Mental disorders are common in America today. Both the young and the old are increasingly being affected. Before now, mental disorders were seen as problems that affected children and stayed with them perhaps for the rest of life. A new study published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) however seems to show that children who grow up with mental disorders may end with an additional burden in adulthood; addiction.
Looking at data from a series of studies previously carried out on the subject, the researchers from the Child Study group at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and Accare, the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands were able to find a link between the different types of psychiatric disorders in children and addiction in their adulthood.
They discovered that children who grew up with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD), and depression were more vulnerable to becoming addicts as adults.
Dr. Annabeth P. Groenman, researcher at Accare, Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands said they “know that ADHD in childhood increases the risk for later substance-related disorders, but until now, no systematic evaluation of other childhood psychiatric disorders have been conducted.” She noted that their findings “show that not only ADHD increased the risk of addictions, but that other childhood psychiatric disorders also increased risk. This indicates the importance of early detection of mental health problems in a wider group. Addiction is a major cause of immense personal, familial, and societal burden, and prevention is therefore an important goal.”
Principal investigator of the Child Study Group at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and the Emma Children’s Hospital AMC, the Netherlands, Professor Jaap Oosterlaan said, “Now that we have firmly established children with psychiatric disorders as a high-risk group for later substance-related disorders, the next step is to make parents, clinicians, and the government aware of these risks and work together in reducing the risks for addiction and its debilitating consequences.”