1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Study Finds that ADHD may Inhibit Societal Growth if Untreated

ADHD Study Finds Long Term Implications

By Nancy Wood

Updated October 28, 2012

Adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as a child may take pause at a new study on the learning disability. The recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry was a follow-up from a previous ADHD study conducted some 33 years ago on a selection of children. The initial study observed the behaviors of children diagnosed with ADHD and a separate group of children without the learning disability. Now scientists have compared how these two groups of children have grown up into adults all these years later, and the results are quite startling.

Hard facts: The study notes that many of the adults who had ADHD as children experienced considerable obstacles across a many areas of societal development compared to the adults who didn't have the learning disability as children. Many of those in the study with ADHD experienced hardships in their schooling, social relationships, career goals, and in their overall economic situation, and some researchers have posited that their learning disability may be to blame.

Here are just some of the discoveries that researchers made as a result of the study:

  1. The adults who had ADHD as children earned significantly less than the adults who never suffered from ADHD. The study estimates that the adults without ADHD earned almost $40,000 more on average than those who did have the learning disability.
  2. The adults in the group that didn't suffer from ADHD as children as had more schooling on average than those who had ADHD. The study states that adults with ADHD had an average of two and half years less schooling than those without ADHD-that's more than an associate's degree worth of education.
  3. Adults with ADHD also had higher rates of substance abuse issues as well as issues with antisocial behavior. Addressing ADHD early and effectively: Though the numbers from this particular study appear to paint a bleak picture for people who had ADHD, it shouldn't discourage people who have the learning disability. If anything, the study points to the necessity of properly addressing and treating ADHD as the real disability that it is. ADHD shouldn't be disregarded as a mere disorder that promotes hyperactivity in children; this study proves that at least that much.

    While there is no one silver bullet that can magically ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD, there are a number of steps that parents and young people can take to mitigate the effects of the disorder. For example, WebMD mentions a few helpful forms of treatment:

    • Limiting the expression of problematic symptoms through medication(though medication may not be the answer for everyone suffering from the disability).
    • Informative and earnest education and advocacy about ADHD to both parents and children who're affected by the disability.
    • Cognitive and behavioral therapies aimed at helping patients develop healthy mechanisms and strategies against dysfunctional behavior sometimes spurred on by ADHD.
    • Keeping educators in the loop on a child's learning disabilities so they can develop teaching methods that help that child grow intellectually.
    ADHD advocacy and your feedback: It's of utmost importance that everyone who works with children are made aware of the harmful effects of ADHD that can persist into adulthood if gone unchecked. There needs to be a more robust structure of advocacy around ADHD as a learning disability so that children can get the proper treatment that they deserve. Medication alone is not the answer to treating so a nuanced disorder, and the more people who realize it, the better.

    What do you have to say about this new ADHD study and about the learning disability in general? I'd love to hear your feedback!

    Nancy Wood writes about higher education, healthcare, and student life for a number of education-based publications and websites, including onlinecollegeclasses.com. When she's not covering the headlines in her target industries, Nancy is likely out on the running trails or working on her short fiction. Feel free to send some comments her way at nancy.wood22a@gmail.com!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.