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Survey examining the views of Adult Psychiatry Consultants and Senior Registrars regarding ADHD

  • M. Beirne (a1), N. McNamara (a2), G. O'Keeffe (a3) and F. McNicholas (a4)



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) persists into adulthood in ∼2/3 of patients, yet services for adults are lacking in Ireland. This may involve negative attitudes and beliefs as to the validity of ADHD or lack of knowledge and training in its treatment. The objectives of this study are to explore the views of Adult Psychiatrists regarding ADHD knowledge and the treatment options available and pursued in Ireland.


A questionnaire was constructed based on the stated aims of the study, and was either posted, emailed or handed to 400 Consultants and Senior Registrars throughout the Republic of Ireland between February and December 2011. A total of 92 questionnaires were returned (23%); one was excluded from analysis due to insufficient information entered by the respondent.


Seventy-five per cent of respondents correctly estimated the prevalence rates of adult ADHD to be under 3%, but stated it is currently under-diagnosed (77%). Seventy-four per cent indicated that Adult ADHD should be a diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM V). Sixty-six per cent of respondents were willing to accept referrals of childhood ADHD for ongoing care and a similar number for new ADHD assessments (61%). Less than half (42%) surveyed had actually diagnosed ADHD and of these, only 33% felt confident in managing ADHD in their patients.


Although there is a general willingness to offer services for new and existing ADHD cases and a recognition that Adult ADHD is valid and under-diagnosed, the low confidence levels when treating ADHD and the perception of under-diagnosis suggests a role for further training and links between child and adult services.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: M. Beirne, Senior Registrar, Willow Grove Adolescent Inpatient Unit, St. Patrick's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. (Email


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