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Adolescent girls with ADHD are at increased risk for eating disorders, study shows
Date:3/14/2008

d with an ethnically diverse sample of 228 girls in the San Francisco Bay area; 140 who had been diagnosed with ADHD and 88 matched comparison girls without ADHD. They were first assessed between the ages of 6 and 12 and again five years later.

Girls with the "combined type" of ADHD (those with both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity) were most likely to have adolescent bulimia nervosa symptoms, relative to girls with the "inattentive type" of ADHD (those with inattention only) and girls without ADHD. Girls with both types of ADHD were more likely to be overweight, to have experienced harsh/critical parenting in childhood, and to have been peer-rejected than girls without ADHD. Mikami said she believes these factors could contribute to the bulimia nervosa symptoms.

"An additional concern is that stimulant medications used to treat ADHD have a side effect of appetite suppression, creating a risk that overweight girls could abuse these medicines to encourage weight loss, though we have not yet investigated that possibility," Mikami said.

She warned parents and teachers to be aware that adolescent girls with ADHD may develop an array of female-relevant symptoms beyond the standard ADHD symptoms, to include eating disorders, depression and anxiety.


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Contact: Amori Mikami
mikami@virginia.edu
434-284-1882
University of Virginia
Source:Eurekalert

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