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What is the purpose of guidelines for ADHD?

Evidence-based or consensus-driven guidelines for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), have become an important framework for consolidating practice within countries and helping to improve the quality of care.1-4

A number of clinical guidelines for the management of ADHD have been developed and are intended to improve the process and outcomes of healthcare by:

  • Providing evidence-based recommendations for the management of ADHD to help guide appropriate and rational choice of treatment.1-4
  • Assisting individuals with ADHD and their families or carers in making informed decisions about treatment options for ADHD.1
  • Improving communication between clinicians, individuals with ADHD and their families.1
  • Improving the quality of care in clinical practice.1

There are multiple guidelines available to guide clinicians working in the field of ADHD in children, adolescents and adults, and different guidelines may also have different recommendations about specific treatment approaches.1-4 These guidelines have been continually updated as new evidence becomes available and new therapeutics are developed, including the1-4:

Please note that this is a selection of guidelines and not an exhaustive list.

Other guidelines for ADHD are also available, including a European consensus statement for the diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD and an expert consensus statement for the identification and treatment of ADHD in girls and women.5,6

What do the updated guidelines recommend?


Utilising the guidelines to optimise the treatment of ADHD


How could the guideline bodies improve utilisation of the guidelines?


  1. Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance (CADDRA). Canadian ADHD Practice Guidelines. Edition 4.1. Toronto, ON: CADDRA, 2020.
  2. Banaschewski T, Hohmann S, Millenet S. Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-/Hyperaktivitätsstörung (ADHS) im Kindes-, Jugend- und Erwachsenenalter. DGKJP, DGPPN and DGSPJ German guidelines. 2018.
  3. NICE guideline 2018. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87. Accessed January 2021.
  4. Guías de Práctica Clínica en el SNS. Grupo de trabajo de la Guía de Práctica Clínica sobre las Intervenciones Terapéuticas en el Trastorno por Déficit de Atención con Hiperactividad (TDAH). 2017.
  5. Kooij JJS, Bijlenga D, Salerno L, et al. Updated European Consensus Statement on diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD. Eur Psychiatry 2019; 56: 14-34.
  6. Young S, Adamo N, Ásgeirsdóttir BB, et al. Females with ADHD: an expert consensus statement taking a lifespan approach providing guidance for the identification and treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in girls and women. BMC Psychiatry 2020; 20: 404.
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