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[00:00:00] Hello everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

This podcast is brought to you by PAR.

The BRIEF2 is the gold standard rating scale for measuring executive function. A new score report, updated interpretive report, and series of 10 interventions handouts are now available on PARiConnect. Learn more at parinc.com\brief2.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. Today is another episode in the ADHD series. The ADHD series is several episodes over the last few weeks where I have largely been summarizing the research from the World Federation of ADHD [00:01:00] Consensus statement.

Now, of course, you can go out and read this article on your own. It’s out there. It’s Accessible and if you’re anything like me, it can be hard to find time to read articles. So trying to deliver some of that information to you in bite-size portions.

Today we’re talking about lifestyle risks. What do I mean by that?

Well, I mean the different social, environmental, and medical factors that can overlap or are related to an ADHD diagnosis, so quality of life, emotional and social functioning, injuries, death, suicide, crime, those sorts of things. It’ll be quite a bit of info packed into a short period of time. So definitely check out the transcript if that is an easier way to take in some of this info.

All right. Before we get to the episode, of course, I always invite y’all to check out The Testing Psychologist Mastermind [00:02:00] Groups if you’d like some business coaching in a group format. You can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and schedule a pre-group call to find out more.

Okay. Let’s talk about lifestyle risks associated with ADHD.

All right, y’all. Let’s get right to it. Let’s dive into ADHD and lifestyle factors.

Let’s start with quality of life. Quality of life as measured here in the research that I’m talking about looked at a combination of physical, emotional, social, and academic functioning [00:03:00] and pulled all that together to come up with a quality of life assessment.

What came out of this research, and these are all meta-analyses, was that the quality of life among kids and adolescents with ADHD was notably lower than typically developing peers. The interesting thing or one interesting thing about this is that both the kids or adolescents and their parents rated the kid’s quality of life as worse compared to typically developing kids. A separate meta-analysis found that parents also rated their own quality of life as lower when they had a child diagnosed with ADHD relative to parents with typically developing children.

Digging a little [00:04:00] deeper in terms of kids’ quality of life, we found that physical functioning was not as significantly impaired. It was, but only moderately, but emotional, social, and academic functioning were most impaired in terms of kids with ADHD compared to typically developing peers.

Sadly, at least to me, the quality of life ratings for both kids and their parents, we’re using parents as a proxy for their kids’ quality of life, decreased as kids and adolescents got older. That, to me, paints a tough picture knowing that kids perceive their own quality of life to get worse as they get older when there’s a diagnosis of ADHD.

[00:05:00] Digging a little bit deeper into the emotional and social realm, we found that kids with ADHD tend to have way more likelihood of trouble with emotional regulation, conduct, peer issues, home life, friendships, and classroom learning. They seem to have more difficulty modulating their reactivity to stressful events. So more difficulty dealing with stressful things in life. Reacting more poorly.

Social skills, as you might imagine, recognizing social cues and identifying social problems were also relatively impacted by an ADHD diagnosis in a negative direction. And kids with ADHD are more likely, unfortunately, to engage in bullying than kids without ADHD.

[00:06:00] Let’s take a break to hear from our featured partner.

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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

Moving on to injuries, as you might imagine, kids with ADHD have more risk of accidental injury, they have more concussion risk, and as they get older and grow into adults, way more likely [00:07:00] to have motor vehicle accidents as well.

And so, I might just pause here for a second and reflect that this is not an incredibly uplifting episode. These statistics are not painting a super positive picture. I want to comment on that as we get toward the end of the episode. So hang with me here. 

Moving on through some of these lifestyle risks. Death and suicide are, unfortunately, not a prettier picture when it comes to an ADHD diagnosis. Those with ADHD are way more likely to both attempt and complete suicide compared to individuals without an ADHD diagnosis.

Regarding crime, individuals with ADHD are more likely to perpetrate, be the victims of crimes, and be [00:08:00] imprisoned.

Educationally, kids with ADHD are less likely to graduate than their typically developing peers and tend to have lower academic achievement even when medicated.

As far as substance use disorders, individuals with ADHD are more likely to have alcohol issues and be nicotine dependent.

And then there’s a catch-all category of others that includes teen pregnancy, impulsive spending, oddly, poisoning; kids with ADHD are more likely to experience poisoning and be victims of sexual abuse, even after adjusting for many demographic factors and pretty significant economic impacts of ADHD as well.

There’s some literature out there around the estimated impact of ADHD in the workplace and [00:09:00] presumably lost productivity and so forth.

Like I said at the beginning, this paints a little bit of a bleak picture. I don’t know that there’s any way around that right now. These are the statistics.

I present this for two reasons.

1. To make sure that we’re all up on the latest research with each of these factors.

2. It can be easy to forget about some of these things.

Working with kids primarily, of course, and some young adults, I think about academic achievement and social skills as some of the areas that are most impacted by ADHD. And it’s important, I think, to be aware of some of these other lifestyle risks [00:10:00] so that you can ask the right questions in the interview and not forget that the impact can be pretty widespread with kids, especially as they get older, which leads me to the third reason I might present some of this, which is that,

3. Go back to that beginning stat that I shared about quality of life decreasing for kids and adolescents as they get older, both in their eyes and in their parents’ eyes. That to me can certainly lead to more intervention because it generates awareness. If we’re aware that that might be happening, it can lead to intervention and making sure that we know that self-esteem can be impacted, that in general, ADHD kids are experiencing some real struggles in many areas of life. It’s not enough to just intervene in one place [00:11:00] or another. The full picture is pretty important.

Kids are pretty susceptible to self-esteem issues, confidence issues, and mood stuff. So being aware is super important. That can help with intervention, and maybe increase the likelihood that you might recommend therapy or even medication or try to target some of these areas of life.

We’ll also be talking about treatment options in a future ADHD series episode. So again, not trying to present this information as a huge downer, but we’ll present some intervention ideas as well as we go along here in the ADHD series and start to wrap it up.

That’s it for today. Thank you as always for listening. Stay tuned for more ADHD episodes.

[00:12:00] All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes, so make sure to check those out.

If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

If you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support,  we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a [00:13:00] pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you. 

Thanks so much.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast.

If you need [00:14:00] the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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