Study: ADHD can extend beyond childhood, co-exist with other psychiatric issues, can have higher rate of suicide

A new study has found the effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can extend beyond childhood and can co-exist with other psychiatric conditions.

From (Read the whole story on the site. It is full of good info.):

“In the largest study of its kind, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic found that close to a third of children with ADHD — 29.3% — still have the disorder as adults, along with an increased rate of other psychiatric problems. “We have trivialized this condition,” says lead author Dr. William Barbaresi. “We need to recognize that this is a chronic health problem that often persists into adulthood.”

“Previous estimates of the rate at which ADHD persists into adulthood had ranged widely, from 6% to 66%, but those studies relied on small groups of children. Barbaresi and his colleagues identified 379 cases of ADHD in the 5,718 children born during a six-year period from 1976 to 1982 in Rochester, Minn. Between 7% to 9% of the Rochester kids developed ADHD, which is consistent with current national estimates of 7.5%. Decades later, they were able to track down and enlist 62% of those now-adults — 232 people — to participate in the research.

“Of the third who still had ADHD at age 27, 81% had at least one additional psychiatric disorder and 47% of those who no longer had ADHD had at least one other psychiatric diagnosis, according to the study published in the journal Pediatrics. The findings suggest that ADHD may frequently occur with other mental health disorders, and may serve as a marker for these condition. “That group with ADHD is at highest risk for having additional mental health problems,” says Barbaresi, who is director of the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “We have to stop trivializing ADHD as just another childhood behavior problem. The nature and duration of this study show we have to recognize it as a chronic serious health problem that deserves a lot more attention than it has received.”

Researchers also found some other scary data from the study:

  • The researchers found that “children with ADHD were nearly five times more likely to die from suicide than other people in the study group.”
  • More than 60 percent of kids with ADHD have a learning disability.
  • Kids with ADHD develop at least one additional mental-health problem while they’re still children.

Researchers say insurance companies won’t authorize the comprehensive tests needed to detect and treat these conditions. In contrast, if someone has diabetes the insurance companies will authorize tests for comorbid conditions.

If you had ADHD as a child do you still see symptoms as an adult? Do you see other learning disabilities or psychiatric conditions in your children with ADHD? Did your insurance company authorize enough testing to get to the bottom of things?

34 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2013
2:51 am

If , We could have a bit of compassion to Think of ALL of the Thousands of Children who are affected with this condition. This very moment, think about the THOUSANDS of CHILDREN who are without the Health Insurance Coverage to get this necessary treatment and care. The Little Boys & Girls, BABIES through no fault of there own, who are suffering in lives of quiet desperation going untreated and without care or medication.

Think of the frustration of the Parents and Guardians, who are aware, but unable to get the medical care and assistance because of income levels and limitations of employer plans,etc. Think of The Thousands of Parents who are unemployed and underinsured, including those who for an array of reasons, are faced with the same dilemma.

However, We are in Georgia. We are under the absolute RULE of a REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR, who steadfastly and PROUDLY with PRIDE have refused, this much needed Medical Care for THOUSANDS of BABIES AND CHILDREN across this Great State called GEORGIA.

Our illustrious REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR is outright refusing and denying Medical Care Coverage that is NOW available to ALL citizens of the State Of Georgia, payable at a cost of 100% by the Federal Government Of The United States Of America for the NEXT (3) THREE YEARS!

These POOR, INNOCENT BABIES & CHILDREN (WHITE BLACK & BROWN) including their families affected with this condition and many others as well are SUFFERING everyday and being denied such critial care in the State Of Georgia primarily due to purely political partisianship reasons, in THE GREATEST NATION OF THE WORLD, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in the year 2013 is SHAMEFUL!


How DARE WE SIT in COLD SILENCE? and with COMPLETE INDIFFERENCE in the care of these

How DARE we sit before the comfort of OUR COMPUTER SCREENS in Complete Silence as if these BABIES,CHILDREN,MOTHERS & FATHERS endure such a condition and we REMAIN as we ARE and Do NOTHING!

