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ADHD and Adults: Causes Educational and Occupational Deficits

By Michelle Rizzo

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Compared to what they would be expected to achieve based on intellect, adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD have lower educational and occupational attainments, a study shows.

In the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Dr. Joseph Biederman, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues write, “ADHD has been consistently associated with intellectual, educational, and employment deficits.”

To investigate why this might be, the research team conducted a study from 1998 to 2003, comparing 224 adults with ADHD with a group of similar but unaffected people.

The investigators found that subjects with ADHD attained significantly less education than predicted based on their IQ, and lower occupational levels than predicted based on their actual education.

“Educational and occupational deficits in adults with ADHD are a consequence of ADHD and not IQ, and therefore represent under-attainments in these critical areas,” Biederman said in an interview with Reuters Health.

“Considering the critical importance of education and occupation for the individual in our society, these findings strongly support the importance of diagnosing and treating ADHD to avert these serious consequences,” he added.

Biederman and his colleagues plan to “continue evaluating various aspects of these deficits in the hope of developing appropriate preventive and early intervention strategies.”

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, August 2008.

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