Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not just a childhood disorder. A research team based out of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto recently discovered a unique risk factor for adult ADHD: traumatic brain injury (TBI). The team’s findings demonstrate a significant association between ADHD and TBI. These results could impact ADHD screening for adults.For the study, the Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) conducted a continuous, cross-sectional telephone survey of nearly 4,000 of Ontario’s adult residents. They asked respondents about histories of TBI and ADHD. For the purposes of this study, a TBI is considered any head injury resulting in at least five minutes of unconsciousness or overnight hospitalization. Respondents self-reported on their history of ADHD diagnosis or answered questions from the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS).
Among adults with a history of TBI, 5.9 percent reported an ADHD diagnosis. An additional 6.6 percent of adults screened positive for ADHD using the ASRS.
“These new data suggest a significant association between ADHD and TBI. We see that adults with TBI are more than twice as likely than those without to report symptoms of ADHD,” stated Dr. Robert Mann, co-principal investigator of the study and senior scientist at CAMH
The findings indicate that it may be useful to assess whether patients have a history of TBI when evaluating adults for ADHD. Alternatively, adults who have a history of ADHD may benefit from an ADHD screening.
This research is published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.