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Saudi ADHD
Clinical Practice Guidelines

About ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of hyperactivity-impulsivity and/or inattention. ADHD is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous syndrome with multiple possible aetiologies and frequent neuropsychiatric comorbidities.

ADHD is more commonly reported among boys than girls, partly because of an actual gender difference – boys exhibit more disruptive and aggressive behaviour than girls – but also because of the resulting referral bias. The three main presentations of ADHD (predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined) can change over time. While many gender differences decrease by adulthood, functional deficits and in particular executive function deficits are significant challenges, and the gender difference of neuropsychiatric comorbidities persists.

The worldwide prevalence of ADHD is estimated to be around 5-7% of children and adults. While numerous regional studies have been conducted into the prevalence of ADHD in Saudi Arabia, no nationally representative study has been conducted to-date. However, based upon these available data, given that ADHD occurs indiscriminately between diverse populations worldwide, and that when external factors are controlled for the prevalence of ADHD varies very little among different communities, the local prevalence is expected to fall within the worldwide range. ADHD is highly heritable, and while correlations have been found with a variety of prenatal environmental risk factors, as well as premature birth, none of them have a definite causal relationship with ADHD. There is, however, an element of gene-environment interaction (accounting for 10-40% of variance between cases).

ADHD is one of the most well-researched disorders, and our understanding of its epidemiology, pathogenesis, and management is constantly advancing, as evinced by the plethora of studies about ADHD published internationally, including in Saudi Arabia and the Arab World. It is recognized to have a significant burden if under-recognized and untreated.

About Clinical Practice Guidelines

Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) summarize the best available evidence and provide guidance for healthcare providers during their daily practice. CPGs can support the knowledge-to-action cycle effectively if they were developed using a systematic and rigorous methodology. Published evidence has revealed that CPGs can improve patient outcomes, patient experience, and quality and safety in healthcare.

This adapted CPG is intended for use by healthcare professionals to aid in the management of ADHD in children under 5 years, children and young people (aged 5 to 17 years), and adults aged 18 years or over.

These guidelines are provided free-of-charge by the Saudi ADHD Society. You may read the recommendations online or download a PDF copy for printing or offline use.