ADHD News & Research

Study: ADHD Can Last a Lifetime

Kids with ADHD will likely grow into adults with ADHD — and be diagnosed with another disorder.

March 20, 2013

A large-population, long-term study done by Boston Children’s Hospital and published in Pediatrics tracked children with ADHD through the time they were adults, and found that one-third of them still had the condition.

Many of the same problems children with ADHD experience are seen in adults, says Dr. William Barbaresi, associate chief of developmental medicine at Boston’s Children Hospital. “Those problems play out in the adult world of employment, education, and adult relationships — and unfortunately risk-taking behaviors.”

Some of the study findings include:

> 57 percent of the 370 children who were diagnosed with ADHD had at least one other psychiatric disorder as adults, compared with 35 percent of control subjects who didn’t have the disorder as children.

> Substance abuse disorder, antisocial personality disorder, hypomanic episodes, generalized anxiety, and mood disorders were the most common.

> 10 children with ADHD had been arrested and were serving time.

Barbaresi advises parents of kids with ADHD to make sure that their children are getting high-quality treatment, and continue getting it as they enter adolescence. Adolescents should be screened for other associated problems like substance abuse and mood disorders.