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Review: prevalence of adult ADHD declines with age

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What is the prevalence of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and which factors have an effect?


Prevalence of ADHD in adults (DSM-IV criteria).



Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources:

MEDLINE, PsycLit and EMBASE were searched (search dates not given) for population based studies. Reference lists of identified studies were hand searched.

Study selection and analysis:

English language studies were appraised and population based studies providing prevalence data for adult ADHD (DSM-IV criteria) were selected. Studies researching prevalence of ADHD in special groups (eg, people with bipolar or panic disorder) were excluded, as were family studies, follow-up studies and studies not using DSM-IV criteria to diagnose adult ADHD. A mixed effect meta-regression was applied to estimate the prevalence of ADHD and to assess the impact of demographic variables on the estimates of prevalence.

Main results

Six studies met inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. Prevalence of adult ADHD …

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  • Source of funding Not stated.


  • Competing interests PA has received funds for consultancy, sponsored talks and running educational programmes from Janssen-Cilag, Shire, Flynn Pharma and Eli-Lilly.

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