ADHD in U.S. and Europe

August 9, 2012

90% of the prescription market for ADHD medications is in the U.S. So what’s up with the rest of the world? I thought this disorder was international in scope and recognized by the World Health Organization?

Well, it is. Unfortunately, countries in Europe have been slow to adopt the U.S. perspective on ADHD. This is a function of different diagnostic criteria. The DSM-IV recognizes ADHD inattentive subtype (no appreciable hyperactive or impulsive symptoms) but the ICD-10 ( the European diagnostic manual) does not. In other words, in Europe, you must have inattentive AND hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Therefore, fewer children fulfill diagnostic criteria. And certainly adults are very unlikely to meet the criteria for diagnosis. So is ADHD less likely in Europe? No, if you understand the diagnostic criteria difference between the U.S. and Europe.

There are now growing pockets of exemplary research being conducted and published from European countries. Sad to say that my international patients still have difficulty finding expert ADHD doctors in their countries to continue treatment started with me. In addition, the number of ADHD medications approved in Europe is less than the U.S. The medications available vary from country to country because of their respective approval process.

I will follow this blog with advise and instructions to my international colleagues and people seeking treatment about finding an ADHD expert in your country, if not area.

Thank you for your interest. Hope this is informative.

David W. Goodman, M.D.

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