Estimated Prevalence of ADHD
ADHD is a complex, often misunderstood and misdiagnosed condition which is estimated to impact around
5 to 7% of children worldwide.
2 to 5% of adults worldwide.
Depending on the diagnostic criteria used.
Causes of ADHD
There is no single physical or neurological test which confirms the presence of ADHD.
However ongoing research into ADHD is providing greater knowledge and understanding of the condition from three distinct perspectives:
A Clinical and Diagnostic Perspective.
A Neurological and Developmental Perspective.
The Perspective of Neurodiversity
Myth 1 | ADHD is a childhood condition which we grow out of in adulthood
Our current understanding is that for many people with ADHD it is a lifelong and lifespan condition.
As our knowledge, awareness and ability to diagnose ADHD increases many adults are receiving a diagnosis of ADHD having never been formally or accurately diagnosed as children.
The strong genetic component of ADHD often means adults are retrospectively diagnosed with ADHD, or recognise and seek help for their own ADHD, when their children or those of close family members receive an ADHD diagnosis.
Myth 2 | ADHD is always characterised by bad behaviour and "physical hyperactivity".
Whilst visible physical hyperactivity, an inability to sit still and associated disruptive behaviour linked to physical restlessness can be an indicator of ADHD it is often wholly absent.
For many the restlessness of ADHD is internalised, characterised by racing thoughts and an inability to switch our minds off, or a more subtle combination of internal and external restlessness, rather than overt manifestations of physical hyperactivity.
Myth 3| ADHD only or predominantly affects boys
Historically ADHD has been diagnosed approximately three times more frequently in boys than in girls contributing to the perception of it being a condition which predominantly, or even overwhelmingly, affects males.
Research is increasingly challenging this as a misconception and recognising that ADHD is potentially missed altogether in girls and women, or attributed to other conditions, with a greater frequency than it is in boys and men.
Theories as to why this is so vary but there is considerable consensus that the prevailing stereotype associating physical hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour as hallmark symptoms of ADHD is even less valid for girls, for whom the inattentive manifestations of ADHD prevail in a greater percentage of cases.