Top 10 ADHD News & Research Highlights of 2022
Dyslexia research uncovers hidden strengths. An Adderall shortage upends treatment. ADHD medication not associated with cardiovascular disease. Catch up on the top ADHD news and research highlights of 2022, selected by ADDitude editors.
ADHD medications do not place patients of any age, including middle-aged and older adults, at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a new meta-analysis of 19 observational studies that included 3.9 million participants. William Dodson, M.D., heralded the groundbreaking finding as a “turning point,” particularly for older adults who have been unable to treat their ADHD with medication due to fears of cardiovascular side effects.
ADHD Medication Findings: Next Steps
- Watch: Why Adults with ADHD Abandon Medication — And How to Improve Treatment Outcomes
- Read: A Critical Need Ignored — Inadequate Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD After Age 60
- Read: ADHD Medications — Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects, Risks?
People with dyslexia have strengths in experimentation, innovation, and searching for the unknown, all of which play a crucial role in how humans adapt and survive, according to a new study. The first study of dyslexia to use the “cognitive search” model, a cross-disciplinary approach with an evolutionary perspective, the study finds that the difficulty experienced by people with dyslexia results from a “cognitive trade off” between discovering new information and exploiting existing information.
Dyslexia and ADHD Findings: Next Steps
- Read: What Is Dyslexia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatments
- Download: Signs of Dyslexia At Every Age
- Read: Famous People with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Learning Differences
The largest supplier of name brand and generic Adderall in the U.S. reports backorders of Adderall immediate-release tablets in 20mg and 30mg dosages, a shortage which has disrupted the treatment of people who rely on the prescription drug to manage their ADHD symptoms. The supplier, Teva, attributes the Adderall shortage to “supply disruptions” resulting in shipment delays; an additional factor is the increased demand for Adderall due to a surge in ADHD diagnoses during the pandemic from telehealth providers.
Adderall Shortage: Next Steps
- Read: How the Adderall Shortage Is Casting a Long Shadow on ADHD Treatment
- Download: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Medication
- Read: Survey: Persistent Adderall Shortage Disrupts ADHD Treatment Nationwide
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes intolerance to gluten. may be linked to ADHD, according to new research that systematically reviewed 23 studies published in the last two decades. The review builds on emerging research linking celiac disease to other conditions, including autism, anxiety, and mood disorders. One study included in the review found that 15% of participants with ADHD and celiac disease who avoided gluten for six months saw a reduction in ADHD symptoms.
Celiac Disease and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: Why Sugar is Krypotonite — ADHD Diet Truths
- Read: Eggs, Dairy, Nuts, and Soy — Testing for Food Sensitivities with an ADHD Elimination Diet
- Read: Adults with ADHD Face Elevated Risk for 34 Physical Health Conditions
One in four U.S. adults aged 18-44 received mental health treatment (counseling, therapy, or prescription medication) in 2021, up 4% from the previous year, according to a CDC survey. The percentage of adults receiving mental health treatment was far higher (72%) in a recent ADDitude survey; of those, more than one-third (36%) sought or received mental health care for the first time during the pandemic.
Mental Health Care and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: 4 in 10 Adults Lack Access to Mental Health, Substance Abuse Care
- Watch: Virtual Mental Health Providers — How to Get Quality ADHD Care Online
- Read: The Tattered Promise of ADHD Telehealth
This study finds that low serotonin levels are not associated with depression, a discovery that upends long-held understandings about the cause of depression and raises questions about the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), widely prescribed antidepressants that work by increasing serotonin levels. The research evaluated 17 meta-analyses and reviews, examining and synthesizing studies on serotonin levels, receptors, related genes, and precursor molecules.
