Study finds more adults have ADHD

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Four out of 100 young men in Switzerland suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – making the ailment almost as common among adults as it is with kids, says a Swiss study. Among children and adolescents in Switzerland, 6% are affected.

This content was published on March 5, 2014 - 10:20
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Researchers at the University of Zurich’s Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine surveyed 5,656 military recruits from all over the country. They found that many of those with ADHD had additional problems, such as depression, poor social skills and alcohol abuse. This is on top of the reduced attention spans, impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity that characterise ADHD.

Until now, there has been little research done on adults with ADHD; it has commonly been considered a youth problem. But the Zurich researchers, with input from their colleagues at Lausanne’s University Hospital, found that ADHD is common among young Swiss men as well.

“The impairments in function and mental health we observed highlight the need for further support and interventions to reduce burden in affected individuals. Interventions that incorporate the whole family also seem crucial,” the researchers wrote in the international science journal PLOS ONE.

They also found that family history plays a role; if the parents had alcohol or mental health problems, or a low level of education, it was more likely that their children would have ADHD. The researchers suspect that many of these parents may have suffered from ADHD as well.

Of those surveyed, the mean age was 20. The men over 20 were more likely to show signs of ADHD. It was also more common among the French-speaking recruits, suggesting cultural differences.

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