A study conducted at Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry in conjunction with the New York State Psychiatric Institute has found there is a strong need for clinicians to improve their ability to diagnose and treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The study, entitled The lifetime impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, was conducted by Bernardi S, Faraone SV, Cortese S, Kerridge BT, Pallanti S, Wang S, and Blanco C. The findings, which were grim, were published online in an e-journal ahead of the hard copy August 2011 edition of Psychological Medicine.
More than 34,000 adults ages 18 and older residing in households were surveyed from 2004 to 2005, with diagnoses of ADHD, Axis I and II disorders derived from the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV version.
The researchers discovered that ADHD was associated with an increased risk of bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, specific phobia, and a variety of personality disorders, independent of the effects of other psychiatric co-morbidity.
A lifetime history of ADHD was also associated with increased risk of engaging in behaviors reflecting a lack of planning and deficient inhibitory control, with high rates of adverse events, lower perceived health, social support and higher perceived stress.
Fewer than half of individuals with ADHD had ever sought treatment, and only 25 percent had ever received medication. The average age of first treatment contact was 18.40 years.
The researcher concluded that ADHD is common and associated with a broad range of psychiatric disorders, impulsive behaviors, greater number of traumas, lower quality of life, perceived social support and social functioning — even after adjusting for additional co-morbidity.
“When treatment is sought, it is often in late adolescence or early adulthood, suggesting the need to improve diagnosis and treatment of ADHD,” the team said.
Bernardi S, Faraone SV, Cortese S, Kerridge BT, Pallanti S, Wang S, Blanco C. The lifetime impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA. Psychol Med. 2011 Aug 16:1-13. [Epub ahead of print]