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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Transitional Aged Youth

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Extensive research has been conducted on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults; however, less is known about ADHD during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Transitional aged youth (TAY) with ADHD represents a particularly vulnerable population as their newfound independence and responsibility often coincides with the development of comorbid disorders. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of TAY-ADHD.

Recent Findings

Recent studies discovering ADHD symptoms emerging in TAY call the classification of ADHD as a disorder necessarily developing in childhood into question. TAY-ADHD are also shown to be vulnerable to academic and social impairments, increased risky behavior, and comorbid psychiatric disorders. Due to the risk of stimulant diversion in TAY, providers are advised to take precaution when prescribing medication to this population. Recent studies demonstrating the efficacy of psychotherapy in conjunction with non-stimulant or extended release stimulant medication provide a feasible alternative.

Summary

This review highlights research on the course and evaluation of ADHD, impairments and comorbidities specific to TAY, and treatments tailored to address the unique challenges associated with TAY-ADHD.

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Correspondence to Timothy E. Wilens.

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Conflict of Interest

Timothy E. Wilens receives or has received grant support from the following sources: NIH(NIDA). Dr. Timothy Wilens is or has been a consultant for Alcobra, Neurovance/Otsuka, and Ironshore. Dr. Timothy Wilens has published books: Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medications for Kids (Guilford Press); and co/edited books ADHD in Adults and Children (Cambridge University Press), Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry (Elsevier) and Massachusetts General Hospital Psychopharmacology and Neurotherapeutics (Elsevier). Dr. Wilens is co/owner of a copyrighted diagnostic questionnaire (Before School Functioning Questionnaire). Dr. Wilens has a licensing agreement with Ironshore (BSFQ Questionnaire). Dr. Wilens is Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and (Co) Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He serves as a clinical consultant to the US National Football League (ERM Associates), U.S. Minor/Major League Baseball; Phoenix/Gavin House and Bay Cove Human Services.

Benjamin M. Isenberg, Tamar A. Kaminski, and Rachael M. Lyons each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Javier Quintero receives or has received grant support from the ISCIII. Dr. Javier Quintero has participated as speaker and/or acted as consultant for Shire, Abbie & Grunenthal. Dr. Javier Quintero has published books: TDAH a lo largo de la Vida. (Ed. Elservier). Dr. Javier Quintero has interests or works for SERMAS and the Neurobehavioral Institute.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Adolescent Disorders

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Wilens, T.E., Isenberg, B.M., Kaminski, T.A. et al. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Transitional Aged Youth. Curr Psychiatry Rep 20, 100 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-018-0968-x

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Keywords

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • ADHD
  • Transitional aged youth
  • TAY
  • ADHD treatment
  • Adolescents