ADHD Likely Reduces Estimated Life Expectancy by Young Adulthood by Dr. Russell Barkley

Nearly 15 years ago, suggestive evidence began to arise that ADHD may have a detrimental impact on life expectancy.  Such opinions were based on what were then new findings from a longitudinal study at Stanford University initiated by Terman of gifted children followed their entire lifespan.  The findings by Friedman and colleagues (2002) indicated that even among this gifted sample, children who placed below the bottom 25th percentile of the population in the personality trait known as Conscientiousness had a 7-8 year reduction in their lifespan compared to the remainder of their sample.  Conscientiousness refers to the use of one’s conscience in making decisions about one’s actions and their consequences for one’s self and others that contribute to the individual’s longer-term welfare.  In a sense, it is the effective use of self-regulation in making choices in one’s life.  When low, Conscientiousness acts to reduce life expectancy due to its being a background trait that predisposes people to engage in adverse health and lifestyle activities that are known to reduce life expectancy, such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, risk taking, poor health maintenance activities, poor diet, etc.  Indeed, low Conscientiousness has been repeatedly shown to mediate the risk of earlier death by all causes (Boff & Roberts, 2004).  The trait is negatively related to self-regulation generally and behavioral disinhibition specifically.  Naturally, then, it is also negatively related to ADHD that includes disinhibition as one of its central symptom dimensions.  Hence, if those in the bottom quartile on this trait had a significant reduction in lifespan, even among gifted children, those with ADHD would be expected to have an even greater reduction in life expectancy as those with ADHD place in the bottom 5-7 percent of the population in their poor inhibition.… >>

Diagnosing diversity

The concepts of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment are the corner stones of the medical model. The patient has some pains or functional impairments, the symptoms are examined, and a diagnosis is put forward. Very often an effective treatment is available.… >>

Personality disorder – real or unreal?

Digital picture illustrating the personality disorder disease with multiple woman portrait collage
Credit: Ursula Ferrara/Shutterstock.com

Almost everybody with an autism or ADHD diagnosis delivered before age seven years will eventually meet criteria for a diagnosis of (any) personality disorder by age 18 years. Conversely, most people (perhaps all) with a diagnosis of personality disorder diagnosed at or after age 18, will have had problems that belong in the ESSENCE group of early onset symptoms, long before the “debut” of their chronic personality disorder.… >>

Mirror, mirror on the wall, can touch cause my self-esteem to fall?

Body distorted in the mirror

Credit: iLoveCoffeeDesign/Shutterstock.com

 Distorted body image is one of the core symptoms of eating disorders and one of the primary factors that contribute to the development, persistence and potential relapse of anorexia nervosa (AN). It affects how the person in question perceives their own body size (in this case overestimating both size and weight), causing both body dissatisfaction and an obsession with weight control.… >>