How does pediatric attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) evolve over time and into adulthood?

Updated: Sep 09, 2021
  • Author: Maggie A Wilkes, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Data concerning the likelihood that a child with ADHD (ADD) will also have the disorder as an adult are conflicting. As definitions of ADHD (ADD) subtypes improve, some subtypes that cause more adult dysfunction than others will likely be found.

Approximately 30-80% of children with ADHD (ADD) have the disorder as adults. Most experts believe that the rate is well above 50%.

Hyperactive symptoms may decrease with age because of developmental trends toward self-control and changes in brain composition (ie, pruning of abundant neural connections) that occur during late adolescence. However, persons with ADHD (ADD) developmentally mature later than the average population. Inattentive symptoms do not appear to have a similar developmental advantage and tend to remain constant into adulthood.

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