Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Long ADHD Treatment Delays in Adults Have Complex Sources, Study Finds

A large survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that only 55% of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had ever sought treatment for their condition. Comorbid psychiatric disorders, sociodemographic characteristics, and gender were associated with treatment delay, said Elias Dakwar, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in the Division on Substance Abuse at Columbia University, and colleagues in a report in the December Psychiatric Services titled "First Treatment Contact for ADHD: Predictors of and Gender Differences in Treatment Seeking."

“The median delay to treatment seeking from ADHD onset was estimated at over 20 years, which is greater than that for general psychiatric disorders in the United States, but consistent with estimates for childhood-onset disorders,” they pointed out.

Men over age 60, with less than a 12th-grade education, or who overuse alcohol were less likely to seek treatment. However, single men with some comorbidity like depression, a personality disorder, or a phobia were more likely to seek treatment. Women with age of ADHD onset prior to age 11 or with alcohol dependence or bipolar disorder were more likely to seek treatment. Women with less than 12 years of education or who were African American sought out treatment less frequently.

They concluded from their ADHD treatment study that "research is needed to better understand how to optimize receipt of treatment for cases that persist beyond childhood,” concluded Dakwar and colleagues.

For more in Psychiatric News about adults and ADHD, see the article “ADHD Outcome Data in Adults Show Value of Early Treatment.”

(Image: PathDoc/