Study Urges Treatment of Parents of ADHD ChildrenCOLLEGE PARK, Md.
Treatment for many young children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) should also include treatment for their parents, according to new research from the University of Maryland’s ADHD Program.
In conducting one of the first systematic studies of pre-school children with ADHD, the research team found that parents of children with the condition are 24 times more likely to have the disorder themselves, as compared to the parents of children without ADHD.
The study also showed that when ADHD preschoolers also suffer from other serious behavioral problems, the parents are two to five times more likely to suffer from a wide range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and drug addictions. Since treatments for children with ADHD rely heavily on parental support, parents’ problems can interfere with a child’s improvement.
“The evidence is dramatic and the message clear: We need to treat the whole family, not just the child,” said University of Maryland psychologist Dr. Andrea Chronis, the study’s lead author and director of the Maryland ADHD Program. “Too often the answer is just to give the children drugs. But our study suggests that when there are problems in the family, you need to address those too.” Chronis and her team used rigorous psychological instruments to measure both the parents’ and children’s behavioral and mental health problems and ADHD symptoms. The research is published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
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