May 30, 2024

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Why do some children with ADHD get better as adults but others don’t?

Why do some children with ADHD get better as adults but others don’t?


Why do some children with ADHD get better as adults but others don’t?

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is relatively common in children, affecting about 5% to 10% of school-aged children.

It is a chronic neurobehavioral disorder that, if left untreated, can affect a child’s daily life and social skills. However, some people get back to normal easily when they grow up, while others don’t. Why?


Why do some children with ADHD get better as adults but others don't?




What is ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)?


  • ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which some parts of the cerebral cortex appear abnormal due to physiological reasons, which affects the child’s ability to process environmental stimuli;
  • The cause of ADHD is unknown, but it is generally believed to be due to genetic and environmental factors. The disease usually begins around age 7;
  • It manifests in the majority of young patients, and men are epidemiologically more prone to ADHD symptoms than women.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that typically begins in childhood and often persists into adulthood. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that significantly interfere with an individual’s daily functioning and quality of life.

The symptoms of ADHD can vary from person to person and fall into three main categories:

Inattention: People with ADHD may have difficulty sustaining attention, organizing tasks, following instructions, and staying focused on activities. They may often appear forgetful, easily distracted, and have trouble completing tasks or following through on obligations.

Hyperactivity: Hyperactive symptoms include restlessness, fidgeting, excessive talking, and difficulty staying seated or engaged in quiet activities. Children with ADHD may exhibit excessive running or climbing in inappropriate situations, whereas adults may feel an internal sense of restlessness.

Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviors involve acting without considering the consequences. Individuals with ADHD may frequently interrupt others, have difficulty waiting their turn, and engage in impulsive decision-making. They may struggle with self-control and exhibit emotional outbursts.

ADHD can significantly impact various aspects of life, including academic performance, work productivity, relationships, and overall well-being. It is essential to note that while ADHD can be challenging, it is not a reflection of intelligence or character. Many individuals with ADHD possess unique strengths and talents.

The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors. It is thought to involve differences in brain structure and function, particularly in areas related to attention, impulse control, and executive functions.

ADHD is typically diagnosed by healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, or pediatricians, based on a comprehensive evaluation that includes interviews, observations, and rating scales. Treatment approaches for ADHD often involve a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, education, and support strategies tailored to the individual’s needs.

If you suspect you or someone you know may have ADHD, it is important to seek professional evaluation and guidance to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.




How Does ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) Manifest in Adulthood?


When you become you, it may appear differently than in children, but most of the symptoms are still inattention, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, etc. In addition, adults may experience other symptoms such as:

Psychological problems: Adults are often susceptible to emotional problems and may experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc.

Health problems: Adults may experience health problems such as headaches, insomnia, stomach pains, etc.

Social impairment: Adults may feel lonely and have difficulty adjusting to social situations due to hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.



Why do some children with ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) get better as adults, but others don’t?


The course of ADHD can vary from person to person, and while some children with ADHD experience a reduction in symptoms as they transition into adulthood, others may continue to experience symptoms that persist into adulthood.

There are several factors that can contribute to these differences:


Individual Differences:

Each person with ADHD is unique, and their response to ADHD symptoms and treatment can differ. Some individuals may naturally develop effective coping strategies and adaptive skills as they mature, allowing them to manage their symptoms better over time.

On the other hand, some individuals may continue to struggle with symptoms due to various factors, such as the severity of their ADHD, the presence of co-occurring conditions, or limited access to appropriate treatment and support.


Treatment and Support:

Early identification and intervention, along with appropriate treatment and support, can play a significant role in the long-term outcomes for individuals with ADHD.

Those who receive consistent and comprehensive treatment during childhood and adolescence, including medication, behavioral therapy, and educational support, may have a higher likelihood of experiencing symptom improvement as they transition into adulthood.

Access to appropriate resources and ongoing support systems can also contribute to better outcomes.


Co-occurring Conditions:

ADHD often co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or learning disorders.

These conditions can influence the overall trajectory of ADHD symptoms.

