Adopted teens more vulnerable to psychiatric conditions

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Washington, May 18 (UNI) Adolescents who were adopted as infants stand greater risk of developing psychiatric disorders than their non-adopted peers, says a study.

A psychiatric assesment of a group of children comprising non-adopted, foreign adopted as well as domestic adopted children found that the adoptees, though psychologically healthy and faring well, were doubly at risk for two psychiatric conditions viz., attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder interferes with a person's ability to concentrate, sit still and control impulsive behavior, while people with oppositional defiant disorder are uncooperative and hostile toward authority figures in a way that seriously impairs their day-to-day functioning.

The findings of the University of Minnesota study published in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, showed that only as few as seven per cent of non-adopted children were likely to have these disorders. In contrast, the figure was more than double in case of adopted children.

It was presumed that adoptees born overseas would be at higher risk of psychiatric disorder than their domestic-born counterparts.

Remarkably, the findings revealed that the reverse was true.

''Our hypothesis was that international adoptees might have faced ethnic discrimination as they grew up and might have experienced a longer period of exposure to pre-adoption adversity in their country of origin, which would lead to a higher risk for psychiatric distress,'' said lead author Margaret Keyes.

The study, however, found higher levels of seperation anxiety among international adoptees.


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