Treatment for ADHD appears to improve self-esteem and social function outcomes compared with non-treatment, reports a systematic review of studies predominantly from North America and Europe.
Please note that this study was funded by Shire.
The long-term benefits of therapy for ADHD are not always acknowledged. Two health-related quality of life (HRQoL) domains – self-esteem and social function – are outcome measures used to examine the long-term impact of ADHD. This systematic review of 12 literature databases was performed to compare long-term outcomes of untreated and treated ADHD, specifically focusing on impairment of self-esteem and social function.
Peer-reviewed, primary research articles published between January 1980 and December 2011 were included. Data from 127 studies reported 150 outcomes.
Outcomes for untreated and treated ADHD were reported in separate studies versus non-ADHD controls.
Individuals with untreated ADHD had a higher percentage of self-esteem and social function outcomes that were poorer compared with non-ADHD controls (57% and 73%, respectively) than outcomes that were similar to non-ADHD controls (43% and 27%, respectively).
For individuals with treated ADHD, 71% of self-esteem outcomes were similar to the non-ADHD control group following treatment compared with 43% for individuals with untreated ADHD. Likewise, for social function, 61% of the outcomes measured post-treatment were similar to the non-ADHD control group compared with 26% for individuals with untreated ADHD.
Response to treatment was similar for pharmacological, nonpharmacological and multimodal treatment for both outcomes.
This review suggests that in individuals with ADHD, self-esteem and social function outcomes appear to be more similar to the non-ADHD controls following treatment for the disorder, and suggests that measurement of self-esteem and social function along with treatment response may be a useful strategy, and indeed aid discussion of appropriate goals with patients and their families.
Read more about the findings of this systematic review here
Harpin V, Mazzone L, Raynaud JP, et al. Long-term outcomes of ADHD: a systematic review of self-esteem and social function. J Atten Disord 2016; 20: 295-305.