ADHD: suffering into adulthood

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ADHD is the most common developmental disorder in childhood and adolescence

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - also known as "Zappelphilipp Syndrome" - has become a household name when it comes to childhood and adolescent diseases and is now considered the most common developmental disorder. But the disease, in which hyperactivity, attention and concentration disorders as well as impulsivity come together, is not only limited to the early years of life according to a current study, but in many cases affects those affected for a lifetime.

US long-term study examines almost 5,800 children. William Barbaresi from Boston Children’s Hospital, which was recently published in Pediatrics. For the prospective long-term study, one of the most important papers on ADHD to date, the experts provided medical care to a total of 5,718 children who were born in the US city of Rochester (Minnesota) between 1976 and 1982. Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder was diagnosed in 367 subjects in childhood, 232 of these patients completed the study until the end and were intensively questioned again in adulthood.

Frequent late effects in adulthood The renewed survey now revealed the actual extent of Zappelphilipp syndrome: Because although the majority of those affected (75%) were treated extensively in childhood, the disease was still present in almost every third person in adulthood. But that's not all: more than half (57%) of the doctors were able to demonstrate at least one other mental illness, in most cases it was drug addiction, antisocial personality disorder, hypomania, generalized anxiety disorder and depression. Of the original 367 subjects, seven had died over the years, with suicide committed in three cases. Ten people with ADHD were also in prison at the time of the survey.

Experts warn of downplaying the disease
According to the authors, the results of the study should be understood as an urgent warning, despite the fact that 35% of the people in a control group also had mental health problems. Because ADHD is often mistakenly perceived as an "annoying and over-treated childhood disorder". A rethink must take place here, said William Barbaresi, because this understanding could not be further from the truth: "We have to consider ADHD as a chronic disease that should be treated in the same long term as diabetes."

The actual extent of the attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder could, according to William Barbaresis, be much larger - because the subjects of the current study came primarily from the middle class, where good education and appropriate medical care were therefore a matter of course for the children. Against the background of this “best case scenario”, it is advisable for the medical professional to have children affected by ADHD medically monitored and treated even during puberty: “It is worrying that only a minority of children with ADHD reach adulthood achieved without serious negative consequences. This suggests that caring for ADHD in childhood is far from optimal. ”

And the many cases of ADHD in adulthood also speak to the expert as an urgent need for action: "Our results also show that doctors, insurance companies and the health system must be ready to provide adequate care for adults with ADHD." (Nr)

Also read:
Medical report: sharp increase in ADHD diagnoses
Study: ADHD is often misdiagnosed
High blood pressure from ADHD medication
ADHD: physiotherapy instead of psychostimulants?
More and more children are being given ADHD medication
Trend reversal in ADHD therapy?
ADHD: concentration through noise
ADHD genetic?
Allergenic foods favor ADHD
Environmental factors in ADHD hardly examined

Picture: Nicole Celik /

Author and source information

Video: The Real History and Future of ADHD, ADHD in Adults


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