International variation in treatment procedures for ADHD: Social context and recent trends

Stephen P. Hinshaw, Richard M. Scheffler, Brent D. Fulton, Heidi Aase, Tobias Banaschewski, Wenhong Cheng, Paulo Mattos, Arne Holte, Florence Levy, Avi Sadeh, Joseph A. Sergeant, Eric Taylor, Margaret D. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Scientific and clinical interest in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing worldwide. This article presents data from a cross-national workshop and survey related to questions of variability in diagnostic and, particularly, treatment procedures. Methods: Representatives of nine nations (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom), plus the United States, who attended a 2010 workshop on ADHD, responded to a survey that addressed diagnostic procedures for ADHD; treated prevalence of medication approaches, as well as psychosocial interventions; types of medications and psychosocial treatments in use; payment systems; beliefs and values of the education system; trends related to adult ADHD; and cultural and historical attitudes and influences related to treatment. Results: Use of both medication and psychosocial treatment for ADHD varies widely within and across nations. More expensive long-acting formulations of medications are becoming more widespread. Nations with socialized medical care provide a wide array of evidence-based interventions. Economic, historical, and political forces and cultural values are related to predominant attitudes and practices. Strong antipsychiatry and antimedication voices remain influential in many nations. Conclusions: There is considerable variation in implementation of care for ADHD. Recognition of the social context of ADHD is an important step in ensuring access to evidence-based interventions for this prevalent, chronic, and impairing condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


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