Despite full brain maturation, remission from ADHD in adulthood is a possibility, a recent Brazilian study reports.
This prospective 7-year follow-up study investigated sociodemographic and clinicopathologic predictors of ADHD persistence and the possibility of full remission in patients seeking treatment for ADHD during adulthood (n=344; mean age at study onset 34.1 years; age range 18–68 years) via three-step regression analyses.
The retention rate at follow-up was 66% (n=227) and of these patients: 69.8% (n=157) continued to meet DSM-IV* criteria for ADHD; 17.8% (n=40) had changed to subthreshold ADHD (four or five DSM-IV symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity); and 12.4% (n=28) presented with full remission (less than four DSM-IV symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity). Baseline predictors of diagnostic persistence were higher number of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms, presence of oppositional defiant disorder, and presence of social phobia (all p<0.05); age was found not to influence persistence of ADHD, despite the wide age range. Interestingly, the group of patients with remission of ADHD did not present more remission from comorbidities or changes in marital or work/academic status at follow-up, compared with the group of patients who did not experience remission.
These findings highlight that full remission from ADHD should be considered a possibility among adults, despite full brain maturation and regardless of whether in early, middle or older adulthood.
Read more about the persistence and remission of ADHD in Brazilian adults
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition
Karam RG, Breda V, Picon FA, et al. Persistence and remission of ADHD during adulthood: a 7-year clinical follow-up study. Psychol Med 2015; 45: 2045-2056.