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Research Concludes Heredity A Major Factor In Alcohol Dependence, Binge-Eating In Adults With ADHD

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Heredity is a major factor when adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) develop alcohol dependence and binge-eating disorder as well, concludes a doctoral thesis from Linköping University.

ADHD is a condition that is mostly associated with children but up to 5 percent of the world's adult population have it. Psychiatric consultant Andrea Johansson Capusan chose to focus on alcohol dependence and binge-eating because these disorders commonly manifest themselves in adults with ADHD.

Specifically, her thesis aimed to investigate how much of the connection between ADHD and the disorders can be attributed to heredity and how much can be linked to environmental factors.

Capusan turned to studies on twins in Sweden, using information from four studies to examine data from more than 18,000 pairs of twins between the ages of 20 and 46. The twins were also asked to complete questionnaires to report the kind of ADHD symptoms they were manifesting, how much alcohol they were consuming and what kind of binge-eating behavior they were presenting.

"We have shown for the first time that the correlation between ADHD symptoms and binge-eating in women depends mainly on a common hereditary susceptibility for the two disorders," the researcher said.

Since the results of the research suggest that certain people are simply predisposed to develop ADHD symptoms alongside dependence disorders or binge-eating, Capusan said it is important that the conditions be addressed at the same time.

And if an adult has been diagnosed with ADHD, Capusan added that early treatment is crucial as this may help in preventing alcohol dependence and binge-eating from developing later on.

According to another study, ADHD may appear during young adulthood for some people, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. In fact, about 70 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition when they were young adults did not meet criteria in childhood assessments. However, late-onset ADHD is less affected by hereditary factors compared to when the condition is diagnosed during childhood.

Researchers from Norway's University of Bergen have also identified being a workaholic as being tied to psychiatric disorders like ADHD.

"Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues," said Cecilie Schou Andreassen, one of the researchers for the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Andreassen and colleagues came up with seven criteria to identify workaholics. They worked with more than 16,000 working adults and found that 7.8 percent could be considered workaholics. And out of those that take their work way more seriously than other people, 32.7 percent meet the criteria for ADHD.

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