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Study raises questions about diagnosis, medical treatment of ADHD
Date:1/22/2008

ugh to differentiate between the two groups. Additional psychological testing is recommended to confirm the presence of cognitive impairments.

Researchers also found surprising results regarding the effectiveness of medicine in treating ADHD. In contrast to children in United States, youth in northern Finland are rarely treated with medicine for ADHD, yet the 'look' of the disorder its prevalence, symptoms, psychiatric comorbidity and cognition is relatively the same as in the U.S., where stimulant medication is widely used. The researchers point out that this raises important issues about the efficacy of the current treatments of ADHD in dealing with the disorder's long-term problems.

"We know medication is very effective in the short-term," said Smalley, who authored or co-authored each of the papers. "But the study raises important questions concerning the long-term efficacy of ADHD treatment. Here we have two different cultures and two different approaches to treatment, yet at the time of adolescence, there are few differences in the presentation and problems associated with ADHD."

Other findings from the wide-ranging study include:

  • Further confirmation that ADHD symptoms do change with age: Hyperactivity and impulsivity decrease with age, while inattention increasingly predominates. In fact, about two-thirds of children with ADHD continue to exhibit significant levels of inattentiveness and impairment into adolescence.

  • ADHD is associated with increased rates of other psychiatric problems. Most prominent in adolescence are depression; anxiety; oppositional behaviors, such as arguing, losing one's temper and being easily annoyed; and conduct disorders like vandalism and truancy. Surprisingly, post-traumatic stress disorder is significantly elevated among adolescents with ADHD, compared with non-ADHD youth. The prevalence of these co-occurring disorders is comparable to that found in
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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