Research from the University of Maryland’s ADHD Program discovered that parents of children with ADD are 24 times more likely to have ADD themselves, as compared to the parents of children without ADHD.
The evidence is dramatic and the message clear: we need to treat the whole family, not just the child,” says University of Maryland psychologist Andrea Chronis, the study’s lead author and director of the Maryland ADHD Program. “Too often the answer is just to give the children drugs. But our study suggests that when there are problems in the family, you need to address those too.
The study also showed that when ADHD preschoolers also suffer from other serious behavioral problems, the parents are two to five times more likely to suffer from a wide range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and drug addictions. Since treatments for children with ADHD rely heavily on parental support, parents’ problems can interfere with a child’s improvement.
If you’re interested in the breakdown here’s the study’s pub med abstract.
Child ADHD+ODD/CD was associated with maternal mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and stimulant/cocaine dependence, and paternal childhood DBD. Mothers of children with ADHD+ODD/CD also reported increased drinking problems in their children’s fathers.
The research was published in the December 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
I definitely agree that if a child is diagnosed with ADD both parents should be screened for it too. As a minimum, doctors could do the 5 minute Harvard adult ADHD screener test. You don’t even need a medical professional to use this one you can download the screener test on my ADD resource website here.
ADD is the # 2 genetically inherited condition after height. 80%. At a recent Vancouver ADD conference, it seemed like every 2nd presenter mentioned that in his or her PowerPoint slides. My hypothesis is that they’ve gotten frustrated with dealing with parents in denial
Even if one of the parents don’t want to get diagnosed and treated for their own health and well being, not getting diagnosed and treated can mean
A) They make their children suffer more, since their behaviour affects their children’s behaviour.
B) They increase their stress levels as parents since the child is not being properly treated and may act out more, often ADD children are hypersensitive, since they’re hyperaware, they don’t filter as much info as others. So a moderately angry parent may seem like an extremely angry parent to an ADD child. Since they can’t run away or hide, they often return anger with anger and behavioural problems. Can you say “Oppositional Defiant Disorder”?
C) They increase their spouses stress levels in two ways. By not dealing with their ADD it negatively impacts their spouse and by their untreated ADD behaviour it negatively impacts their ADD child’s behaviour.
Of course all of the above is amplified even more if the ADDer has one or more comorbid conditions, as it often the case with ADD.
Denial doesn’t just hurt yourself, it hurts others too.