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, 9 (1), 47-65

The Descriptive Epidemiology of DSM-IV Adult ADHD in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys

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The Descriptive Epidemiology of DSM-IV Adult ADHD in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys

John Fayyad et al. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord.

Abstract

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.

Keywords: ADHD; Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Comorbidity; Disability epidemiology; Impairment; Prevalence; Treatment.

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Kessler received support for his epidemiological studies from Sanofi Aventis, was a consultant for Johnson & Johnson Wellness and Prevention, and served on an advisory board for the Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. Lake Nona Life Project. Kessler is a co-owner of DataStat, Inc., a market research firm that carries out healthcare research. The other authors report no conflicts of interest.

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