Friday, December 4, 2015

How Long Does ADHD Last? James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey)

Most researchers agree that ADHD lasts a lifetime. “Numerous longitudinal studies now support the conclusion that ADHD is a relatively chronic disorder affecting many domains of major life activities from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood” (Barkley, 2006). The impact of ADHD on adults will likely become as widely studied as its impact on children. 

Some encouraging news is that puberty or maturation changes types of ADHD behaviors for some boys. According to Silver (1999), “About 40–50 percent of children with ADHD will improve or no longer have ADHD after puberty”. 

Mary Anne’s son loved playing school sports and became active in student government and a number of clubs in middle school and high school. His activity level remained high throughout puberty but was channeled in many different directions and became a definite positive for him. What did change was his knowledge about his strengths and limitations and his ability to work around his shortcomings. He didn’t engage in risk-taking behavior more than the average teenage boy and was not sensation-seeking. All in all, his teenage years were very rewarding. 

Your son’s experience with ADHD during and after puberty will be unique. Many of our clients have noticed decreases in their son’s impulsive behavior after puberty. Sheila S. explained her observations: “After he hit the ninth grade, Felix did not seem as hyperactive and could actually remain seated throughout a whole church service and even made it through a wedding ceremony.” Other parents say their son still shows excessive movement but is able to channel the energy into appropriate behaviors. One mom told us, “He still moves a lot, but now when he sits it’s his leg moving up and down, as compared to his entire body.” 

The important perspective is to have hope that your son’s ADHD may decrease during puberty but to recognize that it may not. Regardless of the outcome, stand ready to give your son the support he needs. 

Source : James W. Forgan, Ph.D., and Mary Anne Richey. Raising Boys with ADHD. Prufrock Press Inc. 2012 

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