ADHD

10 May 2011

'Emotional' ADHD runs in the family

Some adults with ADHD may also experience excessive emotional reactions to everyday situations, a combination that appears to run in families.

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Some adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may also experience excessive emotional reactions to everyday situations, a combination that appears to run in families.

That's the finding of a Massachusetts General Hospital study that included 83 participants - 23 with ADHD alone, 27 with ADHD plus deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR), 33 with neither condition - plus their siblings.

People with ADHD generally have more difficulty paying attention and controlling their impulses than those without it; many also display high levels of anger, frustration and impatience in response to minor disappointments and inconveniences - responses that may be symptoms of DESR.

The researchers found that the siblings of people with both ADHD and DESR were much more likely to have both conditions than those with ADHD alone.

The study findings were released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

ADHD and self-regulation

"Our research offers strong evidence that heritable factors influence how we control our emotions," study author Dr Craig Surman, of the MGH Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD Program, said.

"Emotion - like capacities such as the ability to pay attention or control physical movement - is probably under forms of brain control that we are just beginning to understand. Our findings also indicate that ADHD doesn't just impact things like reading, listening and getting the bills paid on time; it also can impact how people regulate themselves more broadly, including their emotional expression," he added.

Previous research has shown that people with ADHD and DESR have "a reduced quality of life and difficulties with personal relationships and social success," Surman noted.

An estimated 4% of the adult population has ADHD and more than half of those with ADHD may also have DESR. That means that about 5 million adults in the United States may have both ADHD and poor emotional control, he explained.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

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Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation (www.gb4adhd.co.za) She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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