ADHD News & Research

Top 10 ADHD News and Research Highlights of 2021

ADHD research highlights and news from the past year, selected by ADDitude editors.

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1. Only 1 in 10 Children with ADHD Will Outgrow Symptoms

A study following 558 children with ADHD from the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA) over 16 years reported that only 9.1% of subjects “recovered” from ADHD by the study endpoint, when most participants were about 25 years old. The study also revealed that ADHD symptoms wax and wane over time for those individuals who continue to experience the disorder.

2. Study: DESR a Core Component of ADHD

Findings revealed elevated rates of deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) and sleep problems among children with untreated and treated ADHD, suggesting that DESR is a core feature of ADHD that should be considered in both diagnosis and treatment.

3. Emotional Symptoms of ADHD Mitigated by Social Skills and Parent Training

Relationship-strengthening therapies like parent training and social skills training effectively treat the emotional symptoms of ADHD in children, while cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) mitigates common emotional symptoms in adults with ADHD, according to this meta-analysis.

4. Adults with ADHD Face Elevated Risk for 34 Physical Health Conditions

The study of roughly 4.8 million patient records found that adults with ADHD exhibit an elevated risk for 34 of 35 physical conditions studied, including nervous system, respiratory, musculoskeletal, metabolic, circulatory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and skin conditions. The only condition for which individuals with ADHD did not exhibit increased risk was rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Computer Simulation Can Supplement Cognitive Tests Used to Evaluate ADHD Symptoms

Researchers reviewed 50 studies of cognitive tests for ADHD and determined how common computational models could help clinicians better characterize ADHD, improve treatment outcomes, and predict the longevity of symptoms.

6. Adolescent Screen Use Worsens ADHD Symptoms, Emotions, Family Dynamics

Too much screen time negatively impacts adolescents with ADHD, according to a study of Chinese children during the pandemic. Notably, children with ADHD and problematic digital media use experienced more severe ADHD symptoms, emotions, lack of motivation, and unhealthy family dynamics.

7. Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity Benefits Children with ADHD

Moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) has a small but significant effect on ADHD symptoms in children when used in conjunction with medication, according to this study that comprised a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials.

8. 1 in 6 College Freshmen Have ADHD — Most with Comorbidities

Roughly 16% of college students worldwide have ADHD, according to findings from an WHO survey spanning nine countries and dozens of colleges. The study also found that 58% of students with ADHD have at least one comorbid disorder; 30% have two or more comorbid conditions.

9. PMDD, Menopause, Postpartum Depression May Be More Severe in Women with ADHD

The study found that women with ADHD commonly experience more severe symptoms of hormone-related mood disorders than do women without ADHD.

[Take This Free Self-Test: ADHD in Women and Girls]

10. Emotional Dysregulation Prevalent in Adults with ADHD, Accurately Assessed by Self-Reported Scale

This study found that the Self-Reported Wender-Reimherr Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Scale (SR-WRAADDS) reliably and accurately assesses the broad range of symptoms associated with adult ADHD, including emotional dysregulation.

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