Depression and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: What is Depression? Symptoms and Overview
- Watch: The Anxiety and Depression Hiding Within — How to Recognize and Treat Co-occurring Conditions
More than half of the most popular TikTok videos on ADHD are lacking in scientific evidence, and just one-fifth are deemed useful by researchers, according to this study. The misinformation spread by videos include claims of false symptoms such as “ADHD paralysis,” and “anxiety shivers” as well as the incorrect suggestion that people with ADHD lack object permanence. These videos have more than 2.8 million views total and an average of 31,000 shares each.
Social Media and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: TikTok Is My Therapist — The Dangers and Promise of Viral #MentalHealth Videos
- Self-Test: Do I Have ADHD? Symptoms in Adults
- Read: Compare & Despair – Social Media & Mental Health Concerns in Teens with ADHD
According to the CDC, the annual number of pediatric melatonin ingestions reported to national poison control centers jumped by 530% between 2012 and 2021 – from 8,337 to 52,563. Pediatric hospitalizations and other serious outcomes related to melatonin also increased; these were primarily linked to accidental ingestions among children under the age of 5. A lack of manufacturing regulations and varied dosing recommendations for the dietary supplement may place children at risk for adverse outcomes.
Melatonin and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: Melatonin for Kids with ADHD — Is It Safe? Does It Work?
- Read: The ADHD Link to Sleep Problems
- Read: “We Have a Constant Supply of Melatonin On Hand”
Maladaptive daydreaming — the phenomenon of slipping into detailed, realistic, and long-lasting daydreams that can interfere with the ability to function — should be a diagnosis distinct from ADHD, according to this study published in Journal of Clinical Psychology. The study suggests that deficits in attention are often a side effect of maladaptive daydreaming, which is an independent mental phenomenon, rather than a part of ADHD.
Maladaptive Daydreaming: Next Steps
- Read: Demystify Maladaptive Daydreaming with the 6 Q&As
- Read: What is Inattentive ADHD? ADD Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
A new treatment for depression, Stanford neuromodulation therapy (SNT), works eight times faster than the currently approved protocol and causes remission in nearly 80 percent of patients, according to recent research. SNT is a form of intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS), an FDA-approved noninvasive brain stimulation protocol for treatment-resistant depression, which delivers magnetic pulses to the brain.
Treatment for Depression: Next Steps
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Qelbree (viloxazine), a new nonstimulant medication for ADHD for patients aged 18 to 65. The first nonstimulant ADHD medication to be introduced in two decades, Qelbree was proven effective, with no evidence of abuse potential, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III study.
Nonstimulant Medication and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: Nonstimulant ADHD Medication Overview
- Download: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Medication
- Review: Qelbree – Nonstimulant Medication Overview
According to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, young women with ADHD are roughly four times more likely than their neurotypical peers to experience an unwanted pregnancy before age 30. Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors, explains the practical implications of this research, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Reproductive Rights and ADHD: Next Steps
- Read: Safe Sex Tips for Teens & Young Adults with ADHD
- Read: “If the Story of My Unplanned Pregnancy Helps Just One Person, It Was Worth Sharing.”
In a review of 14 clinical trials of adults with ADHD, researchers found that 13 reports showed stimulants and nonstimulants had a positive impact on at least one measure of emotional behavior. Methylphenidate (brand names Concerta, Ritalin, Daytrana and others) and atomoxetine (brand name Strattera) showed the greatest improvement.
ADHD Medication: Next Steps
- Watch: How ADHD Amplifies Emotions
- Read: ADHD Medication Options — Stimulants, Nonstimulants & More
- Watch: Stimulants vs Nonstimulants – Understanding ADHD Medications
Researchers at Yale used data from the brain scans of 92 people to successfully measure and predict how well they would perform on tasks that required sustained focus and attention. These types of measurements, the study suggests, have implications for diagnosing ADHD, for predicting its severity, and for improving focus.
The ADHD Brain: Next Steps
- Read: Secrets of Your ADHD Brain
- Download: How to Focus (When Your ADHD Brain Says ‘No’)
- Read: Mapping the ADHD Brain
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