In this article, philanthropist Julian Omidi discusses the recent study concerning children with ADHD, and their lives as adults. Julian Omidi is cofounder of No More Poverty with his brother, Dr. Michael Omidi, MD.
An article recently posted on Reuters and ABC.com reported that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) tend to fare worse as adults than their non-ADHD peers. In the longest research study ever performed on ADHD, it was determined that ADHD adults have higher incidents of arrest, divorce and drug abuse, tended to earn lower salaries and were less likely to have earned higher degrees.
The study began on 300 boys in the late 1970’s. Half of the boys were diagnosed as being “hyperactive,” and had been given medications which were discontinued by the parents prior to being selected for the study. The other half did not have any recorded behavioral problems. After 33 years of following all of the participants, the results were surprising. 36% of the ADHD participants had been to prison at least once, compared to 11% of the non-ADHD group. The average salary was $40,000 less than the non-ADHD group, and 16% of the ADHD group had been diagnosed with a personality disorder, whereas none of the non-ADHD group had.
The study does have its detractors, however. The ADHD subjects were chosen before they reached their teens, while the non-ADHD group was selected at the age of 18, and only after they had been proven to never have been subject to behavioral problems. According to Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor, the selection process of the non-ADHD group would have eliminated adolescents with low IQ, learning disabilities, victims of abuse or any kind of social personality disorder. This pool doesn’t form an accurate comparison between children with and without ADHD, and might make the results seem more alarming than they would have had the entire selection process taken place at the same age.
Although opinions may differ with regard to the accuracy of the study, it is still believed that children who exhibit symptoms of ADHD should receive treatment; either behavioral or medical, in order to curb risky behavioral impulses and help them to remain engaged in school. Another study, the results of which were released October 15, asked children with ADHD who were taking medications how those medications made them feel. Many of the subjects reported that their medications helped them feel better and make healthy decisions. This study was the first of its kind to actually ask kids about their experiences with behavioral medications. The study received its funding from the medical charity Welcome Trust.
It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of children and adolescents suffer from ADHD.
 Joelving, Frederik: Kids With ADHD Have Dimmer Prospects as Adults: Study Says October 15, 2012 reuters.com http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/15/usa-adhd-idUSL1E8LFMOW20121015
 Salahi, Lara: Discontinued Treatment of ADHD Could Impact Emotional, Social Well Being, Study Finds October 16, 2012 ABCnews.go.com http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/boys-suffer-negative-effects-adhd-left-untreated/story?id=17483707#.UH8jUq5c6E4
 Kelland, Kate; Reuters: Children With ADHD Say Stimulant Drugs Help Them October 15, 2012 washingtonpost.com http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/children-with-adhd-say-stimulant-drugs-help-them/2012/10/15/df95543c-16cd-11e2-8792-cf5305eddf60_story.html