Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been traditionally viewed as a childhood disorder, while ADHD in adults has been underdiagnosed and undertreated.
A recent study shows that treatment rates have been increasing in all age groups, and improved identification has contributed to rapidly growing treatment rates for adults. Female patients show the greatest increase of all.
The study, published by SAGE in the May issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, revealed rapid growth of ADHD medication use in all demographic groups except seniors, with some groups showing markedly faster rates than others. Between 2000 and 2005, treatment rates grew more rapidly for adults than for children, more rapidly for women than for men, and more rapidly for girls than for boys.
Improved diagnosis of ADHD in adult and female patients contributed to the rapid growth in ADHD medication use. The study found that there were many changes in the types of medications used, as well. Researchers found that methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine use declined for both children and adults, the use of amphetamine mixtures increased for adults, atomoxetine use (introduced in 2002) grew rapidly across both groups, use of extended-release products increased in children more dramatically than adults, and generic ADHD medication use declined significantly in pediatric patients while remaining relatively stable in adults.
Research in the field of attention continues to grow. This study is indicative of the type of important data published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, written by leaders in the field and helpful for both professionals and those who must live with attention disorders every day.