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Tracking ADHD into adulthood

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NEW YORK -

Maria Scazzero says a binder is key to running her life.

"I do what you call mind dump 'cause you're dumping everything out," she said.

Every week she categorizes what she needs to do, assigning herself no more than three tasks a day.

"Otherwise I can't function. I'm stressed out. I don't know what I'm doing," she said.

It's her way of managing her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She was diagnosed at 12 and at 27 she still has it. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds she's not alone; many children have to cope with ADHD for a lifetime.

"It found that a third continued to have ADHD in adulthood. So for a significant proportion it persists," said Dr. Mary Solanto of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The new study also found 57 percent of children with ADHD had at least one other psychiatric disorder as adults, including substance abuse, anxiety and depression.

People with ADHD have difficulty organizing and meeting deadlines and can struggle academically.

"Those things will take a toll on a child's self-esteem and motivation," Solanto said. "These are the things that can carry on into adulthood."

Scazzero knows that all too well.

"I struggled for so long to try to fit into this cookie cutter, this round shape that I wanted to fit into, but I'm like an octagon. I'm OK with that now, but for a long time I wasn't," she said.

With the help of medication and therapy she's been able to manage her time and keep her life organized.

The study also showed that children with ADHD were also more likely to commit suicide and be incarcerated as adults, although the numbers were small.

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