Pandemic Worsens ADHD in Kids, Experts Fear

Maggie Sibley, a clinical psychologist at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is worried about the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on adolescents and children with hyperactivity/attention-deficit disorder as well as children experiencing depression and teens who may drop out of high school — and with good reason.

Last year was difficult for many people, and perhaps more so for individuals who struggle with mental health and neurodevelopmental issues. Sibley explained that there were a lot more risk factors that may cause depression, adding that individuals with ADHD were at a higher risk of getting depressed. Sibley and other researchers studied a group of young adults and adolescents to learn more about how they could be affected. Their study was reported in the “Journal of Psychiatric Research” earlier this month.

In the study, the researchers observed 134 young adults and adolescents and discovered that they reported boredom and motivation issues, challenges engaging in online learning and difficulties with social isolation, which worsened during the pandemic.

Sibley explained that while most teenagers had friends with whom they interacted outside of school, teenagers with ADHD were at a higher risk for only interacting with their peers in a school setting. She noted that the remote learning experience was also a challenge, as it wasn’t engaging, which is what individuals with ADHD need in order to learn well.

A review in the “Journal of Adolescent Health” found that many studies had identified a surge in symptoms for both adults and kids with ADHD during the pandemic. A different survey, which was reported in Athenahealth in 2020, also found that there had been a recent increase in new ADHD diagnoses, especially in teen boys.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines ADHD as a neurodevelopmental disorder whose symptoms include difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors and trouble paying attention. The disorder can be managed through medications or therapies that include teaching various skills to help cope with the disorder’s symptoms and encouraging good behavior at home.

Carey Heller, a Maryland psychologist, stated that establishing a structured routine would be good for both children and parents who were struggling, noting that having a routine for young children would be helpful.

Sibley suggested that any families who were worried about their children potentially having ADHD should consult with their pediatrician before making any other moves. The doctor could then refer them to or connect them with a psychologist who could perform an extensive evaluation.

In the meantime, a number of companies are doing what they can to help during the ongoing pandemic. For example, United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network Inc. is, among other things, supporting the growing demand for telehealth through its UME Telehealth platform.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/UnitedMed

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