Research shows new link to ADHD

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Fascinating new research from the University of South Australia has found young mothers have a greater chance of having a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is defined as a complex neuro-developmental disorder often characterised by persistent patterns of inattentive, impulsive, and sometimes hyperactive behaviour.

In Australia it affects one in 20 people.

The research found a strong link between maternal age, especially for women young than 20.

Associate Professor Hong Lee said the findings could help better inform the community.

“Young mums can have it tough, especially as they’re adjusting to becoming a parent while they’re still young themselves,” Assoc Prof Lee said.

“By understanding the links between becoming a mother at a young age and having a child with ADHD, we’re able to better educate and support families sooner.

“The approach is twofold. Firstly, we’re able to inform young women about the high genetic risk of having a child with ADHD if they give birth at a young age. This may caution and prevent them from giving birth at an immature age, which not only improves their reproductive health but also the maternal environment for their baby.

“Secondly, we’re able to educate young mothers about the features of ADHD, such as impulsivity and inattentive behaviours, which may help mothers better recognise the condition in their child and seek treatment sooner than later.

“ADHD is treatable, but early diagnosis and interventions are key to a successful outcome.”