Adolescents with a history of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are prone to varied concerns, including adverse mental-health condition, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and car accidents.
The team of researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that most of the primary care doctors usually discussed depression, substance abuse, and suicide risk with patients who have a history of ADHD but hardly about safe driving or risky sexual behaviour.
The finding which was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics represents the first study to examine the clinical practices of primary care clinicians as children with ADHD advance through adolescence.
Those teens diagnosed before age 10 are at an increased risk for a variety of behavioural and medical concerns throughout adolescence. Yet of the 262 patients with a history of ADHD studied, the CHOP team found driving readiness was discussed in only two instances, and sexual health risks were discussed with only 47% of youth.
"These findings identify opportunities to improve the care of adolescents with a history of ADHD," said Thomas Power, PhD, ABPP, senior author and Director of the Center for Management of ADHD at CHOP. "Although doctors do a good job screening for many behavioural health risks, like suicide risk and depression, we need to be more aware of the dangers associated with driving and sexual health.
Citing a previous example from the study, Thomas Power, PhD, ABPP, senior author and Director of the Center for Management of ADHD at CHOP said: "teens with ADHD are more likely to be involved in a car accident particularly in the first month after receiving their driver's license, so this is definitely an issue that should be discussed with our patients."
Medication abuse, specifically the unlawful sharing of medication among youth, is another major area of concern for adolescent patients on medication for ADHD, yet the study found doctors rarely discussed this risk with these patients.
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