ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in children, and often persists into adulthood. This narrative review article highlights the risks, treatment options and care requirements associated with the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
The authors of this article reviewed available epidemiological and routine-care data and guidelines to identify recommendations to improve healthcare for adolescents with ADHD. The authors discussed the two main treatment options, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, which they felt were equally as important, and highlighted the need for a re-examination of the care provided during the transition from child and adolescent psychiatry to adult psychiatry services. They emphasised the importance of a comprehensive follow-up of patients, in terms of their history, course of treatment and current clinical picture, in order to ensure a smooth transition from adolescent to adult care. The authors advised that the severity of a patient’s ADHD, and any associated impairments and possible comorbidities, together with their psychosocial functional level, should be recorded in a structured manner and evaluated to assess the need for intervention. They suggested that the transition of adolescents with ADHD to adult care may be improved through complementary interdisciplinary outpatient and inpatient services, and also through strengthening of education and training in transition psychiatry; they highlighted that special research programmes looking at these new concepts should be established and evaluated systematically.
Data on epidemiology and routine care indicate that there is a shortage of care for adolescents with ADHD in the sensitive phase of life during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Due to the high risk, particularly among adolescents with severe ADHD, for the development of further mental health disorders as well as somatic diseases and negative psychosocial effects, there is a need for action to close the gaps between knowledge and care.
The authors concluded that specific transition concepts should be further advanced and scientifically investigated to assess their effectiveness for adolescent patients with ADHD and their families.
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Philipsen A, Döpfner M. ADHS im Übergang in das Erwachsenenalter: Prävalenz, Symptomatik, Risiken und Versorgung [ADHD in the transition to adulthood: prevalence, symptoms, risks, and care]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 2020; 63: 910-915.