Bolea, Blanca, Adamou, Marios, Arif, Mohammed, Asherson, Philip, Gudjonsson, Gisli, Müller, Ulrich, Nutt, David J., Pitts, Mark, Thome, Johannes and Young, Susan J. (2012) ADHD matures: time for practitioners to do the same? Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26 (6). pp. 766-770. ISSN 0269-8811

Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not restricted to children. Abundant evidence from follow-up studies accumulated since the 1970s supports the concept of ADHD in adulthood. Genetic research points to a heritability of 76%, and neuroimaging studies have reported structural and functional brain abnormalities in patients with ADHD. Contrary to popular belief, ADHD is not a culturally bound disorder and has been described worldwide. ADHD has a cost for society, as adults with this disorder suffer from increased rates of unemployment and psychiatric comorbidity, including substance use disorders. Studies undertaken in forensic populations describe high rates of ADHD in these groups, particularly amongst young offenders. One of the main issues in the diagnosis of ADHD in the adult is the fact that most clinicians have not been educated to diagnose and treat ADHD. Effective pharmacological treatments for ADHD are available and should be prescribed for these patients. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) guidelines established a benchmark for service development required to treat ADHD adequately in the adult population. However, the implementation of new services has been slow. More resources are needed to effectively assess and treat ADHD in the adult.

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