Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic behavioral disorder characterized by problems such as impulsive behavior and difficulty with sustaining attention. This condition typically begins in childhood and frequently continues into adulthood. A new study has found links between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a history of ADHD, suggesting that adults with a history of brain injuries may benefit from improved screening for the behavioral disorder.
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that by 2020 TBI could become the third largest source of disease and disability in the world, behind heart disease and depression. For the study, researchers utilized data obtained from a telephone survey of the adult residents of Ontario, Canada. Co-principal investigator Robert Mann said, "These new data suggest a significant association between ADHD and TBI. Adults with TBI are more than twice as likely than those without to report symptoms of ADHD."
Lead author Gabriela Ilie from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, said, "This is not surprising because some of the most persistent consequences of TBI include ADHD-like symptoms, such as memory and attention impairment, deficits in executive functions such as planning and organization, processing consonants and vowels and impulsive behavior."
The research team found that among participants with a history of TBI, 5.9% said that they had previously been diagnosed with ADHD at some point during their life. An additional 6.6% went on to screen positive for ADHD on the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale during their phone interviews.
The study is published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.