LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Young girls living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are at a higher risk of developing additional mental disorders, a UCLA study suggests.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is typically found in children between 6 to 12 years old. The condition is characterized by problems paying attention, difficultly moderating behavior, and excessive activity. The World Health Organization estimated roughly 39 million people were living with the condition in 2013.
According to the new study conducted by UCLA researchers, girls diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to develop more serious ailments. The study's authors say the data revealed surprising implications.
"We knew the girls with ADHD would have more problems than the girls without ADHD, but we were surprised that conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder were at the top of the list, not depression or anxiety," UCLA associate professor Steve Lee said in a press release. "These conduct disorders, more than anxiety and depression, predict severe adult impairments, such as risky sexual behavior, abusive relationships, drug abuse and crime."
The data, published in the journal Pediatrics, was comprised of 18 studies of 1,997 girls between the ages of 8 and 13. Forty percent of the girls studied had ADHD. Among girls with ADHD, 42 percent were diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, 37.7 percent met the criteria for anxiety disorder, 12.8 percent were diagnosed with conduct disorder, and 10.3 percent were diagnosed with depression.
The study's authors say their research is a valuable addition to ADHD scholarship, which tends to focus on boys. They recommend parents of children diagnosed with the mental disorder explore both therapeutic and pharmaceutical treatments.