Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

Occupational issues of adults with ADHD

Marios Adamou1*, Muhammad Arif2, Philip Asherson3, Tar-Ching Aw4, Blanca Bolea5, David Coghill6, Gísli Guðjónsson3, Anne Halmøy7, Paul Hodgkins8, Ulrich Müller9, Mark Pitts10, Anna Trakoli11, Nerys Williams12 and Susan Young3

Author Affiliations

1 South West Yorkshire NHS Partnership Foundation Trust Manygates Clinic, Portobello Road, WF1 5PN, Wakefield, UK

2 Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, London, UK

3 King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK

4 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

5 Trincay Medical Centre & Urgent Care, George Town, Cayman Islands

6 Division of Neuroscience, Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Ninewells’ Hospital and Medical School, London, UK

7 Department of Biomedicine, Psychiatry, University of Bergen (UiB), Bergen, Norway

8 Shire Development LLC, PA, Wayne, USA

9 ADHD Service, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK

10 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

11 Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, UK

12 Independent Consultant in Occupational Medicine, Solihull, UK

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:59  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-59

Published: 17 February 2013



ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that persists into adulthood. Its symptoms cause impairments in a number of social domains, one of which is employment. We wish to produce a consensus statement on how ADHD affects employment.


This consensus development conference statement was developed as a result of a joint international meeting held in July 2010. The consensus committee was international in scope (United Kingdom, mainland Europe, United Arab Emirates) and consisted of individuals from a broad range of backgrounds (Psychiatry, Occupational Medicine, Health Economists, Disability Advisors). The objectives of the conference were to discuss some of the occupational impairments adults with ADHD may face and how to address these problems from an inclusive perspective. Furthermore the conference looked at influencing policy and decision making at a political level to address impaired occupational functioning in adults with ADHD and fears around employing people with disabilities in general.


The consensus was that there were clear weaknesses in the current arrangements in the UK and internationally to address occupational difficulties. More so, Occupational Health was not wholly integrated and used as a means of making positive changes to the workplace, but rather as a superfluous last resort that employers tried to avoid. Furthermore the lack of cross professional collaboration on occupational functioning in adults with ADHD was a significant problem.


Future research needs to concentrate on further investigating occupational functioning in adults with ADHD and pilot exploratory initiatives and tools, leading to a better and more informed understanding of possible barriers to employment and potential schemes to put in place to address these problems.