A fresh look at Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – by Matilda Young


ADHD is a condition which arises in childhood during brain development. It affects around 3% of children and is more common in boys than girls. It results in children having a reduced attention span, being impulsive and hyperactive. This can make education difficult. As it develops within a maturing brain, children with ADHD are predisposed to other conditions including mental health issues. A strong factor dictating whether a child develops ADHD is inheritance. Other non-inherited factors such as the environment a child grows up in also contributes.

Publishing in the Lancet, Professor Thapar and Dr. Cooper at Cardiff University reviewed how efficient current treatment methods are, discovering through trial results that although both behavioural therapy and medication have proven efficient at relieving symptoms – benefits are short-lived and don’t prevent long-term issues developing. Although many initial symptoms of ADHD ease with age, others persist and cause problems in later life.

This finding has led researchers to believe a more holistic assessment by clinicians could prevent development of long-term complications. The entire lifespan of individuals with ADHD requires further investigation, with emphasis on key transition points i.e. school entry being explored in more detail. Factors beyond current guidelines for diagnosis need to be included when considering how the disease progresses and repeated assessment throughout lifetime could allow for treatment adjustment in the future, potentially reducing likelihood of other major conditions developing beyond childhood.

Read the full article here: http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)00238-X.pdf


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