NICE Quality Standard QS39: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

This quality standard covers the diagnosis and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children aged 3 years and older, young people and adults.

ADHD is a behavioural syndrome characterised by the core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Although these symptoms tend to cluster together, some people are predominantly hyperactive and impulsive, whereas others are primarily inattentive.

Symptoms of ADHD can overlap with symptoms of other related disorders. Common coexisting conditions in children with ADHD include anxiety disorders and disorders of mood, conduct, learning, motor control and social communication; in adults they include personality disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder and substance misuse.

List of quality statements

  • Statement 1. Children and young people with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are referred to an ADHD specialist for assessment.
  • Statement 2. Adults who present with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who do not have a childhood diagnosis of ADHD, are referred to an ADHD specialist for assessment.
  • Statement 3. Adults who were diagnosed with and treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children or young people and present with symptoms of continuing ADHD are referred to general adult psychiatric services.
  • Statement 4. Parents or carers of children with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who meet the NICE eligibility criteria are offered a referral to a parent training programme.
  • Statement 5. Children and young people with moderate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are offered a referral to a psychological group treatment programme.
  • Statement 6. People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are starting drug treatment have their initial drug dose adjusted and response assessed by an ADHD specialist.
  • Statement 7. People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are taking drug treatment have a specialist review at least annually to assess their need for continued treatment.

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References

[1] Migraine Trust (2013) Key facts and figures about migraine.