Can Children Outgrow ADHD?


"I was excited to read about a recent study that shows that children outgrow ADHD. Does this mean that my child doesn’t need to take medication?"

Dr. Larry Silver M.D. is the author of two books about parenting ADHD/LD children.

This important study, published in the December 4, 2007, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested, but did not confirm, that a developmental delay in the brain’s cortex may cause symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). Once the cortex matures, many ADHD kids seem to outgrow the disorder.

While headlines in the press proclaimed “ADHD Riddle Solved,” most articles left out researchers’ warnings that the findings should not be taken as permission to stop ADHD medication. In fact, a forthcoming study shows that the cortex is more likely to reach maximum growth in those with ADHD who remain on meds.

Brain imaging is helping us learn more about ADHD. But, until we know more, if medication helps your child, keep administering it.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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