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ADHD News: Early intervention reduces the risk of Substance Use Disorders

The American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) 2018 Annual Meeting held on January 12th-14th in Washington, D.C., featured various evolving perspectives of ADHD. Leading themes included cognition and mood dysregulation in ADHD and new data on treatment of ADHD. From the emerging clinical and scientific advances shared, a compelling conclusion is the importance of early identification and intervention in ADHD, with continued clinical care throughout the lifespan of individuals with ADHD.  

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During the meeting, large-scale datasets and clinical longitudinal studies showed not only the staggering risks and consequences of untreated ADHD, but also how the risk of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and other adverse health outcomes [1], including lower academic achievement, risky behavior, and reduced life expectancy [2] , may be mitigated by early intervention and ongoing treatment.  

Researchers reported that for children prescribed pharmacological treatment into adolescence there was a reduced risk of Substance Use Disorders and tobacco use in both adolescence and early adulthood, as compared to those who discontinued [1]. Analyses of health records from the U.S. and from Sweden have also indicated improved health and psychosocial outcomes for adults with ADHD when treatment was dispensed, including reduced emergency room visits for substance use related problems, reduced motor vehicle accidents resulting in emergency room visits, decreased likelihood of depression and suicidality, and decreased likelihood of engagement in criminal activity [3].  

The salient message shared at the meeting is the critical importance that individuals with ADHD have access to early identification and effective, sustained treatment for improved health and quality of life. By including objective data from the FDA cleared ADHD tests, QbCheck and QbTest, swift, accurate identification can be ensured[4] and efficiency of ADHD evaluation and treatment intervention achieved.

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1. Wilens, T. (2018, January 13). What Effect Does ADHD Medication Treatment Have on the Later Risk for Substance Use Disorders? Lecture presented at APSARD 2018 Annual Meeting: New Data on Treatment of ADHD and Impairments in Adulthood in Washington, D.C. RETURN 
2. Barkley, R. (2018, January 13). Health Outcomes on ADHD: Do They Adversely Impact Life Expectancy? Lecture presented at APSARD 2018 Annual Meeting: New Data on Treatment of ADHD and Impairments in Adulthood in Washington, D.C. RETURN
3.D’Onofrio, B. (2018, January 13). The Risks and Benefits of ADHD Medication: A Pharmacoepidemiologic Perspective. Lecture presented at APSARD 2018 Annual Meeting: New Data on Treatment of ADHD and Impairments in Adulthood in Washington, D.C. RETURN
4.Hall, C. L., Selby, K., Guo, B., Valentine, A. Z., Walker, G. M. and Hollis, C. (2016),Innovations in Practice: an objective measure of attention, impulsivity and activityreduces time to confirm attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis in children. Child Adolesc Ment Health, 21: 175–178. doi:10.1111/camh.1214 RETURN