ADHD more common than thought; autistic boys spend more time on video games

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is far more common than previously thought, researchers say.

The condition, a neurobehavioral disorder typically characterized by difficulties in attention and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness, afflicts almost 11 percent kids in the age group of 6-9 years, researchers have found.

The survey
An ASSOCHAM survey interviewing 2,300 school children found that 11 percent of the kids were suffering from ADHD.

The number of cases stood at 4 percent in 2005.

“ADHD is a neurological condition witnessed in children. There are many causes of the disorder like biological reasons (since child birth) and psychological reasons that include parental and/or peer pressure,” B P Mishra, psychologist at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), marked.

Autistic boys spend more time on video games
In a separate study, researchers have found that boys with ADHD are more likely to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games than those without the disorder.

Also, autistic boys showed more problematic (addictive) gaming behaviors, the researchers highlighted.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers looked at boys aged 8 to 18. Of the subjects, 56 had autism, 44 had ADHD and 41 had neither autism nor ADHD.

The boys’ parents were required to fill in extensive questionnaires answering how often their child played video games daily, whether they had gaming consoles in their bedrooms and the types of video games they indulged in.

The questionnaire also culled information related to autism and ADHD symptoms.
The researchers found that autistic boys spent twice more time playing video games as against typically developing boys.

While normal boys played on average 1.2 hours a day, autistic boys played for 2.1 hours a day and boys with ADHD played, on average, 1.7 hours a day.

Upon comparing parents’ responses related to autism and ADHD symptoms, the researchers found that boys with autism or ADHD were more likely to be problematic or addictive and exhibited aggressive video gaming behaviors than typically developing boys.

“These results suggest that children with [autism] and those with ADHD may be at particularly high risk for significant problems related to video game play, including excessive and problematic video game use,” the authors wrote.

“Children with [autism] and those with ADHD experience difficulties with impulse control and response inhibition, and these problems appear to be closely related to video game preoccupation,” the authors concluded.

The findings of the study are published July 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

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