John Fayyad, Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC)
Nancy A. Sampson, Harvard Medical School
Irving Hwang, Harvard Medical School
Tomasz Adamowski, Medical University of Wroclaw
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, University of California, Davis
Ali Al-Hamzawi, Al-Qadisiya University
Laura H. S. G. Andrade, University of São Paulo Medical School
Guilherme Borges, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramon de la Fuente Muñiz
Giovanni de Girolamo, IRCCS St John of God Clinical Research Centre/IRCCS Centro S. Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli
Silvia Florescu, National School of Public Health, Management and Professional Development, Bucharest, Romania
Oye Gureje, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
Josep Maria Haro, Universitat de Barcelona
Chiyi Hu, Shenzhen Institute of Mental Health
Elie G. Karam, Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC)
Sing Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Fernando Navarro-Mateu, IMIB-Arrixaca, CIBERESP-Murcia, Subdirección General de Salud Mental y Asistencia Psiquiátrica, Servicio Murciano de Salud
Siobhan O'Neill, University of Ulster
Beth-Ellen Pennell, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Marina Piazza, National Institute of Health, Lima, Peru
José Posada-Villa, El Bosque University
Margreet ten Have, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction
Yolanda Torres, CES University, Medellin, Colombia
Miguel Xavier, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Alan M. Zaslavsky, Harvard Medical School
Ronald C. Kessler, Harvard Medical School

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We previously reported on the cross-national epidemiology of ADHD from the first 10 countries in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys. The current report expands those previous findings to the 20 nationally or regionally representative WMH surveys that have now collected data on adult ADHD. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was administered to 26,744 respondents in these surveys in high-, upper-middle-, and low-/lower-middle-income countries (68.5% mean response rate). Current DSM-IV/CIDI adult ADHD prevalence averaged 2.8% across surveys and was higher in high (3.6%)- and upper-middle (3.0%)- than low-/lower-middle (1.4%)-income countries. Conditional prevalence of current ADHD averaged 57.0% among childhood cases and 41.1% among childhood subthreshold cases. Adult ADHD was significantly related to being male, previously married, and low education. Adult ADHD was highly comorbid with DSM-IV/CIDI anxiety, mood, behavior, and substance disorders and significantly associated with role impairments (days out of role, impaired cognition, and social interactions) when controlling for comorbidities. Treatment seeking was low in all countries and targeted largely to comorbid conditions rather than to ADHD. These results show that adult ADHD is prevalent, seriously impairing, and highly comorbid but vastly under-recognized and undertreated across countries and cultures.

Source Citation

Fayyad J, Sampson NA, et al. The descriptive epidemiology of DSM-IV Adult ADHD in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders. 2016;9(1):47-65. doi:10.1007/s12402-016-0208-3