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Psych Congress  

Symptom Burden Among Self-Reported ADHD Adults in the United States

Lenard Adler, MD; Stephen Faraone, PhD; Phillip Sarocco, RPh, MSc; Norman Atkins, PhD, MBA; Alexandra Khachatryan, MPH
Shire LLC

This poster was presented at the 30th annual  Psych Congress, held Sept. 16-19, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Introduction: Evaluating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom burden is important, given challenges in diagnosing and managing this condition. This study estimated ADHD symptom burden among US adults.

Methods: US adults who participated in the National Health and Wellness Survey were re-contacted to complete a survey (demographics, health behaviors, psychiatric comorbidities, and the 18-item Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1). Respondents screened positive by endorsing ≥4 of 6 screening items. Group differences were evaluated using chi-square tests and independent samples t-tests.

Results: Overall, 22,397 adults completed the survey; 465 (2.1%) self-reported an ADHD/attention deficit disorder diagnosis, and 174 (37.4%) self-reported currently taking ADHD medication. Respondents reporting ADHD (vs. no ADHD) more often reported depression (58.1% vs.18.0%; p<.001), anxiety (53.1% vs. 16.0%; p<.001) and sleep difficulties (37.0% vs. 14.0%; p<.001) diagnoses. Those who reported using ADHD medication (vs. no medication) more frequently reported depression (68.4% vs. 51.9%; p<.001), anxiety (67.2% vs. 44.7%; p<.001), panic disorder (25.9% vs. 17.2%; p=.025), and insomnia (27.6% vs. 19.6%; p=.046) diagnoses. In total, 36.6% (n=170) of ADHD respondents and 44.3% (n=77) of those using ADHD medication screened positive on the ASRS-v1.1. ADHD (vs. no ADHD) respondents scored higher on all 18 items of the ASRS-v1.1 (mean differences .75-1.18; ps<.05), whereas those using ADHD medication (vs. no medication) scored higher on six items (mean differences .91-1.20; ps<.05).

Discussion: Findings suggest a high symptom burden in adults who self-reported an ADHD diagnosis. Results highlight the importance of screening for symptoms to aid proper diagnosis and optimal ADHD management.

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