Even with Meds, Kids with ADHD Fare Worse
According to a recent study, children with ADHD—attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—experience more health problems and issues at school than children without the condition, even when they are treated with medication. This research, which was conducted in the U.K., suggests kids who have ADHD may not perform as well as their peers academically, are more likely to have special needs, and are at increased risk for exclusion from school. They also have a higher risk of injury and hospitalization than children who don’t have ADHD. After leaving school, young people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have lower rates of continuing education and higher rates of unemployment.
For the study, researchers focused on children receiving medication to treat ADHD. Current guidelines in the U.K. do not recommend medication as a first-line treatment for mild- to moderate-ADHD—a position that differs from the one held by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study involved 766,244 children, aged four to 19, who attended schools in Scotland from 2009 to 2013. About 1 percent of the study participants—7,413 children—received ADHD medication.
After adjusting for other factors, researchers determined kids with ADHD treated medically fare worse than their peers in several ways. Although girls in the study were less likely than boys to be treated for ADHD, their outcomes were generally poorer when they did receive treatment.
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