Many Adults With Psychiatric Disorders May Also Have Undiagnosed ADHD

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

Undiagnosed ADHD

Shire plc announced today that many adults with a depressive disorder, Bipolar Disorder (BPD), or an anxiety disorder may also have undiagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a longitudinal retrospective medical claims analysis presented today at a major medical meeting of child and adolescent psychiatrists.

Advertisement

According to an analysis of medical claims derived from a large managed care database in the United States, approximately 2.5 percent of adults initially diagnosed with a depressive disorder, BPD or an anxiety disorder were also diagnosed with ADHD within the 12-month analysis period spanning January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005. However, recent findings from the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) showed that among adult patients surveyed ADHD existed comorbidly in 32.0 percent of those with a depressive disorder, 21.2 percent of those with BPD, and 9.5 percent of those with an anxiety disorder. When compared with these high overall levels of psychiatric comorbidity detected in the NCS, the low comorbid diagnosis rates of the medical claims analysis suggest that many adult patients with psychiatric disorders such as a depressive disorder, BPD or an anxiety disorder may also have undiagnosed ADHD.

"The large discrepancy between the known rates of ADHD comorbidity and the number of patients actually being diagnosed with comorbid ADHD clearly demonstrates that there is still a strong need for increased awareness of adult ADHD, and that physicians treating the adult population may benefit from additional training in evaluating and diagnosing this disorder," said Lenard A. Adler, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Adult ADHD Program in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and author of Scattered Minds: Hope and Help for Adults with ADHD (Putnam).

There are potentially serious consequences of ADHD in adults, including lower educational and occupational achievement, challenges with relationships, anti-social thoughts and poor self-esteem. "The NCS data show us that a fairly high proportion of adults with depressive, bipolar, or anxiety disorders may also suffer from ADHD, and evaluating adult patients for the symptoms of this disorder must become standard practice in the healthcare community," says Dr. Adler.

Advertisement