View Full Version : Looks like some people actually do outgrow ADHD!

09-04-16, 01:04 AM
Main article of interest:
Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development ( 2F2013%2F10%2F131015094030.htm) (

They recruited 92 children with ADHD, with a mean age of 11, who underwent repeated structural imaging scans and clinical assessments over the years, including as adults at a mean age of 24 years. For comparison, they also scanned 184 volunteers without ADHD.

They found that ADHD continued into adulthood in 37 (40%) of the participants diagnosed with childhood ADHD, and these individuals showed increased rates of thinning. In contrast, the cortical thickness of individuals who achieved remission of their ADHD developed toward the normal range.

Related info:
Brain Matures a Few Years Late in ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern ( (NIMH)
Differences between adults who have recovered, and those who have not ( (

I found this interesting in light of a few different topics we often discuss around here:

First, whether or not anyone actually "grows out of" ADHD at all. The research in the first article did brain scans on some ADHD people at multiple times. As kids, the subjects had the kinds of brain atypicalities common in ADHD, but when the same individuals were scanned as adults, only some of them had ADHD-like brains! So it seems like some people really do grow out of ADHD (and some do not).

Second, ADHD is often characterized as a developmental "delay," as if you can expect people with ADHD to have the symptoms and functioning level of non-ADHD people of a younger age. This never sat right with me because I'm 29 and I can only wish to have the functioning level of a typical 26-year-old or 20-year-old or whatever. This suggests that it really is just a "delay" for some people but not for others.

Third, we get some people who say they are diagnosed with ADHD but aren't disabled/impaired by it, even though impairment is part of the diagnostic criteria. Some of this is probably ableism (they figure they must not be disabled since they aren't as pathetic as they believe disabled people to be), but I often find myself wondering if they actually have ADHD. Well, maybe some of them had ADHD as kids but actually grew out of it. (Since these folks consider ADHD to be a personality type, if they never had some huge shift in their personality, they wouldn't perceive themselves growing out of it.)

09-04-16, 01:47 AM
Here is also another interesting study about it from 2013. Too bad, I am in the 1/3rd group.:)

The largest study of its kind reveals that one-third of children with ADHD still have the condition as adults and are highly susceptible to other psychiatric disorders.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is typically characterized by a child’s inability to pay attention in class, but new research is poised to change our perspective on this all-too-common disorder.

A third of children diagnosed with ADHD still had ADHD symptoms as adults, and they were more likely than their peers to have another psychiatric disorder, to be arrested, or to commit suicide, according to the largest study to date on the subject.

“We suffer from the misconception that ADHD is just an annoying childhood disorder that's over-treated,” lead investigator William Barbaresi, MD, said in a press release. “This couldn't be further from the truth. We need to have a chronic disease approach to ADHD as we do for diabetes. The system of care has to be designed for the long haul.”

Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic conducted the first population-based study of ADHD that followed 5,718 children from childhood into adulthood. Of those children, 367 were diagnosed with ADHD.

Among their findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers discovered that:

Twenty-nine percent of the children with ADHD still had symptoms as adults, and 81 percent of these adults had at least one other psychiatric disorder.
The most common co-occurring disorders were substance abuse, antisocial personality disorder, hypo-manic episodes, anxiety, and major depression. (Only 35 percent of children without ADHD experienced these conditions as adults.)
Seven of the 367 children with ADHD had died when researchers conducted a follow-up, three of them from suicide, which was a higher suicide rate than in the control group.
Ten children with ADHD, or 2.7 percent, were incarcerated at the time of recruitment for the study.
“Only 37.5 percent of the children we contacted as adults were free of these really worrisome outcomes,” Barbaresi said. “That's a sobering statistic that speaks to the need to greatly improve the long-term treatment of children with ADHD and provide a mechanism for treating them as adults.”

ADHD as a Chronic Disease
Researchers did note one issue with their sample population: the children in the study were largely middle class, with access to education and healthcare—including at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

09-04-16, 02:26 AM

09-06-16, 01:01 PM
Main article of interest:
Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development ( 2F2013%2F10%2F131015094030.htm) (

Related info:
Brain Matures a Few Years Late in ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern ( (NIMH)
Differences between adults who have recovered, and those who have not ( (

Interesting. I hope I'll still be around when they figure out why some brains keep developing in a typical manner and why some don't.

I noted in the last article - great illustration of the lack of communication between parts of the brain - they mention the diagnosis of adult adhd is increasing.

Yeah, because they've only recently admitted that not all kids outgrow adhd. The statistics are nowhere near accurate yet.

Greyhound ... I'm also in the last 1/3, I've had anxiety for most of my life, depression for a large part of it, and PTSD. I seriously considered suicide several times.