ADHD Symptoms May Add to Burden of Autism

September 26, 2011

A recent study has found that many autistic children may be suffering from ADHD, but only some are receiving medication for their attention disorders.

A recent study has found that many autistic children may be suffering from symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but only some of these children are receiving medication for their attention disorders.

An autistic child suffering from ADHD symptoms further compromises his or her ability to handle daily situations, which could lead to a lower quality of life, reported the researchers.

Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Oregon Health Sciences University performed an analysis of data from the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network's Registry.

They studied the information of over 2,000 autistic children and adolescents, finding that over 50% of them suffered from symptoms of either attention or hyperactivity issues; over 66% suffered from symptoms of both.

Further, they found that roughly 33% of the autistic children in the database had symptoms of ADHD, but only 10% were on stimulant medications used to treat ADHD, indicating that many children suffering from both autism and symptoms of ADHD are not being given the proper medications to treat the disorder.

The researchers stressed the importance of identifying ADHD symptoms in autistic children so physicians can treat them for both disorders, though they did note that further research is necessary in order to determine if and how stimulant medications improve ADHD symptoms in autistic individuals.

These findings were scheduled to be presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in San Antonio, Texas.