Presentation on theme: "ADHD in Adults: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff James Chandler, MD FRCPC."— Presentation transcript:
ADHD in Adults: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff James Chandler, MD FRCPC
Why the current interest? Pharmaceutical companies Psychiatry Cultural
Pharmaceutical companies ADHD is a chronic disease, thus a great market Adults with ADHD are directed to take medications even longer than depressed patients Many ADHD drugs are now indicated for adults
Concerta, Adderall, Strattera, Ritalin, Alertec No disorder, no drug Where would Viagra be without Erectile Dysfunction?
Selling ADHD drugs requires Identifying more consumers Direct to consumer ads with signs of ADHD Promoting the effectiveness of the treatment Pharmaceutical company managed studies which have little application in the real world
Pharmaceutical Strategy Producing a demand Making people think that not paying attention is abnormal
Developmental interests Adult psychiatry research now focuses on early forms of adult illnesses –Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Anxiety Disorder
Developmental Interest Child Psychiatry research follows up child illness into adult –ADHD, Autism, Tourettes, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Traumatized Children
Clinical Observations Adult psychiatrists see the hyperactive children of their adult patients Child psychiatrists attempt to have a conversation or appointment with the parents of their ADHD patients.
Cultural More and more aspects of human behavior are now categorized as disorders requiring treatment Aspergers, ED, and now EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness)
Cultural Disorder means less responsibility, so having a diagnosis might lessen consequences for misbehavior in general. I cant help it, I have ADHD
What is ADHD in adults? The same two symptom dimensions as in children: –Hyperactive-Impulsive –Inattentiveness
Hyperactive-Impulsive often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat, often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
Hyperactive-Impulsive often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
Hyperactive-Impulsive often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly, is often on the go or often acts as if driven by a motor, and often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
Hyperactive-Impulsive often has difficulty awaiting turn often interrupts or intrudes on others (eg, butts into conversations or games)
Decreased Attention often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities; often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities; often seems to be not listening when spoken to directly,
Decreased Attention often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities, often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework), often loses things necessary for tasks or activities,
Decreased Attention often is distracted easily by extraneous stimuli, and is often forgetful in daily activities . 
What are the neuropsychological basis for these symptoms? 10 years ago this was quite clear, but not any more There are no psychological tests which all adults with ADHD do poorly on. The neuropsychology of ADHD is so heterogeneous that some patients do poorly on just about any test
Psychological tests can not diagnose ADHD. Nevertheless, the more executive function problems, the worse the academic and occupational outcome:
Executive dysfunction Organization and planning Working memory deficits The ability to hold information ïn your mind so you can compare scenarios, solutions, and consequences
Executive dysfunction Response Inhibition Problems Cant resist an impulse to move, act, or think while on another task Sustained attention Shifting/Mental Flexibility Interference control
What are functional deficits in ADHD in adults?
Occupational and Academic More dropouts, lower occupational achievement More likely fired More likely to quit More bankruptcies Not as wealthy
Genetic 75% heritability, but no one gene causes this 50% of children of ADHD patient will have some signs of ADHD
Biological Adversity Prematurity Smoking or drinking in pregnant mother Food additives? Obstetrical Complications
Psychosocial Adversity Poverty Single parenthood Social class Chronic family conflict Low family cohesion Exposure to current, not past, parental psychopathology Abuse
What looks like ADHD but isnt? Drug abuse Depression Hypomania Head Injury syndromes Post encephalitis, structural brain lesions
What looks like ADHD but isnt? Other toxins Horrible home issues Neurodegenerative On and on………..
How does it classically appear? Parents of clearly diagnosed patients of yours with ADHD Pearl: if someone has three or more children and none of them have ADHD, probably the parents dont either. Clearly diagnosed ADHD children grown up.
How does it present? About 1/3 will still be disabled as adults, with very few growing out of it after age 30. Addiction Treatment Centres and follow up Depending on the centre, 25-35% of the people in treatment programs have ADHD, too. Severe accident follow up
Compliance Missed appointments Drop ins script refills lost prescriptions vs. diversion
Dealing with the illness Dealing with the financial, legal, familial, and physical sequale Dealing with having a chronic psychiatric illness Dealing with comorbid disorders
Psychotherapy Few trials, but the only success stories so far are for skill training with modules on organizing and planning, distractibility, adaptive thinking, and procrastination this one has been used in a double blind trial of persons who were treated with medications and partially responded.
This is the manual from that study and a copy is on the table
This is the therapist manual - copy on the table
Medical Treatment of ADHD in Adults First step is to match the drug to the person, given that almost everyone will have some comorbid problem.
Short acting Stimulants Good points: –Most potent of ADHD medications Bad Points: –Abusable –need to take three times a day –can cause depression –High street value in academic settings
Short acting Stimulants Good choice for: –extremely reliable persons with ADHD that doesnt respond to long acting drugs with no history of substance abuse or depression –Dose is 1mg/kg – about 20-30 mg tid of Ritalin or 10-20mg tid of Dexedrine. –No insurance
Long Acting Stimulants Good points: –once a day and potent. –not abusable Bad points: –need to take it before 9am –still can cause mood disorder –doesnt cover late night –High street value in schools and University
Long Acting Stimulants Cost for concerta and Adderall can be over 200 dollars a month at high doses, which are often the case in large persons. Dosages Concerta and biphentin: roughly 1mg/kg, Adderall roughly.5 mg/kg, Dexedrine Spansules,.5mg/kg,
Non-Stimulants All work on the time frame of antidepressants – 8 weeks.
Strattera- Good points –24 hour coverage, once a day –Not abusable –May help comorbid anxiety
Strattera- Bad points Not that potent Still can cause mood disorders expensive- over 270 dollars a month for full doses. Dosage – start at.5mg/kg, increase to 1- 1.2 mg/kg
Welbutrin Good points –Also an antidepressant –Unlikely to cause depression –Decreases smoking –Can be combined with stimulants –Works all day
Welbutrin Bad points –Not that potent –Dosages -300mg/d –Seizures with Bulimia, Pot
Alertec (Provigil, Modafinil) Good points: –Works all day –Not abusable Bad points: –Not that potent –More GI side effects –Not that cheap: 200 dollars a month Dosages 200-400 mg/d
Drugs that do not work: Effexor SRIs Atypical antipsychotics Mood stabilizers Nicotine patch cannibis
Most likely outcome Non-compliant – miss appointments, forget scripts
Next most likely outcome Combination of side effects and improvement usually balancing insomnia, depression, and effect. Or doesnt cover enough of the day. Usually has less effect on higher level problems in my experience: organization, time management, procrastination
Least likely outcome Completely transforms their life with minimal side effects
A realistic approach Step 1. proper diagnosis is made ( one visit)
A realistic approach Step 2. patient actually comes back a second time to discuss treatment and life management issues with some other responsible adult( tests whether they really can come back)
A realistic approach Step 3. Start medication with the understanding that most likely skills training will be needed or couple script with skills training. Assuming the drug does not work miracles, you will need extra help learning some new skills
A realistic approach Step 4. Monitor comorbid problems
Do not: Refill scripts before they are due for stimulants, no matter what the reason Refill scripts without the patient coming in more than once in a row
Do not: Hesitate to link scripts to drug screens Give stimulants directly to patients who live in dormitories Get too focused on trying to find the magic drug.
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