ADHD and Adulthood

Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 10:00am

Few people realize Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is incurable. The disorder can be managed, but it persists with people throughout their lifetime. Studies estimate that more then 4 percent of the adult population lives with ADHD.

The disorder has plagued adults during some of their most productive years. Michael Phelps became history’s most decorated Olympian, Ty Pennington continues to be the world’s greatest home makeover extraordinaire and Albert Einstein postulated his Special Theory of Relativity, all while living with the disorder.

Their personal and professional success is due largely to their ability to recognize and treat the disorder, says George DuPaul, professor of school psychology. Unfortunately, the National Resource Center on ADHD notes that, while a few catalogs list colleges with supports for students with learning disabilities, no such guide exists for students with ADHD.

Not that college students can’t find help. According to DuPaul, universities offer many resources to assist students with ADHD from a functional standpoint.

In an effort to help college students —one of the most understudied ADHD populations— DuPaul and Lisa Weyandt, professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, have kicked of the first-ever controlled pharmacological study for treatment of ADHD among college students. Shire Development, Inc. is funding the five-year study.

“The study will measure changes in attention, executive functions and social/psychological functioning, as well as perceived changes among the students,” says DuPaul. “Feedback from the students’ professors will also be sought.”

In this first-ever, double-blind placebo study, researchers will test the effectiveness of Vyvanse™ for treatment of ADHD in college students. Vyvanse is a product marketed by Shire US Inc.

Weyandt says that college students with ADHD are at greater risk for academic and psychological difficulties than their peers. “They are also in a unique developmental context at this stage of their lives, when they are expected to live and act independently,” she adds.

In 2008, DuPaul earned a coveted spot in the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder’s (CHADD) Hall of Fame. He also was honored with the 2008 Senior Scientist Award by the American Psychological Association’s Division of School Psychology for his devotion to ADHD research.

Research Focus: 
Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
Field of Expertise: 
Atypical intellectual functions and development