ADHD News & Research

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.

1. ADHD Medication Not Associated with Cardiovascular Risk At Any Age

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

2. Dyslexia Is Not a Neurological Disorder But an Evolutionary Survival Trait

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

3. Adderall Shortage Impacts Individuals with ADHD

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

4. Celiac Disease May Be Linked to ADHD

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

5. CDC: One in Four U.S. Adults Received Mental Health Care in 2021

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

6. Depression Not Caused by Low Serotonin After All

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

7. TikTok Videos About ADHD Largely Misleading, New Study Reveals

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

8. Pediatric Melatonin Overdoses Rise Dramatically: CDC Report

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

9. Maladaptive Daydreaming Should Be a Diagnosis Distinct from ADHD

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

10. New Treatment for Depression Causes Remission in Most Participants

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

Honorable Mentions

FDA Approves Nonstimulant ADHD Medication Qelbree for Adult Use

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

Roe v. Wade Ruling May Disproportionately Impact Girls with ADHD

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

Study: Emotional Dysregulation Improved with ADHD Medication Use

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

Brain Scans Can Gauge Severity of ADHD Inattention

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

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