This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Major study finds that ADHD is underdiagnosed in children

Written by: | Published:

Signposts for ADHD include short attention spans, impulsivity and hyperactivity

A new study has found that there may be thousands of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are undiagnosed.

The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, concludes that children with ADHD should be prescribed Ritalin, the best-known brand of methylphenidate, a drug found to be the most effective at controlling the energy levels of those with ADHD.

‘Taking into account both efficacy and safety, evidence from this meta-analysis supports methylphenidate (Ritalin) in children and adolescents, and amphetamines in adults, as preferred first-choice medications for the short-term treatment of ADHD,’ the study concludes.

Signposts for ADHD include short attention spans, impulsivity and hyperactivity, and if undiagnosed it can severely affect the person’s quality of life – impacting their employment opportunities and educational achievement if not diagnosed early enough.

ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in children and is usually diagnosed between 3 and 7 years old – however, some experts say that behavioural therapy is preferable to medication, and those under 5 years old should not be given medication according the Young Minds, the children’s mental health charity.

‘Clinicians are very cautious about using medication in this country,’ said Emily Simonoff, professor in child and adolescent psychiatry at King’s College London.

‘The problem in the UK is predominantly about undermedication and underdiagnosis. The medications go part of the way to normalising and making more active those
areas of the brain.’

Reports from The Guardian have claimed that those with ADHD are waiting up to 2 years for diagnosis – referral to mental health services is swift but meeting with specialists can take several months.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.