For ALL those who have eyes and can read these WORDS, I challenge you to REFLECT ON THEM.
Today take a few minutes and take a LONG LOOK into the EYES OF YOUR OWN CHILDREN.







March 5th, 2013
4:11 am

Interesting article. One thing I didn’t see is any mention of what medication study participants took or if any of the later effects (suicide, other mental issues) could be possibly attributed to those meds.
I also think the view/treatment of ADHD is so different now compared to the late 70’s and early 80’s that it is really hard to make a solid link with how a current ADHD diagnosed child might end up.


March 5th, 2013
5:37 am

Bernie –

Keeping all of that in mind, what makes you think we’re still the greatest country in the world?

A Realist

March 5th, 2013
6:45 am

Ahh…it took just one post for a troll to turnan ADHD discussion into a political issue……. Bernie, pack-up and move if Georgia is not for you. I hear the weather in Massachuesetts is great this time of year.


March 5th, 2013
7:41 am

Anon, We have the most billionaires, the largest military force in the world, as a People we donate more to charity every year than the rest of the world combined, at the last Olympics we led the world in overall medals and gold medals, all worldwide commodities are priced in our currency, or President (no matter who it is) is still looked upon to act as the voice of leadership for the entire planet, the United Nations is located in our country…….

There is more I’m sure, but I think you see the point.

in the stone ages

March 5th, 2013
7:45 am

We don’t treat mental illness becasue of the stigma that still exists today. My best friends husband has been in a deep depression for a year now. He is going to be treated with electric shock therapy and they both request that it be kept silent due to others thinking he is mentally unstaple and will now explode one day and start shooting people.
It was bad enough before we labled bi-polar, manic, ADHD as mental issues but now they have been labeled as completely unstaple and will become even more secret about their conditions.
The man I am talking about doesn’t go on aggressive rants – he becomes very submissive and during his moments of depression.
Until we accept and become educated in the world of mental illness – no government @ Bernie, can make any changes. Each of us have to change our way of thinking and study these conditions on our own before we make any statements.


March 5th, 2013
8:00 am

Bernie, what the hell are you talking about? There is mandated legislation. By next year everyone in the entire country will HAVE to have medical insurance. I don’t agree with that, but at least your soap box is about to crumble.

As for ADHD, I grew up ADD. Took Ritalin from 1983 to 1990. I have no lasting ill effects of the medicine or the disorder, but it doesn’t surprise me that some many sufferers had other problems like depression and suicide. Thankfully, I didn’t have the “H”. I simply could not keep my mind on anything…..still can’t if left to my own natural state.

As I matured I was able to find ways to cope in the classroom and now in the business place. I take notes even when they arent necessary so that I will force myself to remain engaged in what is going on in front of me. I use checklists to keep me on task. I read completely in silence when possible so that my mind won’t wander to other things (nothing more frustrating than reading 25 pages only to think “what the hell did any of that say”?)…..

Unfortunately the “H’s” have it a little rougher than I did. They’re very impulsive, and they are not always enjoyable to be around. Being socially ostracized while constantly being on a stimulate is a bad combination for anyone….especially for an impulsive person. A poor self image and limited self control can lead to dangerous life choices like drug abuse and promiscuity also go hand and hand once a child gets older. The suicide numbers don’t surpise me.

Mother of 2

March 5th, 2013
8:26 am

My oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He didn’t have the typical behavior issues people think about when discussing ADHD. After a very complicated pregnancy, we were just happy to have a baby. We knew we would have some issues and felt grateful that ADHD was the only lasting problem as he got older. He took medication for a few years. We were fortunate to have excellent insurance coverage and have great teachers who understood what this boy needed to make it in school.

He’s 21 now and continues to have focus problems, but manages them without medication. He doesn’t have a clear path on what he’d like to do with his life, but he’s always been rather rudderless, so this is nothing new. We are very patient with him and have faith that he’ll find his way. He never got into trouble and generally made good choices as a child. His teachers liked him and he had friends. He took medication for only 4 years to help him complete his school assignments as he learned to cope with his learning issues. Despite a whole lot of positive feedback, he has a mild form of depression as a young adult.

