Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-podcast

     Margaret Sibley, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and researcher recently interviewed for the American Psychological Association's ( Oct., 2021) podcast series Speaking of Psychology. Her area of study is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults and children.
     When asked how ADHD is defined and diagnosed, she answered that ADHD has biological underpinnings with a genetic component related to the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine modulates the response to rewards and works differently for people with ADHD than for the average person. Those with ADHD have trouble controlling cognition, being motivated, and regulating attention in multiple settings.
     In children, the symptoms are trouble with self-control, hyperactivity, and paying attention. In adolescence, the hyperactivity decreases and impairment has more to do with attention, organization, and motivation. In adulthood,  people have trouble with managing their finances, holding a job, and persistence. She said, " So it's really that link of being able to control the way you think and the way you act that strings together what ADHD is across the lifespan."
     In August, 2021, Dr. Sibley published research that began in the 1990s on 500 children with ADHD who were then followed until they were about 25. This study found that only about 10% of them had grown out of the diagnosis as young adults. Her explanation was that ADHD, with its biological basis, is a chronic condition that is handled best by managing it.
     She maintained that there are treatments that help in management. These treatments belong in one of two categories. One is medications, which are usually but not always stimulants. The other is psychological treatments, usually CBT-based that teach coping skills to adults and behavior modification for children that teach the parents how to help. In her opinion, the medication and psychological interventions are complementary.
     Dr. Sidley concluded that early intervention in childhood is best to prevent practical problems in daily life as well as their secondary effects like depression and anxiety. She also recommended the CHADD website for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for additional assistance.

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