Thursday, August 7, 2014

Treatment Seeking for ADHD Often Delayed Until Long After Disorder Appears, Study Finds

A large proportion of individuals with ADHD fail to seek treatment for the disorder, and among those who do decide to get treatment, they often do so long after the disorder first appeared. Moreover, treatment seeking by males appears to be affected by a greater number of identifiable characteristics, suggesting that they might be more responsive to efforts directed toward expediting entry into treatment. Those were among the findings in the study, “First Treatment Contact for ADHD: Predictors of and Gender Differences in Treatment Seeking,” published online in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University analyzed data on 34,653 people who responded to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a two-wave face-to-face survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, to examine predictors of treatment seeking for ADHD.

“[T]reatment seeking often did not begin until well after childhood, decades after the disorder had emerged, with older cohorts of either gender at greater risk for long delays in treatment seeking," the researchers said. "Communitywide efforts at public outreach, greater treatment access, and psychoeducation remain important to facilitate the timely entry of affected children into treatment…. Further, because delayed treatment seeking among males was influenced by a greater number of identifiable factors, compared with treatment seeking among females, this analysis is especially relevant to vulnerable male populations, as in the case of males with an African-American background, paranoid personality disorder, low education, or younger age of ADHD onset.”

For related information about treatment for ADHD, see the Psychiatric News article, "Addressing Comorbid ADHD, Substance Abuse Disorder in Adolescents." To read about how ADHD is complicated by other psychiatric illnesses, see American Psychiatric Publishing's ADHD Comorbidities: Handbook for ADHD Complications in Children and Adults.

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