A new study, conducted by North American researchers, has confirmed the results of previous research, which revealed that adults who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to suffer addictions, their economic level is lower and they divorce more. than the rest of the population, which puts them at greater risk of social exclusion.
The research, which has been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, is, until now, the largest follow-up study in time for children diagnosed with ADHD while they were still in school. To carry out the study, 135 white, middle-class males were selected, who were detected hyperactivity and attention deficit in 1970. They began to be controlled by the authors of the study when they were 18 years old, and were compared with another group. of the same age and conditions, who had not had problems during their school years.
Among adults who had been diagnosed with ADHD in childhood there were more cases of divorce, drug addiction and antisocial behavior
When the men of both groups turned 41, they answered some questions about how their life had progressed. The data revealed that children who had been diagnosed with ADHD left school, on average, 2.5 years earlier, and only 4% of them attended higher education compared to 29% of those in the control group.
There were also wage differences between both groups: an average of 134,000 euros in the control group, compared to 73,000 euros on average in those diagnosed with ADHD. A third of the latter, in addition, had been in prison at some time in their lives, three times as many cases as in the control group. The researchers note that they also found more cases of divorce, drug addiction and antisocial behavior among hyperactive people.
Based on a very small sample of the population, the study does not clarify why these patients are more at risk of suffering addictions, although, as explained by Rachel Klein, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York (United States). ), the impulsivity that characterizes people with ADHD makes them more prone to the consumption of addictive substances.
Although ADHD currently has no cure, it is possible to keep the symptoms under control with a hyperactivity treatment that combines medications and behavioral therapy. Klein points out that the important thing is to intervene as soon as there are signs of antisocial behavior, and to maintain the treatment of these children, attending to their specific needs, both in the educational environment and in the family environment, to prevent the disorder from continuing to cause problems. when you reach adulthood.