Sunday, November 18, 2007

Study Sheds Light on Why Kids Grow Out of ADHD

Well, you've probably seen it in the news by now. When I first heard it I thought, "That can't be right. Up to half of AD/HD kids grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood? AD/HD is just a developmental delay? I Googled it and even NPR has a story about it, complete with a video illustrating brain development. NPR? It must be true!

Well, it may not be so easy to sort out what this study really means. As you can read here, "the lead author of the school study was somewhat mystified that his research ... was being discussed in the same breath with ADHD at all. The study, he said, wasn’t “about clinical levels of attention problems.”

Now that the story has made the rounds, and stories have been written about the stories about it, it may have set the AD/HD community back by several years. Many people will feel even less entitled to seek treatment since the "leap" that many people will make is that there's a good chance that ADHD will just clear up on its own.

But, hey, I say we keep it because it's a good headline. Nobody likes a headline that reads, "AD/HD? Study Says Your Kids Will Probably Have it 'Till the Day They Die." (Snarky humor is my #1 coping skill. You should see what I delete before I post!)

I admit, it's not very hopeful to keep the opinion that, basically, AD/HD does not (usually) go away. As fun as it sounds to grow out of having AD/HD, you should definitely want to take care to note the difference between hope and, you know, gullibility. This is soft data and more research needs to be done in order to link the initial findings with outcomes. So for now, it changes nothing. Except, perhaps, people's perceptions about seeking treatment.