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An estimated 3.4% of adults have adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Dr John Fayyad

Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, St George Hospital University Medical Centre, PO Box 166378, Beirut-Achrafieh 1100-2807, Lebanon;



How common is adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?


11 422 adults (18–44 years old) from households randomly selected in multistage household sampling, and interviewed as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative.


Ten countries in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands), the Americas (USA, Mexico, Colombia), and the Middle East (Lebanon); interviews conducted 2001–3.


Face-to-face interviews were conducted in two parts. The first part assessed participants for core diagnoses. All people meeting diagnostic criteria plus a random sample of other participants were given part II of the interview, which assessed other diagnoses of interest, including adult ADHD. The interview assessed childhood ADHD based on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-IV (DIS); people retrospectively meeting criteria for childhood ADHD were asked whether they still experienced ADHD symptoms. In the USA, a random sample of 154 people answering “yes” to this question were reassessed by clinical psychologists using the Adult ADHD Clinical Diagnostic Scale, version 1.2. …

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  • Source of funding: US National Institute of Mental Health, the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, the US Public Health Service, the Fogarty International Center, the Pan American Health Organization, Eli Lilly and Co, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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  • Competing interests: JT has been sponsored to attend scientific meetings related to adult ADHD by pharmaceutical companies manufacturing ADHD medication. He is also involved in the planning and conducting of industry-sponsored drug trials in adult ADHD. These companies include Janssen-Cilag and Eli Lilly.