Quality of Life Suffers for ADHD Children

ADHD in children treated by psychiatrists have lower functioning skills

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can negatively impact so many areas of a child's life - and that of his or her family. And the more severe the disorder, the more the quality of life suffers.

Communication problems, poor organization, inability to concentrate, low frustration tolerance and conflict between family members are common among ADHD children. For kids treated at a psychiatric clinic, these problems are much more significant than for children treated by a pediatrician.

"If your child has ADHD, ask if psychiatric care is most appropriate."

Dr. Christine Limbers, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, led a study of nearly 200 families with children who were diagnosed with ADHD and being treated in a general pediatric clinic. Researchers then compared those results with ADHD-diagnosed children treated at a psychiatric clinic, and a sample of healthy children with no ADHD.

The study found that the ADHD children treated by a general pediatrician have better overall health-related quality of life and family functioning than children treated in a psychiatric clinic. The pediatric children, and their parents, reported fewer problems with quality of life and family function, although they still experienced the significant impairments of ADHD such as psychosocial functioning.

"These findings have potential implications for the health care needs of children with ADHD," said Limbers. "The finding that overall agreement between children and parent ratings of the child's quality of life was low underscores the importance of evaluating both children's and parents' perspectives regarding quality of life in routine assessment in clinical practice and clinical trials for children with ADHD since their different perspectives potentially provide unique information."

Limbers added that it was critical to teach parents strategies for coping with the social impairments of their ADHD children, as the child's ability to function socially may have the strongest association with family functioning.

The study was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 28, 2011
Last Updated:
October 4, 2012