ADHD-Europe AISBL has published the results of its 2020 survey into the state of diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in Europe. The survey was answered by 22 member organisations from 19 European countries with thanks to Carola Stivala and members of the ADHD Europe Research Committee who gave their free time to help with this important research. The survey shows that despite positive developments, the ideal situation, in which an individual with ADHD can access the same standard of care and medication wherever they are in the EU, is still very far from reality. It is evident that research, support and contact between members of ADHD-Europe is beneficial to the European ADHD community.
The results of this survey can be downloaded in PDF format (74 pages) which shows that there have been some positive changes in the decade since our last survey. A brief summary can conclude that there remain circumstances that are in dire need of improvement. and that there have been some positive changes in the decade since our last survey, namely:
- The number of countries with national guidelines for ADHD has increased.
- More medication brands are available across Europe.
- There is an increased awareness of ADHD in adults and the lifelong effects of ADHD in specialists.
Unfortunately, there remain circumstances that are in dire need of improvement:
- Continued long waiting lists for children to access diagnostic services in most member countries; (contrary to the early intervention advice of the NICE ‘gold’ standard).
- Continued inadequate provision of health services for adults in many countries (while research shows that untreated ADHD can lead to increased risk self-medication or drug addiction, unemployment, increased traffic accidents, etc) and lack of family clinics where child AND parent can be treated simultaneously (as ADHD is a heritable trait).
- ‘Generic’ medication brands. Some members report increased medication side-effects for minors using generics, others report positive effects. This urgently warrants unbiased research, including research into comparative medication efficacy and treatment adherence with branded and generic medication. National medicine procurement systems may take mainly price into consideration whilst lacking specialist and patient feedback mechanisms (except for extreme physical side-effects). In addition, ‘out of stock’ situations jeopardise especially youths during examination times.
- Lack of access to specialists and lack of medication options. National and regional discrepancies exist (especially in rural areas of large countries, island (countries) and Eastern European countries) which are often due to inadequate national funding for mental health services.
- Continued cultural “stigma” about ADHD amongst specialists, in the media and the general public. Some member countries even mention that dominant professionals apply a psychoanalytic approach only instead of a multi-modal treatment approach for children and adults with ADHD. There are different viewpoints on ADHD as a disorder and on its medication in society.