Teens With ADHD May Struggle at Work

ADHD as a teen may influence work and mental health as an adult

(RxWiki News) Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause problems for kids in school. And the effects of ADHD on teens may be long lasting.

A recent study tracked teens with and without ADHD into adulthood. The researchers found that those with ADHD were about two times more likely than those without ADHD to have mental or physical health problems.

They were also two and half times more likely to have problems at work, and more than three times more likely to have a high level of stress about money.

The authors suggested that early treatment of ADHD may help teens transition into adulthood with less struggle.

"Ask a psychiatrist about ADHD treatment options."

The researchers, led by Judith S. Brook, EdD, at the New York University School of Medicine, interviewed 551 kids when they were 14 and 16 years old. Then, the participants were interviewed five more times until they were about 37 years old.

The interviews and questions were standard psych tests and questions about ADHD symptoms, mental and physical health, work performance and stress. About 13 percent of teens in the study met the criteria for ADHD. The results showed that teens with ADHD were more likely to have problems as adults compared to those without ADHD.

Teens with ADHD were about two times more likely to have physical health problems as adults. They were also more than two times more likely to have mental health problems when they were adults.

Problems with work performance were about two and half times more common in adults who had ADHD as teens. A high level of stress about money was more than three times more common in those who had ADHD compared to those who did not.

The authors concluded, “Clinicians should focus on early diagnosis and treatment of adolescent ADHD because it is a major predictor of an array of physical, mental, work and financial problems in adulthood.”

dailyRx News asked Gina Pera, author and adult ADHD lecturer and advocate, about the results of this study. She said, “It is not new information, really, but it further substantiates what the mounting evidence in the published literature has been telling us for years.”

“That is, ADHD can be even more impairing in adulthood than in childhood.  If you think about it in terms of adult responsibilities — driving a car, developing skills, earning a living, taking care of one’s health, managing money, raising children — you can see how ADHD in maturing adults can pose pervasive challenges. “

She went on to say, “The earlier these challenges are identified in a person, the earlier that person can start implementing effective strategies toward avoiding some of the fallout that can hit young and even older adults with ADHD very hard — and last for a lifetime, often compounding and magnifying a person’s challenges.”

This study was published December 10 in Pediatrics. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
January 10, 2013