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DrHelen, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience:  UK Family doctor with special interest in Palliative Medicine
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I have a 12 year old daughter who was recently diagnosed with

ADHD and Aspergers.
I'd like to... Show More
ADHD and Aspergers.
I'd like to know whether her medication will continue into her adult life and what impact her condition will have on her adulthood.

She has never been able to develop friends in school and whilst receiving help from our local authority she was introduced to a youth group for 12-19 year olds, the majority of whom have autism.
I am also worried that whilst she now has a social outlet and has developed one or two good friendships within this group, her attitude/bahaviour has worsened, possibly an impact of mixing with children whose condition is more severe than hers ?
She doesn't have the aggressive part of ADHD but she has self harmed in the past

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I am Dr Helen, a UK doctor.

Whilst I can't give you a very specific answer as to exactly how things will go for your daughter I hope I can help at least a little.


In terms of the ADHD a lot of children do improve with time. Some adults will describe themselves as having "grown out of it" during their teenage years. Others think that it is more that they learnt to cope with it differently as they grew older and so it became less of a problem. For example, people with ADHD can be very imaginative and creative and learn to challenge that energy into hobbies or projects they will actually be better at than non ADHD people.

From a medical viewpoint the jury is out on whether ADHD ever truly "goes away" but it is certainly the case that many children on medication for ADHD are able to come off it over time. There are adults on medication for it but far fewer than there are children.

Girls with ADHD generally don't exhibit the aggressive side of it, the more common symptom for girls is to keep daydreaming and therefore not pay attention.


In terms of your daughter's Asperger's that is a lifelong condition for her which I'm sure you know.

I suspect you will have already read up a lot on Asperger's and know that this comes with degrees of severity. Some people with it are more impaired than others. The main problem that comes with Asperger's is problems feeling and interpreting emotions, both your own and others. This may in part have led her to the self harming. It could be a way in which she is trying to express things.

I hope you are already under the care of a specialist for this. As she grows older she will benefit from ongoing support from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist for her Asperger's as she tries to make sense of thoughts and feelings she cannot process as you or I would.

There are a lot of famous people out there with Asperger' "Famous Women with Aspergers" and you will be amazed by who is on that list, from PhD scientists to the Hollywood actresses so, despite the problems that Aspergers causes, there is good reason to be positive about how adulthood can be.


It is a hard call to say if the youth group is having a negative effect on her behaviour. Any 12 year old girl will push the boundaries more at this stage.....all those hormones are starting to kick in.

As making friends is so difficult for her the benefit from making friends at the youth club probably outweighs any negatives. This is teaching her a vital life skill and could have a massive positive effect on her, both now and for the future. Although she is seeing others who are more badly behaved I wouldn't assume she will copy them. It may have the opposite effect....seeing what they are doing when they behave badly may give her more insight into her own behaviour.


I know there are no easy answers to the problems these complex conditions cause but I hope this helps a little.


Best wishes.


I joined JustAnswer in June 2013 and am a UK doctor. I have been qualified for 23 years and have widespread experience in GP and cancer care.

Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

That's great, I appreciate your thorough response.


Since seeking help for my daughters condition I have researched this extensively and have much greater awareness of her behaviour, what it has also proved is that some of her behavioural traits I can see in her monther (my wife).


For instance, last night I asked our daughter to get ready for bed and after the usual 'do I have to ?' exchange she made a very lightherated comment 'I hate my life' - it was meant in a joke context and I took it as such.

My wife heard this and responded 'I bet you don't hate your life as much as I hate mine'.

I can only assume this is yet another cry for attention, my wife is 47 and her behaviour seems to be getting worse too. She has been on anti-depressants for 25 years, had eating dissorders, self harmed, has serious confidence issues and caused major financial issues with her overspending/shopping addiction - to the point that I am now suffering from mild anxiety and depression and I am not sure if there's a future for us together.

I know I would be happier without my wife and very probably many of the stress issues would disappear for me, but I know this would have a major impact on our daughter.

I find it hard dealing with my daughters behaviour at times and having to cope with a wife with similar condition has kind of beaten me down.

