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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a frequently diagnosed and treated behavioral disorder in children and adolescents and may persist into adulthood. The core symptoms of ADHD frequently cause significant impairment in academic, social and behavioral functioning over many years in children, adolescents and adults. Currently used treatments, such as pharmacotherapy and behavior therapy, can yield significant short-term benefits for many individuals with ADHD. However, it is unclear whether or not the currently used treatments mitigate the negative impact of non-treatment on the quality of life of individuals with ADHD over an extended time period. Long-term randomized controlled trials, which are the gold standard for measuring treatment effects, are largely absent. Long-term administration of methylphenidate may result in a diminution of beneficial effects of the drugs used in ADHD. Scant research has adequately evaluated the long-term safety of drugs for ADHD. Poorly determined long-term beneficial effects of medication need to be carefully weighed against possible over-prescription and a range of potential adverse effects. Treatment of ADHD has no proven beneficial impact on long-term outcomes but may be associated with various adverse effects.

See also:

Lange KW. The treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has no proven long-term benefits but possible adverse effects. Mov Nutr Health Dis 2017; 1: 11-25. DOI: 10.5283/mnhd.4.

Swanson JM, Arnold LE, Molina BSG, et al. Young adult outcomes in the follow-up of the multimodal treatment study of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: symptom persistence, source discrepancy, and height suppression. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2017; 58: 663-678. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12684.

  1. Fakultät für Psychologie, Pädagogik und Sportwissenschaft
  2. Institut für Psychologie