Evidence of ADHD’s effects into adulthood mounting

ADHD is often thought of as a childhood disorder. Although it may only affect some people during childhood, it continues to affect many into adulthood. Several studies have looked at the long-term effects of ADHD. One of the most recent ones gives us a look not just at the persistence of ADHD, but also at its effects on those who suffered from the disorder as children.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last Sunday which reports the results a new study of adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as children. That study compared the incarceration rates, mortality rates, and incidents of other psychiatric disorders in adults who had been diagnosed with ADHD as children to adults from the same age group who had not been diagnosed. The adults with childhood ADHD were at greater risk of suffering from ADHD as adults but were also at greater risk of incarceration, and over three-quarters of those with adult ADHD were found to be suffering from at least one other mental disorder while fewer than half of those without adult ADHD (whether or not they had ADHD as children) had additional diagnoses.

Similar results were found in an earlier study that compared men who were diagnosed with ADHD as boys to men who had not. That study found that those who had been diagnosed were less likely to have a high school diplomas or college degrees. They were less likely to be employed, and those who were employed were making less money on average than those who did not have ADHD in childhood. They also had less successful marriage and were more likely to abuse drugs.

The authors of that study recommend continued monitoring of children diagnosed with ADHD, and Dr. William Barbassi, an author of the recent study mentioned in the Wall Street Journal recommends that children with ADHD be evaluated for other conditions.

Finally, an even earlier study found that children diagnosed with ADHD who received long-term follow-up care had better outcomes, regardless of the kind of treatment received.

The results of this and other research suggest that if you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, further assessment and care may be wise, even if you no longer have apparent symptoms.


Three Recent Studies on Bullying

Bullying is a familiar problem to children and adolescents. Those who haven’t been involved directly are likely to have seen it happen. According to statistics provided by Stopbullying.gov, bullying may have dropped slightly over that last few years. Perhaps this is due to the anti-bullying programs that schools have implemented as concerns about bullying have grown and activist programs like National Bullying Prevention Month in October. This month, Facebook launched a page called “Prevent Bullying” which, among other things, encourages users to report any cases of bullying they see on the website.

Researchers have been looking at not just the numbers of students being bullied, but also the consequences of bullying. A study published this year looked at the relationship between bullying and self-harm among young adolescents and found that children who have been bullied are 3 times more likely to self-harm than children who were not bullied. This was a study of over 1000 pairs of twins in the UK. They compared twins where one child had been bullied while the other had not. You can read the full paper here.

Another study published this year looked at how children’s well being is affected by bullying and relationships with adults and other children. The researchers found a significant relationships between children who reported feeling supported by adults and peers and those who reported higher self-esteem and life satisfaction. They also found that bullying was linked to low self-esteem and life satisfaction as well as anxiety and depressive symptoms, especially in girls. The researchers recommend implementing programs that don’t just attempt to reduce bullying but also help children build social skills. The authors of the UK study also emphasize relationships, recommending that schools introduce programs that target children with certain risk factors, including mistreatment at home.

Now a Brown University study, just published today, found that children with mental disorders are three times as likely to be identified as bullies. All of these studies seem to suggest that without an understanding of mental health, we won’t be able to understand the causes and effects of bullying.

Unfortunately, all of the efforts we can make would come too late for victims of bullying who have not only self harmed, but have taken their own lives. Millions of people have watched the video posted by Amanda Todd, a 15 girl who had been bullied for years, both online and at school. She started cutting herself and later attempted suicide. About a month after posting her video, in which she tells the story of her years-long bullying and tells the viewer, “I have nobody. I need someone,” she succeeded in killing herself, just this month.

The involvement of parents, schools, and other children and adolescents can make a difference to someone who is being bullied. Here is a handout about what to do if you think your child is being bullied: Steps To Take If Your Child Is Being Bullied At School


TMS found to be effective in real-world settings

A recent study of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) used for the treatment of depression confirms what previous clinical trials had found: that TMS is an effective treatment for depression. The difference between this study and the previous clinical trials is that it was a study of TMS being used in clinical practices, rather than in studies designed to assess the treatment’s effectiveness. This kind of study is important because the results of research do not always bear out in real-world clinical settings. This is often referred to as the gap between efficacy and effectiveness.”
This study, however, collected data from 307 patients undergoing TMS therapy at 42 clinics across the country. These were patients who were being treated for depression after failing to find relief from antidepressants. The results of this study were similar to the results of previous clinical trials, which found that TMS is an effective treatment for depression.

Sarkis Family Psychiatry offers TMS therapy.
Sarkis Family Psychiatry


A walk in the park for your mental health

Physical activity is already known to reduce the symptoms of depression. Earlier this year, though, researchers from the UK found that a simple walk can provide enough physical activity to produce those effect. The results were discovered by reviewing multiple studies on walking and depression.

