Childhood ADHD Linked to Poor Outcomes in Adulthood

Blog-Childhood ADHD Linked to Poor Outcomes in Adulthood

Research has found that men diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood have significantly worse functional outcomes as adults compared to men without the disorder.


Since functional outcomes are defined as “the cost of ADHD in terms of real-life adaptations and managing the demands of adulthood”, these findings really emphasize the importance of identifying ADHD symptoms in patients of all ages.

What Research Says

A 33-year follow-up study conducted by investigators at the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City showed that men who were diagnosed with ADHD as children had worse educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes compared with non-ADHD comparison participants.

Led by Rachel G. Klein, PhD, the researchers also found higher rates of divorce, ongoing ADHD, antisocial personality disorder, and substance use disorders as well as more hospitalizations and incarcerations.

The Findings

“Our findings confirm that men diagnosed with ADHD as children had multiple disadvantages throughout their lifetime,” Dr. Klein said in a statement. “It’s essential that we monitor children with ADHD through adolescence and continue to treat them to help offset issues that can extend into adulthood,” she added.

To examine the long-term outcomes in this patient population, the investigators followed 135 men who were diagnosed with ADHD at a mean age of 8 years and a comparison group of 136 men not diagnosed with childhood ADHD. The average age at follow-up was 41 years.

At 33-year follow-up, results revealed that only 3.7% of affected men had academic degrees higher than high school diplomas, compared with 29.4% of comparator control participants. Further, those with ADHD as children also had lower occupational status levels and relatively poorer socioeconomic status compared with control participants.

Men with Childhood ADHD

Men with childhood ADHD also had higher rates of ongoing ADHD, at 22.2% vs 5.1% for the comparison group. The authors note, however, that ADHD symptoms in the comparison group may have emerged during adulthood.

Both antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse disorder were also more frequent in men with childhood ADHD. However, the groups did not differ in the frequency of ongoing mood or anxiety disorders.

“Difficulties with substance use, academic underachievement, and relationship issues — all of those are already there in adolescence, so it speaks to the importance of addressing these problems in adolescence because they have lifelong consequences,” said Dr. Rostain.

He noted that one of the issues not addressed in the study was how much treatment ADHD men received and what percentage of patients continued treatment at any point in time. In fact, these men were diagnosed in the 1970s, when it was believed stimulants were addictive, so treatment with stimulants was discontinued by the time the children reached adolescence, he noted.

How We Can Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, The Amen Clinics Method of integrative psychiatric care can help. Using innovative and personalized care, our outcomes consistently demonstrate improvement for patients – including many who have tried and failed prior treatment.

Our Full Evaluation of your biological/psychological/social/spiritual history, coupled with two brain SPECT imaging scans (at rest and at concentration), cognitive testing, and clinical assessment is designed to address your unique needs and offer targeted treatment options. We invite you to call today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. My question comes from a mother that’s very concerned about her daughter who is 23. What kind of help can she get if your unable to afford the full exam at your clinics. For example, vitamins, diet, routines. Can you offer any help? Thanks

    Comment by Faith Stewart — June 22, 2018 @ 5:48 AM

  2. Thank you Faith, we will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you via email to discuss your daughter and the conditions/symptoms she’s experiencing. Thank you for reaching out.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 22, 2018 @ 9:03 AM

  3. My son 21 dignosed with ADD at age 5 We tried couple of medication throw neralogist very low dosage nothing works after two years he did not want to take anything any more because of bad experience!? He never finished his hi school had a hard time academicly and even now he is kind of depressed no social life and so unhappy and up and down What can we do and how to help him ? He wouldn’t accept anything to even try !? We order couple of supplements from you guys that help me and my husband but he wouldn’t take it ??? What would you recommend ? What should we do to motivate him ?

    Comment by Noushin mleki — June 25, 2018 @ 12:34 PM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Contact Us