Adults, Especially Women, May Develop ADHD Later In Life

Posted on May 21, 2016

Photo: flickr

It seems lots of women who didn’t have ADHD in childhood are now being diagnosed as adults. What that means, however, isn’t so simple: Scientists don’t really know yet, but they have a few ideas.

The U.K. study followed 2,000 participants from birth to age 18. They found that only one of every five kids with ADHD still had it as adults. However, 5.5% of all the participants had ADHD in adulthood but not in childhood. Among the children with ADHD, 73% were boys, but only 45% of those newly diagnosed as adults were men.

The authors of the study have three possible explanations for the results. First, it may be that the adults diagnosed for the first time with ADHD had the susceptibility for the condition all along, but the disorder might have been “masked in childhood owing to protective factors, such as particularly supportive family environments or highly developed cognitive skills.” The authors explain the difference in diagnostics in women and men, “In girls, ADHD symptoms may be less likely to come to the attention of parents and teachers owing to lower rates of externalizing-type [outward] behaviors, resulting in fewer girls with ADHD diagnosed in childhood.”

A second hypothesis is that there could be an adult version of ADHD that researchers have not yet discovered. And their third is that it may not be tough enough as a kid if you’re smart and have a great support network of family and teachers. But when you grow up and life gets real, ADHD rears its ugly head and bites you in the butt.

Whatever the case, adulthood ADHD is clearly real, Faraone and Biederman said. It could still be a neurodevelopment disorder wired into the brain that just doesn’t show up until later in some people, or it could be an entirely different beast, but adults showing the symptoms need treatment, the UK authors said, even if they didn’t have an ADHD diagnosis as children.

To read the full article, click on the link below.

Category(s):Adult ADHD

Source material from Forbes

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