Early intervention and proper care is not a political issue. Interestingly, he was a school age child in New Jersey, where we always felt like we had school support from teachers and administrators. Although I’m sure that Realist is being facetious in his/her comment to Bernie, there is some truth to his response. NJ seems to be socially liberal but fiscally conservative. The smaller costs of early intervention and highly supportive elementary schools saves higher costs of dealing with poor outcomes in high school age kids.

I can’t say that Georgia wouldn’t have provided the same level of support during elementary and middle school because we didn’t have the opportunity to test it. But we did move this son to private school for high school when we got down here because I was having to fight for pretty basic accommodations in the public school. I am very happy with the public schools for my older child who doesn’t have any special needs.

ADHD is a complicated issue that is different for each person experiencing it. Support for the students and their families is important for positive outcomes.


March 5th, 2013
8:47 am

The problem with ADHD is that there is not a real test, brainscan, etc, to detect it. Many other disorders(bi-polar & certain austisms are 2) that have similar outward signs as ADHD. The medicines that help with ADHD are often the ones that help with other disorders too, further masking the real issues.

As anyone with an ADD/ADHD child knows, the problem is real. However, like any other medical issue you should have it throughly checked out and bring any new concerns to your doctor. Putting my child on medicine for ADHD was a tough descion but it was good one. I work with her doctor and we have changed medicine and dosages.

ADD/ADHD is genetic, it is often found in siblings to varying to degrees.

Our doctor was quick to point out that help (not cure) for ADHD is 3 tiered. 1- Medicine so she can focus on instruction–may or not be for a lifetime. 2- Behavior/Psychological Therapy so that she can learn ways to over come the challenges of ADHD 3- HOME. Establish a routine, be consistant, and parent(s) who can see if there is a difference in behavior.

ADHD is not something you are likely to cure or outgrow. Adults and children who have it, that do not need medication, have likely found coping skills. They often gravitate to jobs that work with their skills and occupy their minds in so that they stay focused.

There is tons of research and progress being made with ADHD.

@ jarvis, I do the same thing…take notes in meetings when not necessary just to stay focused. You are dead on with ADD vs ADHD issues. I have one of each in my home.

The ‘H’ is the challenge. Although with the proper medication, her impulsivity is kept in check. She is gaining self confidence through outlets she has found (singing & song writing in particular) to channel her energy.

The ADD child has issues focusing in school. Much like the ones you describe.

One more thing about the suicide/depression. I asked the doctors about this. Often a person is so used to feeling one way, that when the medicine starts to make them feel better they do not know how to handle it. They see an increase in suicide then. Further, people try to self medicate and that is not good.


March 5th, 2013
8:52 am

“Did you insurance company authorize enough testing to get to the bottom of things?

GRAMMER FAIL! Terressa, if you’re going to write for a paper, please EDIT your questions. DID YOUR not Did YOU.

Geez, the AJC is full of half-wits.

Now, back to your asinine question. Why do we need more taxpayer dollars to pay for more “tests?” Kids are different and not all of them do well in school. The fact that parents say things like “if you don’t go to college you’ll never make it in the real world” is BULL $HIT. I know a lot of successful people who either flunked out of college or chose to go to trade school. I know medical students who will never pay off their student loans.

Bottom line: Student loans will be the next bubble to burst.


March 5th, 2013
8:53 am

“More than 60 percent of kids with ADHD have a learning disability.”

So? Not every kid is meant to go to college. There are only so many jobs that kids with pottery degrees can get.


March 5th, 2013
8:56 am

“We don’t treat mental illness becasue of the stigma that still exists today.

ADHD isn’t a mental illness. It’s a made up pile of crap to get ignorant parents the excuse to pump their kids full of medication. People want a “quick fix” so little Timmy will become a mindless robot.

Uh, WOW...

March 5th, 2013
9:18 am

…if you are going to cast dispersions, please learn how to spell – it is “GRAMMAR”- don’t you just hate it when you try to be a smart arse and end up being a dumb arse?

Been there, done that, with this same word, too, so I know…and I agree about the made up aspect of ADHD, but when T brought up this topic about 5 years ago I was castigated so I will not comment this time…


March 5th, 2013
9:37 am

“don’t you just hate it when you try to be a smart arse and end up being a dumb arse?”

