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October 17th 2003

ADHD Report

Below is a copy of recent press release which was made on 30th October 2003 to launch a new report about ADD/ADHD in the UK -
"Paying Enough Attention?":

Experts Name ADHD as a Top Concern for Children - New report calls for more support for families and frontline care staff -

Experts say that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has as great an impact on a child's development as other serious mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, dyslexia or Tourette's Syndrome, according to a new survey launched today. Yet over half of those surveyed believe that the disorder is currently under diagnosed in the UK and there are barriers to treatment, such as lack of knowledge, resources and time (amongst parents, teachers and healthcare professionals).1

The survey has been conducted as part of an enquiry into ADHD in the UK, supported by The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS). The resulting report, Paying Enough Attention?, launched on the first day of the National Association for Special Educational Needs annual conference, highlights the seriousness and consequences of the chronic disorder, and calls for improvements in the care of this vulnerable group.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists and paediatricians who were surveyed highlighted the impact of undiagnosed and untreated ADHD, with over 90% stating that these children would be:

1. More likely to drop out of school earlier (98%)
2. Less able to have good relationships with parents and siblings (95%)
3. Less able to make friends (93%)
4. Less likely to do well academically (99%)
5. More likely to get involved in criminal behaviour (93%), and
6. Have difficulty finding and keeping a job (95%)1

Andrea Bilbow, Founder and Director of ADDISS and author of the foreword states, "ADHD is a real condition, which if not diagnosed and treated can impact a child's whole life - from achieving their potential at school, to their relationships, self-esteem and their ability to function in social and family settings. Despite growing understanding of the condition amongst experts, many other professionals and carers still remain unaware of the condition and the treatments that are available to help manage it. This means that many people do not have access to the support which they need to cope with a condition that can affect all aspects of their lives."

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder characterised by hyperactive behaviours, impulsive behaviours and attention problems not in keeping with the child's age and intellectual ability.2 Two out of three children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adulthood, making early diagnosis and treatment even more important.3

Sharon O'Dell, mother of 12-year-old Yasmin who has ADHD says, "Bringing up a child with ADHD can be very rewarding, but can also have many challenges. Raising a child with ADHD is also made more difficult as there is so little help and information available from the health and education authorities. I knew Yasmin was different from very early on, but she wasn't diagnosed until she was in infant's school. However once Yasmin was diagnosed I felt relief, because at last I would get some help for my daughter."

According to medical guidelines, ADHD affects five per cent of school age children4 (500,000 children).5 The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that the one per cent of school-aged children who have severe ADHD should receive treatment4 (which equals approximately 100,000 children), however research shows that currently only 70,000 are currently receiving medication for their ADHD.6 Experts surveyed as part of the Paying Enough Attention? report cited limited resources, lack of knowledge and also concerns about current treatment options as the reasons why many children with ADHD are being left without access to the treatment that they need.1

The enquiry reports that adequate access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is a particular concern for people with ADHD as the levels of service provision vary widely across the UK.7 In addition, specialist healthcare professionals are over-stretched, with some patients facing an unacceptable five year wait from first approaching their GP to reaching diagnosis.8

Dr Val Harpin, Consultant Paediatrician from Sheffield Children's Trust, says, "Experts agree that the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of behavioural and pharmacological therapy together, however there appear to be many barriers to this 'best practice'. The findings of the report firmly emphasise the need for better treatment practices and an accurate diagnosis at the earliest stage possible, and this demands a co-ordinated approach from health, social and education services. At the moment, too many children are 'slipping through the net' and as a consequence, they are simply learning to fail."

The Paying Enough Attention? report issues a call to action to improve care for those living with ADHD. Andrea Bilbow from ADDISS, concludes, "There are significant limitations in the current care for children with ADHD, parents need more support, teachers need more education and resources and healthcare professionals also urgently need resources. I hope that the launch of this report will generate new understanding of ADHD and help children with ADHD and their parents get the support and care that they need."

The Paying Enough Attention? report is supported by The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS).

- Ends -

Notes to editors

For an electronic copy of the Paying Enough Attention? report, Click Here or visit ADDISS
To obtain a hard copy of the Paying Enough Attention? report, or for more information, call Angela Conoley on 020 7331 5320
For more information on ADDISS, call 020 8906 9068 or go to ADDISS
The Paying Enough Attention? report is supported by an educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company Limited


1. Synergy Healthcare Research: 'ADHD in the UK Today'. Survey of 50 child and adolescent psychiatrists and 75 paediatricians, July 2003 2. Green C and Chee K. Understanding ADHD - A Parent's Guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children. Vermillion Publishing 1997. ISBN 0 009 181700 5 3. Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children, Adolescents and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 36:10 85S-119S 4. National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Technology Appraisal Guidance - No. 13. Guidance on the Use of Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Equasym) for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in childhood. October 2000 5. Population projections by the Government Actuary, United Kingdom, 2003 6. IMS 2003 7. Audit Commission, 'Children in Mind' child and adolescent mental health services, 1999 8. Klasen H, Goodman R., Parents and GPs at cross-purposes over hyperactivity: a qualitative study of possible barriers to treatment. British Journal of General Practice 50(452):199-202, 2000



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