ADHD in adult psychiatry. Minimum rates and clinical presentation in general psychiatry outpatients.

Lena Nylander, Maria Holmqvist, Lars Gustafson, Christopher Gillberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and comorbidity of persisting attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adult psychiatric outpatients. Consecutive patients, first visits excluded, at a general psychiatric outpatient clinic were offered a screening for childhood ADHD with the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS). One hundred and forty-one patients out of 398 (35%) completed and returned the scale. Patients above or near cut-off for ADHD (n=57) were offered an extensive clinical evaluation with psychiatric as well as neuropsychological examination. The attrition was analysed regarding age, sex and clinical diagnoses. Out of the screened sample, 40% had scores indicating possible childhood ADHD. These 57 patients were invited to the clinical part of the study, but 10 declined assessment, leaving 47 (37 women and 10 men) who were actually examined. Thirty of these (21 women and nine men) met diagnostic criteria for ADHD at the time of examination. Among the patients with ADHD, affective disorders were the most common psychiatric diagnoses. The rate of alcohol and/or substance abuse, as noted in the medical records, was also high in the ADHD group. In the WURS-screened group, 22% (30 patients assessed as part of this study and one person with ADHD previously clinically diagnosed) were shown to have persisting ADHD. Therefore, it is clearly relevant for psychiatrists working in general adult psychiatry to have ADHD in mind as a diagnostic option, either as the patient's main problem or as a functional impairment predisposing for other psychiatric disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberNov 8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Faculty of Medicine (000022000), Department of Psychogeriatrics (013304000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry


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