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The role of genetic factors in adult ADHD
Date:9/15/2009

are at increased risk of comorbidity, including aggression-related disorders and addiction. More than 60% of the adult patients have at least one additional psychiatric diagnosis. Substance abuse disorders are seen in 10󈞙% of the patients.

Treatments for ADHD include pharmacotherapy, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving social functioning.

High heritability of adult ADHD

Converging evidence from multiple family and twin studies suggests that ADHD aetiology has a robust genetic component. Heritability estimates range from 60󈟆% (Biederman & Faraone, 2005). Heritability and genetic load of the adult form of ADHD appears even higher than that in children: whereas a sibling of a child with ADHD has a 3𔃂-fold increased risk for ADHD compared to control children, this risk-increase is 17-fold for a sibling of an adult ADHD patient (Faraone et al., 2000).

The high heritability of ADHD is likely due to multiple gene defects, all with a small effect; ADHD belongs to the multifactorial, i.e. complex disorders (Kuntsi et al., 2006). Due to the small effects of individual genetic risk factors, the identification of genes for ADHD has been very difficult. Up to now, only a small number of susceptibility genes have been found (Li et al., 2006; Franke et al., 2009), explaining no more than 5% of the genetic component of the disorder.

IMpACT: the largest clinical ADHD sample worldwide

So far, genetics research in ADHD has focused nearly exclusively on children with the disorder. However, as mentioned above, the genetic load of adults with ADHD is probably higher than that of children, which can facilitate the identification of risk genes for the disorder. Still, the involvement of multiple genes in one single patient, in combination with the small effects o
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
431-405-5734
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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