University of Gothenburg

Birgit Olsson Lecture 2012

Professor Eric Taylor's lecture "Use and Misuse of ADHD treatments in Childhood and Adult Life"

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Use and misuse of ADHD treatments in childhood and adult life

About Professor Eric Taylor

Professor Eric Taylor, who is Emeritus Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. Professor Taylor has published over 150 peer reviewed papers on ADHD covering all aspects of the field including aetiology, co-morbidity, genetics, gender and cultural issues, brain-imaging, outcome and treatment of ADHD.


”Use and misuse of ADHD treatments in childhood and adult life”

This year’s lecturer was Professor emeritus Eric Taylor from Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College in London. Professor Taylor is a world authority in the ADHD field and he has an impressive scientific production. His research on ADHD covers among other things treatment, diagnostics, longitudinal course, genetics, co-morbidity, gender and cultural aspects. Professor Taylor's treatment studies and systematic reviews are the basis for both European guidelines and for the British NICE guidelines regarding diagnostics and treatment of ADHD. Professor Taylor’s topic for the lecture was ”Use and misuse of ADHD treatments in childhood and adult life” with the subheading ”Controversies in ADHD treatment”. Professor Taylor’s speech commenced with a comparison between the prescription of psychostimulants in different countries, and he used the United States as one example of where prescription of psychostimulants is higher than the amount of children with ADHD. The second example was of the United Kingdom where the prescription is far below the actual need. Professor Taylor further described the huge difference between different countries’ guidelines for diagnostics and treatment of ADHD. The risks associated with psychostimulants were brought up, and the possible increased risk for sudden death could not be verified by Professor Taylor. According to Professor Taylor, treatment with psychostimulants implies neither an increased nor a decreased risk for children and adolescents to develop a substance abuse. The problem for individuals with ADHD is simply to say no to drugs. The most efficient way for youths to abstain from drugs is to let a peer with a former substance abuse inform about the consequences of drug abuse. Psychostimulants were compared with behavioural therapy, and professor Taylor described both treatments as effective and cost-effective. He stressed, however, that there are many advantages adding medication to behavioural treatment but few advantages adding behavioural treatment to medication. The relationship between ADHD and conduct disorder was thereafter discussed. If parents have a hostile attitude towards the youth and if the individual himself does not belong to a peer group these are risk factors for developing conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder. These risk factors apply for both genders. Finally Professor Taylor described that untreated ADHD is one of the strongest risk factors for poor mental health in early adult life. After the lecture there were questions from the floor.