According to a new report close to 30 percent of children with ADHD continue to have difficulties well into their adult years and some of them end up with other psychiatric disorders, have a higher rate of suicide and have a larger chance of ending up in jail.
"We suffer from the misconception that ADHD is just an annoying childhood disorder that's overtreated," said lead investigator William Barbaresi, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital, in a statement. "This couldn't be further from the truth. We need to have a chronic disease approach to ADHD as we do for diabetes. The system of care has to be designed for the long haul."
The study looked at total of 5,718 adults that had childhood ADHD and adults that didn't from 1976 to 1982.
The researchers found that close to 57 percent of adults who had ADHD as a child had another psychiatric disorder as an adult, while in the control group 35 percent had another disorder. Among these disorders were substance or alcohol dependence, antisocial disorders, manic episodes, anxiety and major depression.
They found that the chance of suicide was five times as high in adults that had ADHD as children.
The researchers indicated that ADHD "should no longer be viewed only as a disorder primarily affecting the behavior and learning of children, but also as a major health condition that confers increased risk" for mortality, social adversity in the form of criminal behavior, persistence of ADHD into adulthood, and increased rates of other mental health problems.
This study "speaks to the need to greatly improve the long-term treatment of children with ADHD and provide a mechanism for treating them as adults," lead investigator Slavica Katusic, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, said in a statement.
"Data indicate that the stimulant medications used to treat ADHD in children are also effective in adults, although adults tend not to be treated and may not be aware they have ADHD," Dr. Barbaresi added.
The article published in the journal Pediatrics can be found here.
Published by Medicaldaily.com