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Study Finds More Than Half of ADHD Kids Have Symptoms as Adults

Study Finds More Than Half of ADHD Kids Have Symptoms as Adults

New research suggests that some 60 percent of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continue to have symptoms into their mid-20s.

Moreover, 41 percent had both symptoms and impairment as young adults.

“There has been a lot of recent controversy over whether children with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood,” said Dr. Margaret Sibley, lead author of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry study.

Prior investigations varied greatly, depending on diagnostic differences and how information was collected and analyzed.

In the current study — a 16-year follow-up of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (the “MTA”) — researchers found that a combination of parent and self-reports plus a symptom threshold that is adjusted for adulthood (rather than based on traditional childhood definitions of ADHD) may be optimal.

“This study found that the way you diagnose ADHD can lead to different conclusions about whether or not an adult still has the disorder that started in childhood,” said Sibley, assistant professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University.

“First, if you ask the adult about their continued symptoms, they will often be unaware of them; however, family members or others who know them well often confirm that they still observe significant symptoms in the adult.”

Sibley added that if the classic childhood definition of ADHD is used when diagnosing adults, many cases will be missed because symptom presentation changes in adulthood.

“By asking a family member about the adult’s symptoms and using adult-based definitions of the disorder, you typically find that around half of children with moderate to severe ADHD still show significant signs of the disorder in adulthood.”

Source: Wiley/AlphaGalileo

Study Finds More Than Half of ADHD Kids Have Symptoms as Adults

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Study Finds More Than Half of ADHD Kids Have Symptoms as Adults. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/09/20/study-finds-more-than-half-of-adhd-kids-have-symptoms-as-adults/110128.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Sep 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Sep 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.