While driving home, I just heard this latest ADHD news on NPR (link has text synopsis): some children diagnosed with ADHD do literally grow out of the disorder by the time they are in their 20s. Parts of the brain responsible for “the control of action and attention” experience about a two-year lag in these children, compared to their age-cohort. The MRI study at the National Institute of Mental Health looked at scans of over 400 children (half diagnosed with AD/HD) taken over several years, to track the development of various areas of the brain.
Previous studies have shown that the AD/HD brain shows structural differences, as well as differences in the levels of neurotransmitters*. Although some people continue to have these differences into adulthood, not everyone does. Apparently this is sometimes merely a maturational delay, and sometimes a more permanent developmental difference.
* No, AD/HD is not “just an excuse” to cover up lazyness, or due to “bad parenting” (although poor parenting practices can certainly aggravate related issues), nor is it due to food colouring, sugar, et cetera. There are a plethora of MRI scan studies out there demonstrating that the condition has a real, physical basis.