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SA's first adult ADHD guidelines

Guidelines outlining the requirements for comprehensive diagnostic assessment (at specialist level) and diagnostic certainty prior to initiating drug treatment for adult ADHD have been published for the first time in the South African Journal of Psychiatry.
With more than 1 million South Africans between the ages of 20 and 50 affected by adult ADHD, these guidelines will greatly assist those suffering from the illness to receive the necessary treatment and offering patients bargaining power when confronting medical aids on the issue of chronic medication.


Compiled by psychiatrists drs Renata Schoeman and Rykie Liebenberg of the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) Special Interest Group (SIG) for adult ADHD, the guidelines include assessment procedures, drug treatment options and the treatment plan for long-term health.

They have been peer reviewed and scrutinised by fellow psychiatrists, and has been ratified and approved by the SASOP adult ADHD SIG, as well as the boards of the South African Society for Psychiatrists and the Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG).

Schoeman says despite the known efficacy of treatment and the substantial costs of untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), access to healthcare and treatment is not a given for many patients in South Africa.

“Comprehensive assessment is not possible during the average 15-minute general practitioner consultation, and it is therefore strongly advised that the diagnosis of adult ADHD and treatment initiation should be made by a psychiatrist well versed in the complexities of ADHD and the comorbidity thereof.

If left untreated or misdiagnosed, Schoeman says the consequences of adult ADHD can be detrimental to the long-term health and quality of life of those affected.