The research is based upon conclusions on 201 children. Half the children had either been diagnosed with emotional or behavioural disorders, and a further one in six had been diagnosed with both. Of the remainder, just under one in five (18.4%) had confirmed hyperkinesis.
In all, 18% of the children had been removed from their original families to foster parents, children's homes, or adoptive families. Some had also been admitted to hospital for prolonged periods. Hyperkinetic children were more than three times as likely to have been removed from their families as all the other children in this sample.
These findings held true, even after taking account of other negative social factors likely to influence the results, and are likely to apply to all hyperactive children seen by general paediatricians as well, say the authors.
Family disruption/break-down might be avoided if hyperactivity were recognised sooner and treated, they suggest. But, an accompanying editorial says that the cut-off between pathology and a child with a difficult temperament is unclear, and as yet there is no public or professional consensus on the use of drugs to stabilise hyperactive children.
The disorder challenges "not only our professional tolerance but also the way paediatric services for all community based childhood disorders are currently structured," writes Dr Mary Mather, a consultant community paediatrician.
Hyperactive children are not a priority, she continues. "Yet their outcomes are poor. Many will fail or be excluded from school. Others will suffer the social consequences of their impulsive behaviours in secure units or prison."
MEDICA.de; Source: British Medical Journal