Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (cont.)
ADHD in Children Prognosis
Literature supports the clinical observation that 40%-50% of children with ADHD will have symptoms persist into adulthood. One caveat needs to be mentioned -- many studies previously conducted focused on a patient population of males who were evaluated or treated by psychiatrists/psychologists or in clinics specially developed for such a patient population. The value of generalizing these results to the entire patient population with ADHD should be done with caution. Fortunately, new studies are being conducted to address this issue.
The following are current areas of concern:
- Education: Follow-up studies of children with ADHD growing into adolescence showed impairment of academic success. A few studies into adulthood have demonstrated persistence of these findings. Completion of expected schooling, lower achievement scores, and failure of courses are areas of concern.
- Employment: The rate of adult employment of those with and without a diagnosis of ADHD did not vary; however, those with ADHD did have occupations with a lower "job status."
- Socialization issues: As noted above, a significant subset of children with ADHD has accompanying disruptive behavior disorders (oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, ODD and CD). In studies that followed children with ADHD into adulthood, between 12%-23% have socialization problems, versus 2%-3% of the general population.
- Substance abuse: Studies examining whether those with ADHD have a higher likelihood for such high-risk behaviors are controversial. The largest study to date supports other smaller studies that indicate ADHD patients who consistently take their medication have twice the likelihood of not using drugs or excessive alcohol.
- Driving: A teen with ADHD is two to four times more likely to have a motor-vehicle accident or have
his/her license suspended than a peer without such a diagnosis. Impulsivity and inattention again seem to be limited when at-risk teens consistently take their recommended medication.
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