The realisation that the condition never goes away has had a significant effect on me, my outlook and my desire to stay in my relationship.


I'd be extremely grateful for any advice you could offer

Hi again,


You certainly have a lot on your plate here.

It does sound like your daughter may have learnt some aspects of her behaviour from her mother.

It also sounds like your wife has some serious mental health issues of her own.

I see you say she has been on antidepressants for 25 years...has she been on the same one all that time? If so, my first thought is she needs to be on a more modern one such as citalopram or mirtazapine. These are similar to prozac but newer.


Has your wife ever had counselling? I don't mean brief chats with the GP but in depth sessions on a regular basis to try and get to the bottom of her own issues.

It is possible that there is an autism "streak" (for want of a better word) in her but it far less likely to have been picked up on in her childhood compared to now, especially if it was mild.


Clearly this has started to take its toll on you too.

It won't help anyone if you spiral down into depression so perhaps the time has come to lay all your cards on the table with your wife.

I think you need to be straight with her and say what you have said here about why you are not sure you can continue in the relationship as it is now.

If she will accept help in her own right (plus or minus perhaps both of you going to Relate) you may be able to turn things around.

I think what is much harder is if your wife doesn't believe there to be any problem with her own behaviour and will not accept it.


There is no easy answer here but your daughter may fare better if you are happier and less stressed than if you continue to struggle in the marriage and become increasingly depressed yourself.


This is not an easy situation all round but I think your wife receiving more help in her own right (if she will accept it) would help move things forward.


If she refuses this and won't go to Relate (or similar) there is nothing to stop you seeking some advice and counselling in your own right to really help you think things through.

You can either ask your GP about this or try this website:


Just put your postcode in and it tells you all the counsellors in your area and what they specialise in. Then you can contact them directly.


A lot of my male patients don't like the idea of counselling but trust me, it can be worth its weight in gold when you are trying to sort through such major life issues. It really helps you unpick all the different things going through your thoughts and I would really recommend it before you make any life changing decisions as it will help you gain clarity over things.


I hope this helps.

All the best.

Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks again.


My wife certainly doesn't believe she has any real behavoural issues, we went to a marriage guidance counsellor a few years ago but we stopped becasue she believed the counsellor was biased in my favour - I thought nothing of it at the time but on reflection it certainly is consistent with her stubborn ways and refusal to accept any wrongdoing and/or responsibility for her actions.


She has a son from her previous marriage who also has ADHD so there is very definitely a 'streak' through her family, but she is not the type to accept things and work at resolving them, her defence is to attack others.


My wife did suggest we try counselling again and I refused, primarily because if I bring up all the things that irritate me the counsellor will I'm sure focus on my wife's behaviour which in turn would create further stress/atmosphere at home, my wife will believe that everyone is against her and adopt a 'feel sorry for herself' mentality that she has, this usually means days of silence.


The issue here is that becasue she won't recognise her behaviour and the impact it has on others there will be an instant refusal to seek help.

She has received proper counselling for eating dissorders (10 years ago) and openly admits this condition is an issue, in fact she will engage openly about this and describe in detail the impact it has on her life, but i now think that her admission of this could be further attention seeking, given her stock is to usually deny any criticism of her own behaviour.


I completely take your point about my daughters wellbeing if I am in a happier place and have more or less accepted this myself.


I asked a doctor earlier about a mile sedative and he suggests valerian as a short term help for me, dealing with the root cause is a longer process and can be addressed at a later date but to operate day-to-day I now feel like I need some help.

I did visit my GP 18 months ago and he was reluctant to prescribe anything and said that I wasn't showing any real signs of any condition.


I'll take a look at the link you provide.


Thank you once again for your responses, extremely useful


There is quite a history here and it does sound like there is a genetic component to your daughter's condition.


It may be worth seeing your GP again about how you are feeling.

Valerian is quite good, I have no problem with recommending it, but you may have reached a point where a prescribed medication would help you more.

I would try the valerian first perhaps but then go to the GP if you feel it hasn't helped after a week or so. Valerian does work very well for some people and you can buy it in Boots or any chemist.


I wish you all the best.