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ADHD Kids Struggle More in Later Life, Study Finds

A long-term study of children who were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has found that those kids may struggle more with educational, professional, and economic success during their teen and adult years.  The study was one of the first that looked long-term at the effects of a disorder that affects an estimated 3-7 percent of school-aged American children, and its findings could potentially affect the way ADHD is viewed and treated among young people.  From CNN:

Rachel Klein of the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and her colleagues studied the potentially long-term effects of ADHD among men who were diagnosed as kids. In their 33-year follow-up study, Klein and her team looked at 135 middle-aged men with childhood ADHD who were referred to the study by their teachers when they were between six to 12 years old.

The researchers compared this group to 136 men without ADHD and found that men with ADHD struggled more in occupational, educational, economic and social arenas later in life compared to men without the diagnosis.

At the 33-year follow-up, when the men were in their forties, those with childhood-diagnosed ADHD without conduct disorders had about 2.5 years fewer years of education compared to the other men; only 3.7% had higher degrees compared to nearly 30% of the control group.

The majority (84%) were holding jobs, but at significantly lower positions than peers without ADHD and were therefore at a financial disadvantage. On average, the researchers say, the ADHD group earned $40,000 less in salary than their unaffected counterparts.

Socially, men with ADHD also struggled with higher divorce rates, more antisocial personality disorders and substance abuse. On the positive side, however, they did not have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders, like depression.

Image: Stressed man, via Shutterstock