who are neither right- nor left-handed seem to be at greater risk for developing learning problems and ADHD later in life. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, as further research is needed to confirm some hypotheses about this relationship. If your child is ambidextrous, be on the lookout for potential concerns early on. The sooner you recognize such concerns, the sooner you can get appropriate help and care for your child.
Grohol, J. (2010). ADHD and Mixed-Handedness, College Treatment. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 12, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/01/27/adhd-and-mixed-handedness-college-treatment/