A study of the diagnosis and management of symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adults, with and without a learning disability

Buckley, S., Dodd, P., Burke, A., Guerin, S., McEvoy, J., & Hillery, J

Keywords: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder • learning disability

Reported: Psychiatric Bulletin, 30, 2006, p251 - 253

(30 Jul 2009)

Anecdotal evidence suggests that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is underdiagnosed in adults and people of all ages with learning disability. This study examines the clinical practice of Irish consultant psychiatrists when assessing and treating symptoms of ADHD in children and adults with and without a learning disability. A postal questionnaire was sent to 302 consultant psychiatrists working in Ireland.
Ninety-seven consultants (32%) responded, 62 working in general adult psychiatry, 23 in child and adolescent psychiatry and 12 in learning disability. Overall, respondents were more confident about making a diagnosis of ADHD in people without a learning disability. Those working with children were significantly more confident in diagnosing and treating ADHD than those working with adults, irrespective of whether the patient had a learning disability.

There is general agreement that symptoms of ADHD exist in children and adults both with and without a learning disability. It is likely that ADHD may be under-treated in patients with learning disability, especially in the adult population.

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