AD/HD Subtypes Don't Mean Much

Some children switch subtypes--hyperactive, inattentive, or a combination of the two--as they grow older.

Saturday October 1st - 12:00am

Children with AD/HD are often identified as having one of three specific subtypes of the disorder: hyperactive, inattentive, or a combination of the two. But a study published in the August 2005 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that some children switch subtypes as they grow older.

The researchers followed 118 children with AD/HD over an eight-year period, reassessing their symptoms each year to make a fresh diagnosis. They found frequent shifts between subtypes. Children originally identified as hyperactive, for example, often moved to the combined type.

The study's implication? AD/HD subtypes may be valuable for research purposes, but not for diagnosing and treating individual kids.

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