ADD / ADHD, Science

ADHD Problems Continue Into Adulthood

The long-term consequences of failing to adequately help children with ADHD is becoming apparent. Dr Mariellen Fischer and her colleges at of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, USA, have conducted a follow-up study on 147 young adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as children. The results they found were disturbing. Compared to the control group, the ADHD adults started having sex a year earlier; about a third dropped out of high school, compared with none of the control group; 1 out of 3 had become parents by their early 20s vs. 1 in 25 of the controls. They also had less than half the savings and more debt.
Now it may not be the ADHD directly causing these problems. It may be that the ADHD disrupts their education and that for adults who had a disrupted education these figures may be perfectly normal. Or it could be that certain types of families tend to have kids with ADHD and those families tend to have sex earlier etc (See Parenting and ADHD).
The paper this is based on, Executive Functioning in Hyperactive Children as Young Adults: Attention, Inhibition, Response Perseveration, and the Impact of Comorbidity is only available as an abstract so it hard to check the methodology behind the statistics but the implications are distributing. Most of the participants had taken Ritalin or similar medication for about two years in childhood but they still exhibit ADHD symptoms in adulthood. This is pretty damming of Ritalin’s long-term benifits.
Coverage in USA Today: ADHD haunts children into adulthood, study shows