Research conducted between 2000 and 2018 has shown rates of ADHD diagnoses in adults have significantly increased.
Data analysing people aged three to 99 by age, gender and social deprivation showed boys and men were most likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis. Though boys had the highest rates of diagnosis, men aged 18 to 29 saw rates of diagnosis increase twenty-fold, and prescribed medication increase fifty-fold.
The study found ADHD diagnoses are most common in areas of socioeconomic deprivation, with children almost twice as likely to receive a diagnosis in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived. Though the relationship between the two is complex, the study offers potential explanations, including reports of symptoms being more common in those areas, or that ADHD may lead to lost income and social exclusion.
Lead author Dr McKechnie said: ‘Many people are accessing private care for ADHD. This may create healthcare inequalities given that ADHD is more common in deprived areas. If people in deprived areas are struggling to get diagnosed with ADHD, our results may actually underestimate how many people there have it.’
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