Child, I don’t get paid to write for the AJC. Make sense, troglodyte?

Just sayin

March 5th, 2013
9:38 am

ADHD is a real problem, but I think that it has become marginalized because there have been too many parents wanting and or using that diagnosis to not parent. Instead of structure or setting rules they ran to get medicine to subdue their children. It has died down some, but it is still a problem that has detracted from a real issue. I have worked with children with mild ADD to kids with severe ADHD and many times they do end up depressed and often have other underlying conditions. As FCM said, medicine AND therapy together seems to produce the best results..

No, WOW...

March 5th, 2013
9:40 am

…YOU mispelled a word while trying to be a smart arse about someone else, so just face up to it and move on, admitting that you ARE a dumb arse…

If you will check...

March 5th, 2013
9:41 am

…there is no such thing as ADD anymore, it is all encompassed by ADHD according to the AMA…


March 5th, 2013
9:46 am

Is the ADHD itself associated with the higher rates of suicide or are the high rates of suicide associated with the powerful psychoactive drugs doctors, schools, and others force these kids and adults onto when they are “diagnosed?” A long list of mass shootings shows these same drugs being used by most if not all of the shooters and the number of suicides among others taking similar drugs for ADHD, depression, and other mental conditions is unbelievably high.

I would hate for someone to call me a “troll” for saying so, but why does nearly every parent immediately believe the schools, their doctors, etc. when they diagnose their kids with ADHD and second, why do they quickly embrace these powerful and dangerous drugs rather than investigating alternative medicinal therapies, diet changes, etc. (that have been proven to work with no side effects)? Why does nobody question the very “learning” environment present in government run schools? What are the rates of ADHD among homeschooled kids? What are the rates of ADHD in schools that still have recess, playgrounds, etc.? What are the rates among kids who get regular exercise versus kids who sit in front of the TV all the time?

It seems to me that this “diagnosis” is really just a giant profit and control mechanism for the pharmaceutical industry and nobody seems willing to investigate whether there are other root causes besides a chemical deficiency of Ritalin. But then the truth might be more than parents and schools can handle because it may require more of them then they are willing or are able to deliver.


March 5th, 2013
10:25 am

“…YOU mispelled a word while trying to be a smart arse about someone else, so just face up to it and move on, admitting that you ARE a dumb arse…

You have the IQ of a carrot, ma’am.


March 5th, 2013
11:09 am

Because we all use smartphone keypads to comment now, spelling is no longer a relevant debating point. The smartphones “correct” our syntax. Sometimes the smartphones make words out of our own words that we didn’t intend. Ruling: No, you may not win or advance a discussion by spell-checking your opposing moron. Really sorry, but that’s the ruling. No backs, no vice-versas, no changies.

Blog on, the issue is really grounded in the dunce cap and the shame of being perceived as a mental aberration. We all still have a superior snob approach to mental conditions of any kind, even good mental conditions (like people who get all A’s, or have an IQ that satisfies the criteria for “genius”, you know, like Jay Bookman). We mock everyone but the average brain. You know, as a species, I gotta say we really have it coming. If only there were some higher power that might judge us all someday and send us all to hell in a hand basket so at least we’ll know some justice was done, somehow, someway. I do know that if Bookman and his blog filled with skidmarks-in-training get to heaven, then i don’t want any part of it. Capiche? (sic)


March 5th, 2013
11:42 am

It was just published that five major psychiatric disorders — autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia — have genetic links.


March 5th, 2013
12:00 pm

We are in the process of discovering that my daughter is dyslexic. In my research on the topic, I read that ADHD is very often associated with dyslexia. Dyslexia is alot more than just “writing backwards”. Many dyslexics never write backwards(fyi). Usually poor spelling (doesn’t grasp phonics), bad handwriting, and bad short term memory are staples of dyslexia, even in very bright (high IQ) kids. Instead, they tend to be very visual and verbal. They are great detailed storytellers, but to get that same story onto paper is torture.

