Young children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder continue to suffer from severe symptoms even with treatment, a study led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers has found.
The study, published online Feb. 11 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, found that nine out of 10 young children with moderate to severe ADHD experienced symptoms even after treatment.
"ADHD is becoming a more common diagnosis in early childhood, so understanding how the disorder progresses in this age group is critical," lead investigator Dr. Mark Riddle, a pediatric psychiatrist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, said in a statement. "We found that ADHD in preschoolers is a chronic and rather persistent condition, one that requires better long-term behavioral and pharmacological treatments than we currently have."
The researcher said ADHD is being diagnosed at a younger age and more studies are needed to look at the impact.
The study found that nearly 90 percent of the 186 preschoolers the researchers followed continued to struggle with ADHD symptoms six years after diagnosis.
Children taking ADHD medication had just as severe symptoms as those who were medication-free, the study found.
More than 7 percent of U.S. children are treated for ADHD, the investigators say.
Other institutions involved in the research were Columbia University Medical Center, Duke University, the Nathan Kline Institute, University of California-Irvine and University of California-Los Angeles.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health