Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by lack of impulse control, inability to maintain attention, and impaired behavioral regulation. Children who struggle with ADHD often have other psychological problems and learning disabilities. Specifically, the symptoms of ADHD can severely negatively impact a child’s academic abilities, limit social functioning, and negatively impact self-esteem. Juraj Sprung, MD, PhD, of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Medical School has conducted extensive research on children with ADHD. In the most recent study led by Sprung, the relationship between exposure to anesthesia and the later development of ADHD was explored. Sprung evaluated children born between 1976 and 1982 and assessed how many surgical procedures they had experienced prior to their second birthday. The children were later examined to determine if they had developed ADHD at any time before the age of 19.
Sprung looked at a total of 5,357 children and found that of all the participants, 341 later developed ADHD. The study revealed that 7.3% of the participants had no surgeries before age two and still developed ADHD. For children who had one surgery before their second birthday, the rate of ADHD was 10.7%. For those who had multiple surgeries, the rate of ADHD onset prior to age 19 was 17.9%. The results of this most recent study demonstrate that children who are exposed to anesthesia multiple times are significantly more likely to develop ADHD than those who are never exposed or are exposed only once. ADHD poses many difficulties for children and their families. The inability to focus at home and at school can disrupt social relationships and put children at increased risk for the development of other psychological issues, including depression, anxiety, learning disabilities (LD), and mood disorders. Sprung added, “To the extent that ADHD and LD are produced by distinct mechanisms, this suggests that exposure to procedures requiring general anesthesia may affect both.” Sprung believes that these findings support previous research and will allow parents and clinicians to better identify children at high risk for ADHD.
Sprung, J., Flick, R. P., Katusik, S. K., Colligan, R. C., Barbaresi, W. J., Bojanic, K., et al. (2012). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder after early exposure to procedures requiring general anesthesia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 87.2, 120-129. Print.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.