Now it appears that where you walk has an effect on the kinds of benefits you’ll receive. After taking a nature-walk, people with depression showed improved memory performance. This was part of a new study published in The Journal of Affective Disorders. Walking in a natural setting and walking in an urban setting both appeared to improve mood, but only walking through the natural setting seemed to improve memory performance.

This study is part of a field of research called Attention Restoration Theory (ART). This theory proposes that spending time in natural environments refreshes our ability to deliberately focus our attention by allowing us to rest our “directed attention.” Directed attention is our capacity to focus on a task and to deliberately pay attention to something that isn’t interesting. It is one of two types of attention proposed by ART: directed attention and involuntary fascination. Natural settings tend to engage our involuntary fascination and allow us to relax and restore our directed attention.

Spending time in natural settings has been linked to other mental-health benefits. Last year, we mentioned a study that found that children with ADHD who played in outdoor settings with natural green surroundings displayed milder symptoms than those who played in other types of settings.

A daily walk is an excellent way to improve both your physical health and your mood. And if you’re able to plot your course through a park or a nature-trail, it now looks like you’ll be doing even more for yourself.


Recent Depression Studies

Now that we are offering transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, a cutting-edge treatment for depression, we thought it would be a good time to review some recent studies related to depression.

Unearned praise and undeserved criticism lead to dejection

The results of a study recent study published by the American Psychological Association suggest that people who are given inaccurate feedback about their performance at a task (such as taking a test) are at higher risk for depression, even those who how score low but are told they did well. The same pattern emerges for those whose self-assessments are not accurate. Accurate feedback and self-assessment appear to be the better than unearned praise or for emotional heath.

Lack of sleep may contribute to depression

Recent research reaffirms the importance of sleep. While sleeplessness is known to be a symptom of depression, it may also be a factor that contributes to depression.

Good diet is good for emotional health

Two recent studies have reaffirmed the effect of diet on depression and anxiety. Both studies found that a good diet predicted better overall mental health. Even after adjusting for a number of other factors, one study found that adolescents with healthier diets (specifically one that emphasizes eating lots fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods) had better mental health and that those who improved their diets showed a similar improvement in mental health. The other study, which focused on depression and anxiety, found that those with a healthy diet were less likely to suffer from depression and that those who ate a lot of processed foods were more likely to suffer from anxiety.

Coffee may help prevent depression

Caffeine is a highly studied drug. Now, it seems that coffee (with caffeine) may help prevent depression in women.

Internet-based depression treatment is effective

Recent research has confirmed the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, both for treating depression and for preventing relapses. The treatment, often used in addition to traditional therapy, can be done at home on any computer with an internet connection.

A lot of depression goes unreported

A new survey reveals that a huge amount of depression may go untreated because, for various reasons, many people don’t tell their doctors when they feel depressed. The reason most frequently given was that patients were worried that their doctor might recommend antidepressants.

Recognize your symptoms and ask about your options.

Antidepressants can be an effective means of treating depression, but there are also treatments that don’t require drugs.
Our website has lots of information about depression
. Here is a list of some of the symptoms. If you think you might be depressed please talk to your doctor or give us a call (352-331-5100).


Emotional symptoms:

  • Frequently sad, blue or down
  • Getting less pleasure from usual activities; feeling apathetic and unmotivated
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased anxiety
  • Reduced or increased appetite
  • Feeling easily hurt or rejected; overly sensitive to criticism

Physical symptoms:

  • Unusually tired or fatigued
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Difficulty falling and/or staying asleep or wanting to sleep too much
  • Increased body pain or headaches

Mental symptoms:

  • More difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Your thoughts feeling slowed down or having difficulty shutting your mind off
  • Thoughts becoming overly negative, pessimistic or self critical
  • Worrying excessively about minor problems
  • Thinking that you would be better off dead or wanting to harm yourself

Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Depression

A large recent study has found that people with higher vitamin D levels were less likely to be suffering from depression. Those with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have symptoms of depression. These findings were more pronounced in those with a history of depression.
You can buy Xymogen brand vitamin D at the Sarkis Family Psychiatry. “Like” us on Facebook and get a 10% discount.


Psychiatry News

Each week, we post some brief summaries of new research relevant to the field of psychiatry.

Old, Inexpensive Smoking Cessation Drug May Help Smokers Quit

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows promising results for an old smoking cessation drug currently available only in Eastern Europe. The drug has been on the market there since the 1960’s and is very inexpensive.

Brain Reaction to Mistakes Differ Depending on Beliefs

People who believe they can learn from their mistakes show different kinds of brain activity from those who don’t believe that intelligence doesn’t change. In the study, subjects who believed they could learn from their mistakes showed more pronounced brain activity after making mistakes on a repetitive test.