Many times dyslexia is even misdiagnosed as ADHD and the dyslexic part is missed all together. Teachers complain of an problems focusing or that they are unable to be still in the class room. But the root of the problem is the actually child’s inability to see the words correctly. They don’t realize this obviously as they don’t know any different, and it causes them to not want to even attempt the work which leads to disruptive behavior (especially for boys). The schools, however, do not acknowledge dyslexia so they call it ADHD or something else.

I was really suprised when I started researching vision therapy for dyslexia that it very often comes up grouped with ADHD, Autism, Aspergers. It is very possible to have 20/20 eye sight and still not be able to “see” the words correctly. They can swirl, move or “dance” or blur etc. It is more about how the brain connects to what they eyes are seeing.

It’s all very interesting. I’m learning alot.


March 5th, 2013
12:26 pm

@Forgotten — as a parent of an ADHD medicated child I go read up on those people you mentioned. It is usually found that they were on the wrong dosage (often self medicated), stopped taking their medication, or as in the case of the guy in December (CT), the ADHD was diagnosed not the real issue. It was found that he was actually bi-polar but had been treated as ADHD.

just sayin’ had it right, too many quick fix disagnosis of ADHD.

In the case of my children, I paid for (not my insurance) several tests to be run to rule out everything. I tried behavioral therapy alone for a bit (worked with older child) but eventually found one of the leading Drs in Atlanta. He has been practicing since 1975 and spent 5 min with her, she had pulled every toy out in his kids area in 2 min and could not follow a conversation…she was 6. He said lets try this…start at 5mg and increase by 5 until you see her acting like an avg 6 yo (we stopped at 15 mg).


March 5th, 2013
12:28 pm

Anon @ 5:37 am – I agree with your premise as stated. In Looking at some of the comments posted, One would have to question the seriousness of that assertion.

A Realist @ 6:45 am – typical response form one who lacks the ability to express a written opinion to support his opposition to something that has been read. However, out of frustration you attack the individual personally to cover for your inability to express one’s own opinion. You have my sincere sympathy! Reading and comprehension classes are always available at your local community college. Try it sometimes…A new world will open for you! :)

jarvis@ 8:00 am – Your initial statement tells many here you too, are in need of a reading and comprehension instruction. You are being betrayed by your own words. take a look at it!


March 5th, 2013
1:24 pm

both of my grown children had/have ADHD with comorbid conditions. the most interesting thing about this roller coaster ride was when i started working for a major metro school system in a non-teaching position. guess what condition they DID NOT COVER with their insurance? monthly medication for both of my children cost the same as my food budget allowance. you can guess who went begging to churches and food banks!!! the idea of not providing medication wasn’t a viable option.


March 5th, 2013
3:26 pm

The best approach with idiots (re: WOW) is ignoring. I’m going to disregard my instincts just to say this: To think a parent would want to drug up their child is ludicrous. To think a child with ADHD on medicine is “a mindless robot” is just plain ignorant. Obviously, if you have seen a child before and after, you know that their personality is not really different; they are just able to function and focus better, and interact better with others; if they were a goofy clown before, they are still a goofy clown – just one with better self-control. They are able to control their impulses and actually learn. There is obviously a physiological cause for this illness; the brains of these children react differently to a stimulant (it gives them focus) than a so-called normal brain would. As a matter of fact, you can give them a high dose of caffeine in a behavioral emergency and it will actually calm them down (give them focus) rather than stimulate them. But I guess some people know everything, and some people just like to make negative comments about others, and some just like to say whatever inflammatory thing comes to mind, because it’s a relatively anonymous blog, and you can hide behind the fact that nobody knows where you live, and they can’t sic their so-called ADHD children on you. The sad thing is, you do have some valid points of discussion, but by masking them in superiority and rudeness, nobody really cares. It’s true that kids are all different, but if a kid has a chance to go from failing math, to getting all As and Bs and the difference is a medication, why wouldn’t you give them a chance to learn more? Maybe they won’t go to college, but maybe they will, and maybe someday they’ll be your doctor, telling you that your inferiority complex masking as a need to feel superior over people you don’t know on a blog is a made up illness….


