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3 Mar 2015

Pitts M et al. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015; 29: 56-63.

Findings from UK subset data of the Lifetime Impairment Survey* highlight the continued impact that ADHD has on patients’ personal and professional lives in adulthood and the need for improved service provision.

Please note that this study was sponsored by Shire.

The Lifetime Impairment Survey evaluated experiences, diagnosis and treatment of adults with ADHD (n=89; mean age 32.1 years) compared with adults without ADHD (n=94; mean age 45.6 years). The study found that compared with adults without ADHD, adults with ADHD reported greater impairments across nearly all impairment and well-being scales; the areas associated with significantly greater difficulties in patients with ADHD included social functioning, partner relationships, personal finances, mood/temper control, self-organisation and planning, and rule-breaking behaviour (all p<0.001). However, inclination to spend time with family or friends did not differ between groups.

In terms of service provision, almost half of patients (44.9%) were ≥18 years old when diagnosed with ADHD and the majority recalled having to wait more than one year and seeing three or more doctors before a diagnosis of ADHD was made. Only 25.8% of patients were taking medication, either alone (11.2%) or in combination with behavioural interventions (14.6%); and 37.1% received only behavioural interventions. Approximately one-fifth of patients were dissatisfied with their medication. Improved efficacy (82.5%), greater coverage across the day (82.5%), swifter onset of action (75.0%), fewer side effects (74.4%), lower frequency of dosing (70.0%) and smoother delivery profile (64.1%) were reported as desired improvements to medication by these few patients.

The Lifetime Impairment Survey was opinion-based, and not a validated questionnaire. Furthermore, the adults without ADHD were older than adults with ADHD, which significantly influenced a number of impairment scales. The findings of this study must therefore be considered in the context of these limitations. However, the study did successfully highlight the continued impact that ADHD has on adult patients throughout their daily lives. Futhermore, the need for improved training and education among healthcare professionals on ADHD in adulthood to improve service provision was emphasised.

Read more about the impact of ADHD on the lives of adults with the disorder


*The Lifetime Impairment Survey (Sponsored by Shire) assessed impairment of ADHD in children and adolescents (parent-reported) and adults (self-reported: recalled from childhood and adolescence; and current) across six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK

Pitts M, Mangle L, Asherson P. Impairments, diagnosis and treatments associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in UK adults: results from the lifetime impairment survey. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015; 29: 56-63.

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