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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 56 (2014) 1, 10 - 19

New research

Prevalence, persistency and consequences of ADHD in the Dutch adult population

M. Tuithof, M. ten Have, S. van Dorsselaer, R. de Graaf

background Little is known about the prevalence and the consequences of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd) among adults in the general Dutch population.
aim To ascertain the prevalence of adhd in childhood and adulthood, to investigate characteristics associated with the prevalence and persistency of adhd and to draw a number of comparisons: to compare the functioning of adults with adhd with that of people with a different mental disorder and to compare the extent to which these groups make use of treatment facilities.
method Data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (nemesis-2), in which the occurrence of adhd was determined in a representative sample of the Dutch population (n = 3,309; aged 18-44).
results 2.9% of the respondents had had adhd in childhood, 70.0% of them still had the disorder in adulthood. An anxiety disorder before the age of 16 increased the risk of adhd persistency, whereas an impulse-control disorder decreased this risk. adhd in adulthood was associated with lower socio-economic status, mental disorders, poor functioning and increased use of treatment facilities. adhd adults and adults with an anxiety or substance use disorder showed very similar functional limitations and used treatment facilities to approximately the same extent.
conclusion More than two-thirds of the adults who had had childhood adhd still had the disorder in adulthood. The consequences of this in terms of functioning and use of treatment facilities are substantial.

keywords ADHD, consequences, general population study, persistency, prevalence