ADHD is associated with increased absenteeism in children. Absenteeism varies with the type and intensity of emotional problems experienced by children with ADHD. Many children with ADHD are scapegoats for any incident in the class or at home which compounds their emotional problems. A thorough evaluation often reveals these children have emotional disorders like depression and anxiety. Depression occurs in 12-50% of children with ADHD, and anxiety disorder in upto 33% of these children. ADHD, depression and anxiety lead to poor academic performance. Poor academic performance is a common reason why children are referred to us by the school counselor or parents.
Poor academic performance in ADHD is now shown to be associated with increased primary care doctor visits and emergency room vists as compared to typical children. Children with ADHD are prone to injuries through their inattention and impulsivity. Associated emotional problems delay help seeking. Injuries and neglect result in increased doctor and emergency care visits. These visits contribute to increased school absenteeism. This combination of ADHD, emotional problems and absenteeism is associated with poor academic performance.
Treatment for ADHD in children can improve academic performance when it addresses the associated emotional problems, and not just the behaviours.
Classi P, Milton D, Ward S, Sarsour K, Johnston J. Social and emotional difficulties in children with ADHD and the impact on school attendance and healthcare utilization. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2012, 6:33 (4 October 2012)