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, 22 (3), 203-228

Adult ADHD and Comorbid Somatic Disease: A Systematic Literature Review


Adult ADHD and Comorbid Somatic Disease: A Systematic Literature Review

Johanne Telnes Instanes et al. J Atten Disord.


Objective: To systematically review, synthesize, and appraise available evidence, connecting adult ADHD with somatic disease.

Method: Embase, Psychinfo, and Medline databases were searched for studies published from 1994 to 2015 addressing adult ADHD and somatic comorbidity. Somatic conditions were classified according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes. Levels of evidence were graded as inconclusive, tentative, or well documented.

Results: Most of the 126 studies included in the qualitative synthesis were small and of modest quality. Obesity, sleep disorders, and asthma were well-documented comorbidities in adult ADHD. Tentative evidence was found for an association between adult ADHD and migraine and celiac disease. In a large health registry study, cardiovascular disease was not associated with adult ADHD.

Conclusion: There are few large systematic studies using standardized diagnostic criteria evaluating adult ADHD and somatic comorbidities. Significant associations are found between adult ADHD and several somatic diseases, and these are important to consider when assessing and treating either adult ADHD or the somatic diseases.

Keywords: adult ADHD; asthma; migraine; review; sleep disorders.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Flow diagram (from PRISME). Source. Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, and Altman (2009).

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