Last week, researchers from University of Toronto published a study looking at the long-term effects of ADHD in women. The title of the paper was “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder casts a long shadow: findings from a population-based study of adult women with self-reported ADHD.”
As this title suggests, the authors found that ADHD has several serious long-term implications. Specifically, they found all of the following in women with ADHD:
- Triple the risk of generalized anxiety disorder, suicidal thoughts, childhood sexual abuse, insomnia and chronic pain
- Double the risk of depression, substance abuse, smoking, severe poverty and childhood physical abuse
These stark findings got a little press attention and made the rounds in news articles and blog posts with titles like the following:
- 4 Surprising Facts About the Long-Term Effects of ADHD in Women (Forbes)
- A Recent Study Discovered THIS Surprising Fact About Anxiety and ADHD (Yahoo)
I found these articles a little funny because I think this study probably isn’t very surprising to a lot of people with ADHD. It gives us some more hard evidence for something we already suspected, but we’ve known all along that basically, having ADHD is hard and can cause a lot of different kinds of problems.
I guess these findings are surprising, though, for a lot of people who don’t have ADHD. Even for people who know the basics of what ADHD is, it’s not necessarily easy to see how many different aspects of life the disorder can affect if you aren’t living it firsthand.
Heck, even if you are living it firsthand, it’s not always easy to have insight into how much of a far-reaching impact your symptoms have on your life. The first twenty years of my existence leading up to my diagnosis are good proof of that.
So if people are reading the results of this study and actually being surprised by them, that’s a good thing because it means the way people look at ADHD is changing. If your impression of ADHD is the standard narrative of hyperactive boys whose parents put them on speed, then it’s probably straight-up shocking to learn how real and pervasive the consequences of the disorder are in adulthood. I hope these research findings shock as many people as possible!
And if you know anyone who needs to be surprised about what ADHD actually is, maybe think about sharing this study with them!
D’you know any other shocking and unbelievable facts about ADHD? Share them below!
Image: FreeImages.com/John De Boer