Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder among children, and as incidence of the condition continue to rise, parents and patients are asking what happens next.
How does ADHD affect children as they become teens and adults and start to form relationships, find jobs and establish families of their own? Does the condition put them at a disadvantage for coping with life’s inevitable challenges?
With 5.4 million children ever diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S., and 3% to 7% of school-aged children currently struggling with the condition, it’s worth considering how ADHD affects their adult lives. Rachel Klein of the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and her colleagues studied the potentially long-term effects of ADHD among men who were diagnosed as kids. In their 33-year follow-up study, Klein and her team looked at 135 middle-aged men with childhood ADHD who were referred to the study by their teachers when they were between six to 12 years old. The researchers compared this group to 136 men without ADHD and found that men with ADHD struggled more in occupational, educational, economic and social arenas later in life compared to men without the diagnosis.
Overall, the ADHD adults showed higher rates of psychiatric hospitalizations
and incarcerations, which the authors conclude supports a continued need for
monitoring and treatment of kids with ADHD, even when a conduct disorder is not
present. Dr. Klein says even when children with ADHD are not disruptive, they
may still be at a higher risk for developing antisocial behaviors later on, like
lying, stealing and cheating.
As a former teacher of emotionally disturbed children, there was a mantra that all of the teachers quietly subscribed: “These kids will become adults”.
When attempting to understand the behaviors of individuals or groups that may not necessarily embrace the mores and values that are similar to those that evoke ‘normalcy’, it is absolutely necessary to retrace one’s childhood. If children are medicated with drugs that may or may not be tested, there is a strong chance that there will be some neurological residue. If children experience environments that are not in the realm of ‘normal’ then their behaviors will be deemed abnormal. If children are labeled as peculiar or different, whether clinically or within the confines of their households-those children will behave differently. It is that simple. Though this article is informative, the empirical data is self explanatory.