Friday, October 11, 2013

What You May Not Know about ADHD

By Ahmed Khan, MD 

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an illness that affects many people living in this country. It's reported that 7-10% of Americans have ADHD - a disorder that alters one’s attention and concentration in a negative manner. 

Oftentimes, parents and children conceptualize this lack of attention and concentration leading solely to problems at work and school. Unfortunately, ADHD has a number of adverse health outcomes that you may not be aware of. Hopefully my post will help you understand the various adverse health outcomes associated with ADHD.

Substance Use and Smoking: Several studies show a significantly increased rate of substance abuse disorders and smoking in patients with ADHD. This could be due to the increased impulsivity apparent in many people with ADHD.

Sleep Problems: It's pretty clear that ADHD leads to dysregulation of sleep. This is often displayed by resisting sleep at bedtime, difficulty falling asleep once in bed, and problems awaking in the morning.

Car Accidents: Did you know people with ADHD have a higher risk of traffic violations and car accidents? Some studies found this to be due to increased risk-taking behavior and poor frustration tolerance.

Physical Injuries: Studies have also revealed children with ADHD can have almost twice the injury rate as those without it (20.4% vs. 11.5%). A study looking at an insurance data base of over 100,000 people, from children to adults aged 64, found that those with ADHD had 1.55 times greater chance of injury versus those without ADHD.

Risky Sexual Activity: Studies suggest that the impulsivity, poor self-esteem, and risk-taking behaviors that are prevalent in people with ADHD can lead some to engage in risky sexual behavior and increase their risk of receiving and transmitting sexually-transmitted diseases.

Obesity: There is no direct correlation between ADHD and obesity yet, but some studies show that children with ADHD are more likely to be obese than those without it. This could be due to various reasons, but researchers are looking at genetic similarities between the two conditions which could provide more insight in near future. 

So, did you learn something new about the often misunderstood ADHD? I hope my post provided you with a better idea of the toll that ADHD can take on one's life. With a thorough diagnosis and proper treatment by a trained psychiatrist, a person with ADHD can greatly limit these adverse events and, many times, avoid such negative health issues all together. 

1 comment:

  1. Great timing on this post since October is ADHD Awareness month.

    There is a new Parents MedGuide developed by APA and AACAP available at This is a valuable resource for parents who are making tough decisions about treatment for their children.


Comments are reviewed before posting, and comments that include profanity or other inappropriate material will not be posted. The comment section is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice. All decisions about clinical care should be made in consultation with your treating physician. If you need help with a mental health issue, please visit our resource page.