Volume 7 Supplement 1

International Society on Brain and Behaviour: 3rd International Congress on Brain and Behaviour

Open Access

The clinical presentation of ADHD in adults with Learning Disability: experience from a National Specialist Adult ADHD clinic

  • Stefanos Maltezos1,
  • Jessica Bramham1,
  • Elena Paliokosta1,
  • Esther Rose1 and
  • Kiriakos Xenitidis1
Annals of General Psychiatry20087(Suppl 1):S213

https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-859X-7-S1-S213

Published: 17 April 2008

Background

There is growing evidence that ADHD is more common in children and adults with Learning Disabilities (LD) and that it can be successfully treated even if diagnosis can be difficult because of ‘diagnostic overshadowing’. This study provides empirical data about the ADHD symptoms in LD and non-LD populations.

Materials and methods

The sample consisted of 48 LD-ADHD (IQ< 80) adults compared to 221 ADHD non -LD (IQ>=80) adults. Symptoms were evaluated using the informant-rated Barkley scale for childhood and adulthood behaviour. T-tests, paired samples t-tests and principal component analysis were conducted to investigate the pattern of symptoms for each group.

Results

The LD group differed significantly from the non LD group for a number of the current inattentive symptoms' ratings and presented also higher scores for all items during childhood, indicating greater severity of symptoms. For the non-LD group, most symptoms improved from childhood to adulthood. However, for the LD group, there was overall improvement as indicated by the total score, but no items showed significant change from childhood to adulthood.

Principal component analysis for current symptoms in the LD revealed scattered loading of different items into five components to account for 73.98% of the variance for informants' ratings. These components were not consistent with the classic cluster of inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive symptoms as was the case for the non-LD group.

Conclusions

ADHD symptoms can be identified successfully in LD patients, however clinicians should be aware that the pattern of the clinical presentation can be different for this clinical population.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the multidisciplinary team of the Adult ADHD service for their assistance to the study.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Adult ADHD service, Maudsley Hospital

References

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Copyright

© Maltezos et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.

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