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Teens With ADHD Less Likely Than Preteens to Have Doctor Visit

Depression, suicide, substance abuse monitoring found for most teens, but only half monitored for sexual risk

FRIDAY, Feb. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are less likely to have a primary care visit during adolescence than preadolescence, according to a study published in the February/March issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

Cierra M. Moss, M.D., from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues identified patients from three practices included in a large primary care network who were born between 1996 and 1997, were diagnosed with ADHD before age 10 years, and received primary care from age 9 years through late adolescence. Clinical care was compared for patients ages 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 18 years (preadolescence, early adolescence, and late adolescence, respectively).

The researchers found that participants were less likely to have a documented visit for ADHD during late adolescence than preadolescence (41 versus 63 percent). From preadolescence to late adolescence, there was an increase in evidence of monitoring for depression, suicide, and substance abuse, which occurred in about 90 percent of adolescent patients. Only about 50 percent of adolescents were monitored for risky sexual activity. There was almost no documentation of discussions of medication diversion or driver readiness.

“Although doctors do a good job screening for many behavioral health risks, like suicide risk and depression, we need to be more aware of the dangers associated with driving and sexual health,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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