Friday, May 27, 2005

Girls, ADHD, and the News

Here's a little exercise in critical thinking. Dr. Biederman and his group at Harvard found that girls diagnosed with ADHD are much more likely to be diagnosed in their teens with depression and anxiety, and smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs.

In the USA Today article, Biederman apparently says "it underscores the importance of early diagnosis and treatment," but in the WebMD article we find that 9 out of 10 of the girls in his ADHD study were being treated with "usually a combination of drugs and counseling." So the behavorial, mood, and substance problems were occurring in girls appropriately diagnosed and treated by his group. Hmmm. that's not good.

What can we learn from the study? It is an important observation that girls diagnosed with ADHD are at risk for co-morbidities like anxiety and depression, and later at increased risk for substance abuse and conduct disorders. But the next step is to find what therapies are most effective and improving eventual outcome for them.The high co-morbidities again with ADHD diagnoses show how poor the existing criteria are for distinguishing similar appearing conditions.

There are unfortunately are few resources available for parents seeking more information about the presentation of ADHD in girls. Dr. Nadeeau and colleagues have some easy-to-read and practical guides available here) from, though.

USATODAY Teen girls with ADHD
Girls With ADHD Web MD

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