Nation's experts to answer questions about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder


Celebrity carpenter Ty Pennington to host ADHD experts on call program

New York, September 22, 2005 – To help patients, families and caregivers better understand attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Shire Pharmaceuticals Inc., will host the seventh annual ADHD Experts on Call today, September 22, 2005, from 8 A.M. to midnight EDT. Celebrity carpenter Ty Pennington, who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, is back for the second year in a row to talk about his experience managing the disorder. Some of the nation's ADHD experts will answer calls at the toll-free telephone hotline, 1-888-ASK-ADHD.

The hotline is designed to provide "live" access to English- and Spanish-speaking experts including physicians, school nurses, educators and advocates who can answer questions regarding the disorder. In addition, a confidential, one-on-one on-line forum will be available at throughout the day.

ADHD affects approximately 3 to 7 percent of all school-age children, or approximately two million U.S. children, and is considered the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children and adolescents. ADHD is a neurological brain disorder that manifests as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable age and maturity.

Untreated ADHD may have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success and social-emotional development. Evidence also suggests that many with untreated ADHD may be at risk for other problems, such as drug abuse, anti-social behavior, and poor self-esteem. Studies also show that genetics play a role in ADHD. In fact, up to 35 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have a first-degree relative with the disorder. Over the last five years, the ADHD Experts on Call have fielded more than 20,000 inquiries and have helped many people better understand the condition and how it may affect their families.

"I know what's it's like to grow up with ADHD and how important it is for parents, caregivers and patients, to have access to accurate information," said Ty Pennington, host of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition®. "I loved being part of ADHD Experts on Call last year and I am excited about the many people we will impact this year. I hope that by working with all of these great people and sharing how support and treatment has made a difference in my life, I'll help other kids and families understand that there are people out there ready to help them and that it's possible to live a productive life with ADHD."

The symptoms of ADHD may have a profound effect on a child's quality of life and can be serious enough to interfere with academic accomplishments. But just as important, children with ADHD also may have problems maintaining friendships, focusing on sports and other after-school activities and relating well within their own families. A diagnosis of ADHD requires that a child exhibit behaviors of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that are more frequent or more severe than in other children the same age. These behaviors must create a real handicap in at least two areas of life, such as school, home or in social settings.

In addition to child and adolescent ADHD, it is estimated that four percent of the U.S. adult population is also affected by ADHD. A recent national survey, "Capturing America's Attention," found that the repercussions of ADHD may have limited adults with the condition from reaching their full academic and occupational potential, and limit their satisfaction with themselves and their relationships. According to the survey:

  • Adults with ADHD are three times more likely to suffer from stress, depression or other problems with emotion;
  • Adults with ADHD are more likely to engage in harmful or antisocial behaviors, like smoking and drug use;
  • Adults with ADHD have less stable relationships than those adults without ADHD, as reflected in higher rates of divorce and/or separation (twice the likelihood); and
  • Adults with ADHD tend to report lower educational achievement and are less likely to be high school or college graduates.
  • U.S. household income losses due to ADHD total nearly $77 billion each year.
With school back in swing, parents and teachers may suspect that their child or a child in their care has ADHD. ADHD Experts on Call provides a valuable resource to both parents and teachers who may not be familiar with ADHD, and the many treatment options available. In addition, many adults still deal with the symptoms and long-term effects of ADHD, and may want to call and learn about ways to manage their symptoms of ADHD. While the experts participating in ADHD Experts on Call cannot provide specific medical advice for patients or parents or recommend a particular course of action, they will provide helpful information on topics such as:
  • How teachers may approach parents if they suspect a student has ADHD;
  • How parents can approach teachers about their child's ADHD-related needs;
  • How to manage ADHD as an all-day disorder: before, during and after school;
  • Proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment of ADHD in children and adults; and
  • Common myths and misconceptions about ADHD.

"While this program doesn't replace a physician visit, parents and adult patients can learn valuable information about ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, support groups and treatment options that can help them better understand the disorder," said Dr. David Goodman, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and second-time ADHD Experts on Call participant. "Despite the widespread prevalence of ADHD, many parents, patients, and caregivers are confused by conflicting information about the disorder and don't know where to turn for help."

Although there is no "cure" for ADHD, physicians, parents, teachers and nurses are finding ways to help children with the condition adapt to their academic, social and work environments. Callers also may request a free booklet about ADHD with information on symptoms, diagnosis and available treatment options. For those who would prefer to use the Internet, a confidential, one-on-one, on-line forum also will be available at throughout the day.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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