If co-occurring conditions are effectively managed alongside ADHD, it can contribute to improved outcomes.

Conversely, untreated or poorly managed co-occurring conditions may contribute to ongoing difficulties and challenges.


Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors, such as family support, socioeconomic status, educational opportunities, and overall life circumstances, can impact the course of ADHD.

A supportive and structured environment, understanding family and social connections, and access to appropriate resources can positively influence a person’s ability to manage ADHD symptoms and thrive as they grow older.


It’s important to note that while some individuals may experience a reduction in symptoms, ADHD is a lifelong condition, and certain core symptoms may persist into adulthood, although they may manifest differently.

Developing effective coping strategies, leveraging support systems, and accessing ongoing treatment and resources can help individuals manage ADHD symptoms and lead fulfilling lives as adults.

Regular evaluation and consultation with healthcare professionals are crucial to ensure appropriate management throughout the lifespan.




How to effectively treat ADHD?


The treatment of ADHD typically involves a multimodal approach that combines medication, behavioral therapy, education, and support strategies.

The specific treatment plan may vary depending on the individual’s age, symptoms, and personal circumstances.

It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or pediatrician, to determine the most appropriate treatment options.



Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall), are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms.

These medications can help improve attention, reduce impulsivity, and control hyperactivity. Non-stimulant medications like atomoxetine (Strattera) and guanfacine (Intuniv) may also be used in certain cases.


Behavioral therapy:

Behavioral interventions are an essential component of ADHD treatment. Behavioral therapy helps individuals develop skills and strategies to manage their symptoms.

Techniques may include setting goals, improving organizational skills, implementing routines, and using rewards and consequences to reinforce positive behaviors. Parent training programs and behavioral interventions at school can also be effective.


Education and support:

Providing education about ADHD to the individual, their family, and teachers is crucial for understanding the condition and implementing appropriate strategies.

Supportive measures, such as creating a structured and organized environment, breaking tasks into manageable steps, and offering clear instructions, can help individuals with ADHD thrive.


Psychoeducation and counseling:

Psychoeducation involves educating individuals and their families about ADHD, its symptoms, and its impact on daily life.

Counseling or psychotherapy can also help individuals with ADHD address associated emotional and social challenges, develop coping mechanisms, improve self-esteem, and manage stress.


Lifestyle modifications: Certain lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on ADHD symptoms.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and minimizing exposure to excessive stimuli (e.g., noise, screens) can help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.


It’s important to note that the treatment of ADHD should be personalized to the individual, and a combination of different approaches is often most effective。

Regular follow-up with healthcare professionals is necessary to monitor progress, adjust treatment plans if needed, and address any concerns or side effects.




What medicines are usually used to treat ADHD ?

The most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD fall into two main categories:
  • Stimulant medications 
  • Non-stimulant medications.
It’s important to note that medication should only be prescribed and managed by a qualified healthcare professional. Here are some examples of medications used to treat ADHD:
  1. Stimulant medications:

    • Methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana)
    • Amphetamine-based medications (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine)
  2. Non-stimulant medications:

    • Atomoxetine (Strattera)
    • Guanfacine (Intuniv)
    • Clonidine (Kapvay)

Stimulant medications work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that are involved in attention and impulse control, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

They are often the first line of treatment for ADHD and are available in various forms, including immediate-release and extended-release formulations.


Non-stimulant medications, like atomoxetine, work by increasing the levels of norepinephrine in the brain.

They are typically prescribed when stimulant medications are not well-tolerated or are ineffective. Guanfacine and clonidine are primarily used to manage ADHD symptoms that involve impulsivity and hyperactivity.


It’s important to understand that medication is not the only treatment option for ADHD. Behavioral therapy, education, and support strategies are also crucial components of treatment.

The choice of medication and dosage will depend on various factors, including the individual’s age, symptoms, medical history, and response to treatment.

Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare professional are essential to ensure the medication’s effectiveness and manage any side effects.





Why do some children with ADHD get better as adults but others don’t?

(source:internet, reference only)

Disclaimer of

Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.