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Draft NICE guidance identifies people at higher risk of ADHD

New draft guidance should ‘help doctors to accurately diagnose’ ADHD ‘in people who are usually overlooked’, NICE has said.

The guideline published today has highlighted a list of situations in which GPs should consider ADHD in patients due to higher risk.

It includes patients with:

  • co-existing conditions, such as those with epilepsy, a mental health condition, mood disorder or learning disability;
  • a close family member with ADHD;
  • a history of drug abuse; and/or
  • a brain injury.

The guidance also said that ADHD is thought to be missed in girls and women because they do not tend to have symptoms that imply hyperactivity.

NICE guidelines director Professor Mark Baker said people ‘can have symptoms or problems that are not classically associated with ADHD’ but that the draft guideline would ‘raise awareness’ of people who are more likely to be ‘wrongly diagnosed with ADHD, those with ADHD who are wrongly diagnosed with another condition and those whose ADHD is missed altogether’.

He added: ‘Not having an accurate diagnosis can have a negative effect on people and their families. It means they cannot access the best treatment and support.’

NICE stressed the importance of involving families, schools or colleges, and other healthcare professionals to help with treatment and adjustments and recommended group training programmes for the parents or carer of children under five diagnosed with the condition.

For a person with ADHD receiving treatment, the draft guideline recommends regular follow-up and review regardless of whether or not they are receiving drug treatment.

It comes as a study last year suggested GPs should check patients being treated for depression for ADHD symptoms.


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