Updated 25 February 2016

Action point


ADHD tends to run in families. When a child starts showing symptoms, the traditional approach is to treat the child.

Seattle Children's researcher Professor Mark Stein is conducting a study into what happens if you treat the parent first.

Stein says that, unfortunately, adults who have not been diagnosed as children are more difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are less obvious than in kids. This is especially true for women. When mothers go untreated, Stein says they often become demoralised and struggle with parenting, especially if their child is difficult to manage.

“One of the most common reasons children don’t respond to ADHD treatment is because the parents have ADHD themselves,” Stein says. “If a parent goes untreated, they are more likely to forget their child’s medications, miss appointments, lose behavioral charts or not notice positive behaviours when they occur.”

If this sounds like you, make an appointment with a psychiatrist who can make a proper diagnosis and give you the tools to help you manage adult ADHD.