ADHD Symptoms Can Persist Despite Medication [Study]

Despite medical intervention, ADHD symptoms can persist in the majority of children afflicted with chronically moderate-to-severe symptoms, according to a treatment study. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published study concluded children still demonstrated clinical indicators of the disruptive disorder years after being diagnosed and treated.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder diagnosed more frequently in boys than girls and affects 3 to 5 percent of school aged children. Symptoms of the condition include an exaggerated level of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, restlessness, depression, and impulsivity. Typically children with this disorder have at least one other developmental or behavioral problem.

Physical manifestations of ADHD include excessive or inappropriately timed fidgeting, running or climbing, yelling and interrupting, an inability to wait his/her turn, and a difficulty remaining still and quiet for prolonged periods.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines for diagnosis which require a complete developmental, mental, physical, and psychosocial examination from a qualified medical professional. Medications are usually prescribed as part of treatment.

Of the 207 preschool-aged children who initially enrolled in the PATS review (parent-and-teacher-rated), male subjects composed 75 percent of the study group. A baseline of diagnosis, behavior, and treatment was established after a few months. Thereafter, the members were referred to community clinicians as they continued the course of their treatment. Changes in symptom severity were charted by teachers and parents, and provided to Johns Hopkins researchers for analysis.

After the six year longitudinal study it was determined nearly 90 percent of remaining participates, roughly 180, were still clinically impaired with ADHD. It was also determined that children who had oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorders were 30 percent more likely to have persistent ADHD.

Symptom severity scores did not differ significantly between the children on medication versus those not. The 62 percent of children taking anti-ADHD drugs had clinically significant hyperactivity and impulsivity, compared with 58 percent of those not taking medicines.

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