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Andrew J. Cutler, MD: The Impact of Screen Time on ADHD

A large portion of communication is non-verbal.

While screening and diagnostic techniques for attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have not changed much in recent decades, the growing reliance on new technology may be making it more challenging.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Andrew J. Cutler, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, explained how more screen time for all adolescents is making the diagnostic process for ADHD more challenging.

Cutler explained that the time adolescents and adults spend using cell phones and tablets has increased in recent years, making it more difficult for some doctors to diagnose the disorder because a large portion of conversations are non-verbal.

“Something very significant is lost in our ability to pick up verbal cues—facial expressions, mannerisms,” Cutler said. “In general, it has made it harder to make the diagnosis.”

However, it could be helpful for some patients more comfortable with virtual technology and less comfortable with one-on-one interactions.

Cutler also said with more people working from home and students doing virtual schooling, screen time might begin to drastically increase. He also said there is some concerns with less in-person therapy sessions that patients will forgo their treatments more commonly and fill less prescriptions.

At the annual Neuroscience Education Institute Max! Virtual meeting, Cutler will present multiple times about ADHD and other psychiatric disorders.