Three new studies show that the language used by adults with ADHD on social media reveals manifestations of the disease; ADHD medication can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young men; and brain imaging uncloaks the involvement of distinct neural pathways in ADHD.1-3
Details of these studies—and their clinical implications—are briefly summarized here.
Study 1. Tweets Reveal Life of Adults With ADHD
The tweets of adults with ADHD reveal what life is like for them and may also provide clues to help facilitate more effective treatments.
In this analysis, about 1.3 million tweets from 1399 Twitter users with self-reported ADHD were compared with the posts of age- and gender-matched controls over a similar period of social media activity.1 Those with ADHD tended to post messages related to lack of focus, self-regulation, intention, and failure, as well as expressions of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion; they also experienced more mood swings and negativity.
This research has the potential to help clinicians understand the varying manifestations of ADHD, and it could be used as a complementary feedback tool to give personal insights to those with ADHD. “On social media, where you can post your mental state freely, you get a lot of insight into what these people are going through, which might be rare in a clinical setting. In brief 30- or 60-minute sessions with patients, clinicians might not get all manifestations of the condition, but on social media you have the full spectrum,” said lead author Sharath Chandra Guntuku, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.
1. Guntuku SC, Ramsay JR, Merchant RM, Ungar LH. Language of ADHD in adults on social media. J Atten Disord. 2017 Nov 1. doi:10.1177/1087054717738083. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Chen M-H, Hsu JW, Huang KL, et al. Sexually transmitted infection among adolescents and young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a nationwide longitudinal study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018;57:48-53.
3. Stevens MC, Pearlson GD, Calhoun VD, Bessette KL. Functional neuroimaging evidence for distinct neurobiological pathways in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biol Psychiatry. Available online 23 September 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2017.09.005