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Do Kids With ADHD Become Adults With ADHD?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

A new study suggests that a significant number do – almost 30%. 

This report is noteworthy for two reasons:

  • It is based on a large database of kids (5,718) seen originally at the Mayo Clinic (in Minnesota)
  • It utilized a 29-year follow-up

Other significant findings include increased rates of one (or more) other psychiatric disorders, and a greater risk for suicide.

There’s one other number that makes this study especially important – the base rate of ADHD in the childhood sample was about 6%, which is in line with population estimates. This suggests that ADHD was not being over-diagnosed. Or put another way, the kids that were diagnosed with ADHD in all probability had pretty severe symptoms.

So this study – while not breaking new ground – provides further evidence that ADHD in childhood can lead to lifelong impairment. As such, it certainly suggests the importance of intervention in childhood when the level of symptoms and impairment warrants it. But it’s important to remember that this does not necessarily mean getting medication (though that helps some kids) – psychosocial interventions can be quite powerful as well.

Perhaps future reports on this sample will offer more insight into the factors that promote – or inhibit – the continuity of ADHD from childhood through adulthood.

ADHD via Shutterstock.com

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