ADHD Takes A Toll Well Into Adulthood
First long-term, population-based study – from Boston Children's Hospital and Mayo Clinic – finds risk for suicide and psychiatric disorders; authors call for close monitoring, continued treatment
BOSTON, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first large, population-based study to follow children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood shows that ADHD often doesn't "go away," and that children with ADHD are more likely to have other psychiatric disorders as adults. Although numbers were small, they also appear more likely to commit suicide and are often incarcerated as adults.
"Only 37.5 percent of the children we contacted as adults were free of these really worrisome outcomes," says William Barbaresi, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital, lead investigator on the study, published in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics and online March 4. "That's a sobering statistic that speaks to the need to greatly improve the long-term treatment of children with ADHD and provide a mechanism for treating them as adults."
- 29 percent of the children with ADHD still had ADHD as adults (ascertained through structured neuropsychiatric interviews).
- 57 percent of children with ADHD had at least one other psychiatric disorder as adults, as compared with 35 percent of controls. The most common were substance abuse/dependence, antisocial personality disorder, hypomanic episodes, generalized anxiety and major depression.
- Of the children who still had ADHD as adults, 81 percent had at least one other psychiatric disorder, as compared with 47 percent of those who no longer had ADHD and 35 percent of controls.
- 7 of the 367 children with ADHD (1.9 percent) had died at the time of study recruitment, 3 of them from suicide. Of the 4,946 children without ADHD whose outcomes could be ascertained, only 37 children had died, 5 by suicide.
- 10 children with ADHD (2.7 percent) were incarcerated at the time of recruitment for the study.
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