ADHD News & Research

The Best ADDitude Research of 2022

Bullying in schools is common — and commonly mishandled. The Adderall shortage continues to disrupt treatment nationwide. Trauma and ADHD are closely linked. ADDitude gathered valuable data on these topics and more through exclusive reader surveys in 2022. Here are our top findings, along with resources to learn more.

Menopause symptoms and ADHD in women
Menopause symptoms and ADHD in women
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1. ADHD Impairment Peaks in Menopause, According to ADDitude Reader Survey

By surveying more than 1,500 women with diagnosed and undiagnosed ADHD, ADDitude sought to understand the complicated ways in which menopause impacts ADHD, and vice versa. Some key takeaways include:

  • 94% of respondents said their ADHD symptoms grew more severe during perimenopause and menopause
  • 70% said memory issues and overwhelm had a “life-altering impact” in their 40s and 50s
  • 60% said they changed their diet, fitness, and health routine to better manage ADHD symptoms during menopause

“I was good at masking and worked really hard to stay on top of things as a child, teenager, young adult, and young mother,” wrote one mother of four who is 64. “In my late 40s, no amount of hard work could cover up the struggles.”

Menopause and ADHD: Additional Resources

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2. The Tattered Promise of ADHD Telehealth

Telehealth services surged in popularity during the pandemic due to lockdowns, extended waiting periods with providers, and relaxed federal regulations for prescribing stimulants and other medications remotely. In a survey on ADHD treatment during the pandemic, ADDitude learned the following about readers’ experiences with telehealth services like Cerebral, Teledoc, and ADHD Online:

  • 57% of readers reported using telehealth services and/or mental health apps in the preceding two years
  • 5% of readers who used Cerebral received a diagnosis within one week of joining
  • 97% of Cerebral users diagnosed with ADHD reported receiving a new prescription

“I had a revolving door of care providers — three in the three months that I used the service,” wrote a 56-year-old reader who used Cerebral. “Their motto seemed to be: Take one Adderall a day and call me never.”

ADHD Telehealth: Additional Resources

COVID Timeline for ADDitude readers
The COVID timeline for ADHD brains is long
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3. Two Years Inside a Pandemic: A Timeline of ADHD Brains in Distress

Two years after the WHO declared a pandemic, ADDitude took stock of how readers with ADHD have fared during the crisis and reflected on the results of 15 different surveys taken since April 2020. We investigated the pandemic’s impact on careers, education, relationships, and the mental health of adults and children. Here’s a glimpse of what we found in March 2022:

  • 74% of readers were exhausted and overwhelmed
  • 73% were worried and anxious
  • More than 50% felt sad or depressed

“I feel like I’m not the same person anymore,” wrote one reader who was recently diagnosed with ADHD in her 50s. “And I will never get her back.”

ADHD in a Pandemic: Additional Resources

Image: GaudiLab/Getty Images
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4. Generation AnXiety: Findings on ADHD & the Mental Health Crisis

From school to friends to sleep, every aspect of life for young people has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, with concerning consequences for mental health. In ADDitude’s survey of 1,187 caregivers, two-thirds said their teen has anxiety and 46% said their teen is suffering from depression. Among teen girls, specifically, common sources of anxiety are:

“My daughter has developed social anxiety and sometimes has difficulty going to school or to stores where other teens might be present,” wrote the mother of a 14-year-old in Michigan. “She is overly obsessed with her looks, so much so that she covers our mirrors. She went from an honor roll student to Ds and Es.”

Mental Health Crisis in Youth: Additional Resources


Sadness depression and loneliness concept, surreal painting , concept art
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5. Mental Health Report: Trauma Haunts 82% of Adults with ADHD

In this comprehensive mental health survey, 1,542 ADDitude readers shared their experiences with sleep, mood, motivation, and relationships as well as anxiety, depression, and trauma. They rated their overall mental health just 2.27 out of 4: a C- grade. Here are some more illuminating discoveries:

“Through the body, we have more access to traumatic residue, which may not be available in memories,” says Kerry J. Heckman, LICSW, about the somatic therapy used to treat trauma. “Focusing on the body’s response to the trauma — instead of the trauma itself — reduces the possibility of re-traumatizing the individual and starts the healing process.”

