For parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a new study delivers some uplifting news: Kids may outgrow it by their 18th birthday.
Researchers tracked 2,232 twins from England and Wales from ages 5 to 18 — 12 percent of whom had ADHD during childhood. Remarkably, 78 percent of those with ADHD in childhood didn’t have it once they hit adulthood. What’s more, by age 18, they didn’t suffer any more sleep problems than those never afflicted with the brain disorder — important, since children with ADHD seem more prone to sleep issues, according to the research team.
“Yes, by 18, they may be too old to spare their parents the wakeful nights, but parents want the best for their children and it will give many some welcome solace to know that things could improve in future,” writes study author Alice M. Gregory of the University of London, whose findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.
Gregory acknowledges, however, the possibility that childhood sleep problems could be giving rise to ADHD in some cases. “There’s an element of what comes first: ADHD or sleeplessness? The story can be complex,” she adds in the article about her findings published on The Conversation.
To further understand the relationship between ADHD and sleep problems, the researchers also compared identical and non-identical twins to figure out how nature (one’s genes) and nurture (one’s environment) factor into the equation. Both components had nearly equal sway, meaning both ought to be considered in the quest to help prevent and resolve these issues in kids, according to Gregory.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, as of 2011, 11 percent of children ages of 4 and 17 received an ADHD diagnosis.
More from U.S. News