ADHD and Deficient Emotional Control Run in Families

Deficient emotional self-regulation may be a familial subtype of ADHD

FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- The inheritance pattern of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) suggests that DESR may be a familial subtype of ADHD, according to a study published online April 15 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Craig B.H. Surman, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used family studies to clarify the coincidence of ADHD and DESR. Study participants were 83 probands with and without ADHD and 128 siblings. Structured diagnostic interviews were used to assess for presence of axis I Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders-IV conditions. DESR in adult probands and siblings was defined using items from the Barkley Current Behavior Scale.

The investigators found that siblings of ADHD probands had an increased risk of having ADHD, regardless of the presence of DESR in the proband. The risk of DESR was increased in siblings of probands with coincident ADHD and DESR, but not in siblings of ADHD probands. Cosegregation of ADHD and DESR was seen in siblings. Siblings of ADHD probands had a similar risk of other psychiatric disorders.

"We identified a pattern of familial risk consistent with the hypothesis that ADHD with DESR is a distinct familial subtype or variant of ADHD," the authors write. "Further study of the genetic, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, and clinical correlates of ADHD with DESR could clarify the importance of this putative ADHD phenotype."

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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