Between three and five per cent of school-aged children suffer from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with more boys than girls among them, a conference on ADHD in Warsaw reported on Tuesday.

Professor Andrzej Rajewski of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences said that research shows that ADHD sufferers have impaired cognitive processes, increased activation processes in the central nervous system and a disruption of the executive system.

The classification presented at the conference shows that 20 to 30 per cent of children with ADHD have specific disorders of speech development and school skills, while 20 to 69 per cent of children have oppositional defiant disorder.

Children with ADHD have an increased risk of a variety of disorders in adulthood: from neurotic-anxiety disorders to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Up to 70 per cent of inadequately treated children develop symptoms in adulthood. Hence, as Prof Rajewski stressed, the need for psychotherapy and, in some cases, pharmacotherapy.

According to psychiatrist Dr Artur Kołakowski, who was present at the conference, long-term care is needed for children with ADHD in order to prevent the development of complications in adult life.

He pointed out that the psychotherapist’s work in this case is not only with the child, but also with their parents and the school environment. These children are rejected not only by adults, but also by their peers, and therefore have fewer chances to learn good skills, he said. (PAP)