What Does All This Mean?
The research is confusing and complex. I recommend that you stay abreast of studies, but don’t dwell on them. It is likely that no conclusive findings will be determined for a number of years. Check with care providers to see what they know about current research studies and take each study with a grain of salt. Large studies, conducted over an extensive periods of time are usually the most reliable.
If a particular study interests you, be sure to check out who is conducting the study. I trust university studies more than projects conducted by companies out to make money, for example. You may also want to find out if any clinical studies are being conducted in your area. Are you or your child with ADHD willing to participate in a study?
Regarding treatment with medication, most experts recommend that the focus of the initial treatment should be to manage BPSD symptoms first and then focus on the ADHD symptoms. This should be done even if the ADHD is longstanding and the BPSD newly diagnosed. This is because the BPSD is the more serious disorder of the two.
One important fact to consider is the question of whether stimulants, which are often prescribed for people diagnosed with ADHD, may exacerbate symptoms of BPSD. Regarding all of the research, this is my biggest concern.
The Bottom Line
I am the parent of an adult who has pretty severe ADHD. If I was younger and saw the research linking these two conditions, I think that I would have been scared and worried that my son would develop BPSD, especially during his teen years when I, like every other parent of a teenager, wondered if my child was going to be “ok” as an adult.
At this point, I believe that the best approach is a “wait and see what the research shows” attitude. There is simply not enough conclusive information at this point. Gathering information will likely lead to better understanding and treatment for both conditions eventually. I find that living by the “one day at a time” slogan is sufficient for now.