Trauma, Mental Health, & Adult ADHD: Additional Resources

Daily calendar with assorted pills in every day cellRelated lightboxes:
Credit: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images
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6. ADHD Medication Vacation Pros and Cons, According to ADDitude Readers

Nearly 86% of caregivers have considered an “ADHD medication vacation” — a pause to pharmacological treatment for their child during the summer, over winter break, or at other times, according to an ADDitude survey of 1,252 caregivers. The most common reasons cited were countering appetite suppression on medication, responding to the child’s discomfort with medication, and addressing other side effects. Other insights into ADHD “drug holidays” include the following:

  • 75% of children who take ADHD medications pause their meds for at least one week
  • 53% of caregivers whose child took a summer vacation from meds called it a “success”

“We attempted a medication vacation but two days without my son’s medication prompted us to resume,” wrote one caregiver. “It was in the best interest of our family for him to continue with his daily routine and medications.”

ADHD Medication Vacations for Children: Additional Resources

Silhouette of a young woman taking pill medication.
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7. Persistent Adderall Shortage Disrupts ADHD Treatment Nationwide

The Adderall shortage spurred by labor constraints at a plant run by drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals has created a trickle-down effect that is making many forms of the ADHD medication difficult to find across the country. In a recent survey, 80% of ADDitude readers said they have encountered trouble filling or refilling ADHD medication prescriptions within the last few months.

“I visited more than 18 pharmacies and none had my prescription (Adderall 10-mg twice a day, 5-mg once a day),” wrote one reader. “It was stressful… two weeks passed before I could get my prescription.”

Adderall and ADHD: Additional Resources

A female laying in bed with hands covering her face.
Sad and lonely girl in bedroom. Insomnia and psychological issues. Breakup with boyfriend. Conceptual of bad condition of broken hearted, sadness, loneliness or depress woman.
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8. Diagnosing a Different Kind of Social Disease

For many children cut off from friends and activities during the pandemic, social media became a lifeline. But, according to 1,187 ADDitude caregivers, this lifeline exacted a high cost on the mental health of young users, increasing rates of anxiety, sadness, sleep problems, and depression. Key takeaways of this survey include:

  • 72% of kids aged 10 and older with ADHD use social media
  • 35% of those report adverse mental health effects
  • Teens who don’t use social media report 70% fewer adverse mental health effects

“My daughter was bullied online, her account was hacked, and explicit photos of my daughter were shared online,” said the mother of a 15-year-old in Canada. “My daughter went from a happy, healthy, successful singer, dancer, and actor to withdrawing from everything.”

ADHD, Social Media and Mental Health: Additional Resources

Young girl walking with backpack and long hair covering face
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9. Bullying Is the Norm. So Is an Inadequate Response.

Despite nationwide anti-bullying campaigns and zero-tolerance school policies, bullying remains a serious public health issue. Children with ADHD are nearly twice as likely to be bullied as are their neurotypical peers, according to ADDitude caregivers who told us the following:

  • 61% of children with ADHD had been bullied
  • 72% of those bullied were dissatisfied with the school’s response

“My child experienced bullying for years, from preschool through high school, and told teachers and staff, but they never mentioned it to me,” wrote one mother of an 18-year-old with ADHD and anxiety. “He continues to struggle with identity, sexual identity, motivation and purpose, to a debilitating level.”

Bullying in Schools and ADHD: Additional Resources

Female's hands unravel the tangled red threads on the silhouette of the head, representing the brain.
Tangled red threads on the silhouette of the head, representing the brain. Blue background. Flat lay. The concept of mental health and demension
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10. Youth Mental Health Care Is Vital. And Hard to Access.

As the youth mental health crisis escalates, so too does demand for mental health services. Supply simply can’t accommodate the new demand and, consequently, many children and teens with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders are struggling to access care. Barriers include long wait times, lack of accessibility, scheduling conflicts, and prohibitively high costs. In a recent mental health survey, ADDitude readers told us what’s standing in the way of quality care for their children:

  • 50% of neurodivergent youth have sought mental health care for the first time in the last few years
  • 62% of caregivers said it was “difficult” or “very difficult” to access mental health care

“There is no one within two hours of us who treats ADHD, treats children under 12 years old, accepts Medicaid, and has availability,” wrote the mother of an 11-year-old boy with ADHD in Maine.

Youth Mental Health Care and ADHD: Additional Resources