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New Survey Results on AD/HD Suggest That Later-Life Diagnosis Leads to Lifetime of Challenges

Survey Results Unveiled in Conjunction with National AD/HD Awareness Week (Sept 14-20); Reinforce Importance of Early Diagnosis in Treating AD/HD

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The results from an informal survey on AD/HD released today reinforce existing scientific research that the disorder does not affect children alone, and when left undiagnosed until adulthood, can create much larger relationship challenges for those with the disorder.

The survey, released by Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) -- the nation's largest family organization serving children and adults with AD/HD -- was informal and unscientific, but the results nonetheless provide a window into the lives of more than 3,800 individuals in the United States who either self-identified as having AD/HD or have a family member with the disorder. Results have been released in conjunction with National AD/HD Awareness Week (September 14-20, 2009).

Of the 3,821 people who completed the survey -- all either CHADD members, former members, or people who are listed in the organization's database -- 40 percent (1,710) indicated that they have AD/HD. Three-quarters of those with AD/HD noted receiving a diagnosis after the age of 30.

"This week's survey results reinforce the fact that AD/HD is a real and serious disorder," noted Marie Paxson, president of the CHADD board of directors and spokeswoman for AD/HD Awareness Week. "While often mistaken for a childhood disorder alone, AD/HD is extremely prevalent across the country, and as this survey shows, it affects more adults than most people realize."

Also according to survey results, of the group reporting a later-life diagnosis of AD/HD, nearly 45 percent (or 499 out of 1,119) reported being divorced at least once, as compared to 17 percent (or 27 out of 155) of those diagnosed with AD/HD before high school.

"Published studies have previously documented that romantic relationships -- already complex -- are commonly made more difficult when one individual has AD/HD. These challenges are made yet again more difficult when that individual is not diagnosed early," added Paxson.

By contrast, an early diagnosis of AD/HD showed to have a positive impact on the quality of relationships between children and their parents. Of those with AD/HD who were diagnosed at age 14 or earlier, 83 percent (or 129 out of 155) agreed or strongly agreed that their relationship with their parents is a good one -- approximately 20 percentage points higher than those who were diagnosed after the age of 30.

Early Diagnosis Remains Key:

Nearly 40 percent (or 479 out of 1,321) of people with AD/HD who were diagnosed after the age of 15 indicated that early diagnosis is the single MOST important factor when treating AD/HD. Additionally, 31 percent of the respondents who reported having an immediate family member with AD/HD noted early diagnosis as the single most important factor when treating AD/HD. Early diagnosis was the number one choice among both sets of respondents.

Additional findings released today:

  • Of those diagnosed at age 14 or earlier, 29 percent reported being held back a grade in school compared to only 10 percent of those diagnosed after the age of 30.
  • Of those diagnosed at age 14 or earlier, 75 percent reported being satisfied or very satisfied with life in general, while 67 percent of those diagnosed after the age of 30 reported being satisfied or very satisfied with life in general.
  • 74 percent of those diagnosed after the age of 30 indicated self-education as the most popular treatment. In contrast, those who were diagnosed at age 14 or earlier indicated medication as the most popular treatment option (73 percent).
  • Among individuals who were diagnosed before the age of 30 and who indicated they had children with AD/HD (114 out of 357), 95 percent (or 108 out of 114) indicated their children were diagnosed before the age of 14. Of those individuals diagnosed with AD/HD after the age of 30 who also indicated they had children with AD/HD (870 out of 1,119), 85 percent (or 740 out of 870) indicated their children were diagnosed before the age of 14.
  • 84 percent of individuals who do not have AD/HD themselves but have a family member who does, noted medication as the most effective treatment in controlling AD/HD for their family member. Behavior modification was the second most chosen treatment option with 52 percent of these respondents selecting it.

The informal survey was conducted online within the United States between August 20 and 27, 2009, and was completed by 3,821 people in the CHADD database. CHADD sent an email to more than 60,000 people in its database asking them to participate.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is often characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behavior and an inability to pay attention to tasks. For children affected by AD/HD, the condition often affects social behaviors and achievement at school. There are a variety of ways to treat AD/HD including parent?child education, behavioral management, medication, and school adaptations and support.

With more than 60,000 constituents and 12,000 members nationwide, CHADD is the nation's leading advocacy organization serving families and individuals affected by AD/HD. CHADD works to improve the lives of people affected by AD/HD through collaborative leadership, advocacy, research, education and support. For more information, visit

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Marie Paxson

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