Before ADHD Diagnosis, Youth Twice as Likely to Have Used Health Care Services

Youth with ADHD have increased rates of physical conditions such as asthma and eczema before diagnosis

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Two years before attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, youth with ADHD are twice as likely to use health care services as youth without the condition, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Vibhore Prasad, Ph.D., from King’s College London, and colleagues used primary care electronic health records and linked hospital records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1998 to 2015) to compare use of health care resources among 8,127 children and young people (CYP; ages 4 to 17 years) with ADHD in the two years before diagnosis versus 40,136 matched non-ADHD controls.

The researchers found that CYP with ADHD used health care services twice as often as controls (general practitioner [GP]: rate ratio, 2.0; hospital: rate ratio, 1.8). The investigators noted a wide variety of reasons why CYP with ADHD attended their GP, received prescriptions, and were admitted to hospital. Among CYP with versus without ADHD, the greatest association for GP use was for “mental and behavioral disorders” (odds ratio, 25.2). The most common reasons for GP attendance included eye, ear, nose, throat, and oral issues and conditions such as asthma or eczema.

“These contacts may be an opportunity for earlier recognition and diagnosis of ADHD,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to QBTech, Neurotech Solutions, and Medici.

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