According to new research led by psychologists at the University of Bath in the UK, adults have higher levels of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (ADHD) symptoms Adults with high levels of autistic traits are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. This study is the first to show that ADHD predicts poorer outcomes. Mental health Results compared to other neurodevelopmental conditions in adults, such as autism.
Until now, there has been a paucity of information on the impact of ADHD on poor mental health, with much of the research focusing on autism’s impact on depression, anxiety and depression. Quality of life. As a result, people with ADHD often struggle to access the medical care they need to manage symptoms. (Also read: Daily habits that can help manage ADHD symptoms in children. )
The study’s authors hope their findings will stimulate new research into ADHD and ultimately improve mental health outcomes for people with the condition. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. The condition is estimated to affect between 3 percent and 9 percent of the population.
Speaking on Blue Monday (January 16) – the third Monday in January, described by some as the saddest day of the year – lead researcher, Luca Hargitay, said: “Scientists have long known that Autism is associated with anxiety and depression, but ADHD has been somewhat overlooked.
“Researchers have also struggled to statistically separate the importance of ADHD and autism for mental health outcomes because of how often they co-occur,” he said.
“Our aim was to accurately estimate the extent to which ADHD personality traits are associated with poor mental health while statistically accounting for autistic traits,” added Ms Hargitay, a PhD researcher at Bath. “
The new research – a joint effort between the universities of Bath, Bristol and Cardiff and King’s College London – was published this week in the leading journal Scientific Reports. It comes in the same month that two British TV personalities – Johnny Vegas and Sue Perkins – spoke about their recent diagnosis of ADHD.
“This condition affects so many people – both children and adults – and the fact that more people are willing to talk about it is to be welcomed,” Ms Hargitay added, adding, “Hopefully With greater awareness will come more research into the area and better resources to help individuals better manage their mental health.”
Overactive, as if driven by a motor.
The study used a large, nationally representative sample of adults from the UK population. All participants completed gold standard questionnaires—one on autistic traits, the other on ADHD traits—responding to statements such as “I often become intensely absorbed in one thing” and “How often are you overly active and compulsive? Feel that motorized thing like you?”
The researchers found that ADHD symptoms were highly predictive of the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms: the higher the level of ADHD symptoms, the more likely a person was to experience severe mental health symptoms. . Through advanced analytical techniques, the study authors further confirmed that ADHD personality traits are more strongly associated with anxiety and depression than autistic traits.
These results were replicated in computerized simulations with a 100% ‘reproducibility rate’. He showed with great confidence that ADHD symptoms are almost certainly associated with more severe anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults than autistic traits.
Changing focus of research and clinical practice
“Our findings suggest that research and clinical practice should shift some attention away from autism to ADHD. This may help identify those who are most at risk for anxiety and depression,” said Ms. Hargitay. “Preventive measures — such as helping children and adults manage their ADHD symptoms — can be put in place earlier to have a greater impact on improving people’s well-being.”
According to Dr Puneet Shah, senior author and associate professor of psychology at Bath, another important aspect of the new research is that it advances scientific understanding of neurodevelopmental conditions.
“By addressing the shortcomings of previous research, our work provides fresh insights into the complex links between neurodiversity and mental health in adults – an area that is often overlooked,” he said.
“Further research is now needed to gain a deeper understanding of why ADHD is associated with poorer mental health, particularly regarding the mental processes that concern people with ADHD traits,” he said. and can engage in depressive thinking.”
“At the moment, funding for ADHD research – particularly psychiatric research – is lacking. This is particularly evident when you compare this to the relatively high level of funding for autism,” he said. explained.
“As evidence becomes clear that ADHD is not just a childhood condition but persists throughout life, we must adjust our research agenda to better understand ADHD in adulthood.”
Commenting on the new findings, Dr. Tony Floyd, CEO of the Neurodiversity Foundation, ADHD Foundation, said, “This research shows clear evidence of an increased risk of mental health disorders associated with ADHD in adults. and untreated ADHD. We hope that this research will stimulate further research in this area. We also hope that it will result in changes in the design and delivery of health services.
“The cost impact on the NHS of leaving ADHD untreated, and the need for better training of health practitioners in both primary and secondary care, is now clearer. UK citizens with ADHD and their family life, employment and economic to well-being. These costs are often hidden but are worth considering.”
“This research from the University of Bath will add to the growing national debate and add to the business case for a national review of health services for ADHD across a person’s lifespan,” he added.
This story was published without editing the text from a wire agency feed. Only the title has been changed.