Utilitarian Ethics Associated with Antisocial Personality

In a recent study, subject were asked to respond to moral dilemmas and were also given three other tests: one that measures psychopathy, one that measures Machiavellian traits, and one that measured belief in the meaningfulness of life. Those who responded to the moral dilemmas in ways consistent with utilitarian ethics also scored highly on the other three tests. You can read the paper here.

Diet and Mental Health Correlated in Adolescents

A paper published in PLoS One shows that diet may affect mental heath. The study of 11-18 year-olds found that those with a better diet also reported better mental health. In addition, changes in diet corresponded to changes in mental health.

Good Memory is Genetic

A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience (read the abstract here) shows that people with a certain gene variation (the KIBRA T allele) perform better on memory tests than those without the variation.


Psychiatry News

Quitting Smoking Improves Memory

Smoking has already been shown to impair memory. Now, a small study suggests that smokers who quit can restore their everyday memories back to levels nearly as good as those who never smoked.

Children of Older Fathers Don’t Perform Worse in School

Contrary to previous research, children of older fathers don’t perform worse in school than children of younger fathers, according to a new study published in PLoS ONE.

“Green Time” Can Lead to Milder Symptoms in Children with ADHD 

A recent study shows that children with ADHD who play in outdoor areas with lots of natural green surroundings have milder symptoms than those who play indoors or those who play outdoors but without natural green surroundings. Those with high hyperactivity benefited most from an open green space, such as a field, rather than a green space with lots of trees.

Psychologists Pinpoint Location of Lost Shipwreck

Using previous research on memory to analyze the contradictory stories told by survivors of a World War II navy battle, Australian psychologists were able to closely estimate the location of two sunken ships. The shipwrecks had not been discovered despite many previous efforts. You can read the full paper here.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Lead to Reduced Cognitive Skills

The journal Neurology reports that low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to reduced memory and other cognitive skills. Read the abstract here.


Psychiatry News

Each week, we post some brief summaries of new research relevant to the field of psychiatry.

Girls Who Marry Young Are More Likely to Suffer Mental Illness

Girls are more likely to suffer mental illness if they get married before the age of 18, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.The study looked at more than 18,000 American women and found that those who married before the age of 18 were more like to suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug addiction.

Altruistic Volunteers Live Longer

Volunteering can lead to longer life, as long as the volunteering is motivated by a desire to help others, rather than  a sense of self-satisfaction. The study published by the American Psychological Association was conducted by asking participants how regularly they volunteer. Four years later, 4.3% of non-volunteers had died. Of those who volunteered, 4% of those with self-oriented motives had died, while only 1.3% of those with altruistic motives had died.

Half of All Americans Will Experience Mental Illness

The Centers for Disease Control reports that, at some point in their lives, half of all Americans will suffer some form of mental illness. “Mental illnesses account for a larger proportion of disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease,” the report finds. You can read the full report here.

Video Games May Not Improve Cognition

Despite previous reports suggesting that playing video games may boost cognition, a paper in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that there may actually be no such effect. After reviewing the previous research, Florida State University assistant professor Walter Boot found what he considered to be significant flaws in the methodology of those studies. Moreover, in his own studies of gaming and cognition, he was unable to reproduce the results of those previous studies.


Psychiatry News

Each week, we post some brief summaries of new research relevant to the field of psychiatry.

Using MRI, Princeton researchers were able to tell what categories of things subjects were thinking about. By examining the images in the scans, researchers were able to determine, for example, that a subject was thinking about furniture, though they weren’t able to tell whether it was a chair or a dresser. Full research article here.

A small study from the University of La Laguna suggests that families experience increased conflict when the children continue to live at home into adulthood.

A study from the University of Illinois looks at the strategies children use to deal with bullying. The researchers found three strategies, each associated with a different motivation. Karen Rudolph, who led the study, speculated that, by understanding each child’s social goals, adults may be able develop more effective methods of dealing with bullying.

A longitudinal study of low-income families examines several factors in the relationships between young boys and their mothers. Among their findings is a correlation between boys having close relationships with their mothers and having close friendships later. It also found that mothers who had good relationships with their significant others also had close relationships with their sons through adolescence.

According to a new study from Ben-Gurion University, parents who feel capable of helping their children with their homework and who have positive attitudes about homework create more positive motivation in their children.

Children with fathers who are actively engaged in parenting grow up with fewer behavioral problems and greater intellectual abilities, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science.

Having better relationships with your neighbors may lead to better health, according to a study from the University of Missouri.

A study conducted at Brock University found that, while violent video games don’t appear to lead to increased aggression, competitive video games may, whether those games are violent or not.

A study published in the British Dental Journal found that cognitive behavioral therapy helped patients with severe dental phobia to overcome their fears and have dental work done without sedation.