March 5th, 2013
4:04 pm

Beth, my husband is dyslexic and like you describe, he doesn’t write backwards, he just can’t spell and gives up on trying. He can though ride down the road and tell you if the same car was in someone’s driveway yesterday that’s there today and once he goes somewhere, he remembers his way back, even a year or so later after never going since the first time. It amazes me how his picture memory works. He’s driven me a few times back to some appts. and many times I’ve said that’s the house and he said no, they had a black SUV or a fish mailbox etc. I just shake my head and wonder how in the world he noticed let alone remembered those little facts.


March 5th, 2013
4:47 pm

My son has been twice evaluated by two different doctors and they both came back with the ADHD co-existing with SPD. It’s been a long exhausting road that seems to have just begun; and we haven’t even gotten to meds yet….

I would like to address these “misconceptions” people have about the parents of children with ADHD and the children themselves:

1. I wish nothing more than to have a “normal” child.

2. I have tried every freaking discipline strategy under the sun. Some work, some don’t and then sometimes it’s a game of see saw (one works one day and the next day it doesn’t).

3. I am SO routine that it almost got to a point where intimacy with hubby had to be scheduled in. Believe it or not, sometimes these kids just need a BREAK. (i.e. day off from school to hike through woods)

4. I will try everything I can before medicating. Most of us don’t WANT to medicate our children. Unfortunately the “one box fits all” school system won’t allow too much wiggle room and therefore it’s more of everyone else around your kid BEGGING you to medicate them.

5. Most of these kids have serious issues with self confidence. My son feels as though he cannot compete nor measure up to the kids in his classroom academically, so, he does things to show his physical and motor strength (standing on his head, break dancing, nothing aggressive) hoping to mask his imperfections and compensate for his lack of intelligence. This is where the depression comes in I think. It starts early for them and low self esteem is a difficult disposition to break.

I am really over people though. I am sick and tired of people talking about how something isn’t real, that is’t made up, that all the kid needs is a good but whoopin or the real kicker, the parents are just sorry. Say what you want, but in my eyes, it’s the parents who’s child has some form of these mental illness, who lives in denial or refuses to believe it and isn’t involved and shrugs it off as the real sorry parents. I exhaust myself everyday just to give my child a chance to be a productive member of society.


March 5th, 2013
5:13 pm

Sorry Bernie. I guess your ramblings may have gone on so long that my ADD mind might have wandered a bit.

I just tried to re-read it, but I dosed off.

midnight garden

March 5th, 2013
8:37 pm

The grammar and spelling police are out in full force here on the mom blog. Do we really need to criticize over spelling mistakes on a blog? I think it says a lot more about the person critizing.

But anyway, my son has ADHD and takes medication. Now he is showing symptoms of depression and I’m afraid we will have to give him medicine for that too. The one for his ADHD does work though and he has counseling as well. Like most parents, I’ll do anything for my son.

I think Bernie was talking about the governor not signing the medicaid law (not Obamacare insurance per se)that would provide health care for thousands of low income Georgians, including many children. Yes, our governor is a piece of …. work.


March 5th, 2013
9:39 pm

We musn’t blame or cajole those whose only contribution to informed debate
is spelling error alerts. If they can provide only format margins to our exploration, then let them be the the sewer pipes we all need to flush our discourse into the relief of compromise.


March 6th, 2013
12:01 am

in the stone ages @ 7:45 am – Is it possible that I my obtain a daily schedule of this individual?
I really, really,really in all sincerity, would like to avoid any place or places that we may randomly meet or cross paths or bump into each other. For NOw, a general area would suffice!


March 6th, 2013
6:54 am

Jmb…he remembers those things b/c that is coping skill he developed.


March 6th, 2013
8:12 am

Late to the dance…

It irks me when people (who have no experience with ADHD) say it is made up.

To me, this is like those who have never been to Atlanta saying: THE TRAFFIC CANNOT BE THAT BAD.

Um, try being stuck in it several times a week and you will change your mind. Those who have a child or have taught a child with ADHD know. They can also see the difference medication makes.

I personally take no prescriptions. My son will be a Pharmacist soon. I appreciate talking to him and asking him questions about what meds are available. He knows a LOT about it and I do not.