The Emotional and Social Impact of Discontinued Treatment of ADHD in Later Years

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average 9 percent of children ranging from 4 to 17 years of age are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD every year. ADHD is considered one of the most common disorders among children in the country. Mental healthcare providers urge parents to observe their children for any unusual behavior which could be symptoms of the disorder. Equally important is making sure that the suspected child with ADHD is brought to the child psychiatrists for proper diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

The Archives of General Psychiatry published a study on October 15, 2012 which apparently emphasize and highlight the importance of appropriate and uninterrupted treatment. In the said study, about 300 young boys from New York City were followed by researchers for a long period of 33 years. About 150 young boys were diagnosed with ADHD in their childhood but they stopped their medications by the time they went to school. These young boys were recruited by a parent, teacher or a psychiatrist. The other 150 young boys were selected because they have no records of behavioral problems leading to the conclusion that they did not have ADHD.

The study showed the following findings:

  • men with ADHD are 7 times more likely to discontinue schooling
  • if employed, men with ADHD will make an average of less than US$40,000 per year compared with those who do not have ADHD.
  • men with ADHD will likely end up in a divorce, twice more than non-ADHD men.
  • 16 percent of men with ADHD showed signs of personality disorder while non-ADHD men showed none
  • 36 percent of men with ADHD had been imprisoned at least once compared to the low 11 percent in men without ADHD.

Such findings reinforce the experts opinion that discontinued or interrupted treatment could have long-term impact on the person’s emotional and social wellness of men with ADHD many years after their diagnosis. It is surprising to see the difference in outcomes from ADHD and non-ADHD individuals. Mental healthcare providers should encourage and convince parents on the significance of continuous treatment in order to prevent the not-so-good outcomes.