Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder costs society hundreds of billions of dollars each year worldwide, according to the recently-published International Consensus Statement of the World Federation of ADHD, which contains 208 evidence-based conclusions about the disorder.

Untreated, ADHD can lead to many negative outcomes.

Physical and mental condition

According to the research, ADHD occurs in 5.9 percent of youth, and at least 2.5 percent of adults. It is more common in males.

Most cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are caused by the combined effects of multiple genetic and environmental factors.

It is a physical condition that is also categorized as a mental condition.

Neuroimaging documented small differences in the structure and functioning of the brain between people with and without the disorder. However, these differences cannot be used to diagnose ADHD, according to the World Federation of ADHD (WFADHD).


People with the disorder are at increased risk for obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep problems, psoriasis, epilepsy, sexually transmitted infections, abnormalities of the eye, immune disorders, and metabolic disorders.

In addition, people with ADHD are at increased risk for low quality of life, substance use disorders, accidental injuries, educational underachievement, unemployment, gambling, teenage pregnancy, difficulties socializing, delinquency, suicide, and premature death.

Many of the above can be prevented and/or ameliorated with appropriate treatment.


Treatment with ADHD medications reduces accidental injuries, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, educational underachievement, bone fractures, sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicide, criminal activity and teenage pregnancy, the researchers said.

Adverse effects of ADHD medications are “typically mild and can be addressed by changing the dose or the medication,” according to the statement.

Non-medication treatments for the disorder are less effective than medication, but are “frequently useful to help problems that remain after medication has been optimized,” researchers found.

world federation of adhd

The World Federation of ADHD, founded in 2007 at the First International Congress held in Germany, is comprised of international professionals and their regional ADHD associations. The organization aims to disseminate education about ADHD and advocate for patients and their families by training clinicians and others on how to create better outcomes for people with the disorder.

The paper provides current and accurate information that updates the first International Consensus Statement published nearly 20 years ago by an international team of scientists who intended to correct misconceptions that led to stigmatization of those who have ADHD.

The Federation reviewed studies with more than 2,000 participants or meta-analyses from five or more studies with 2,000 or more participants. Their efforts resulted in 208 empirically supported statements about ADHD.

The conclusions were approved by 80 authors in 27 countries on six continents.

Faraone SV, Banaschewski T, Cognill D, Zheng Y, Biederman J, Bellgrove MA, Newcorn JH, Gignac M, Al Saud NM, Manor I, Rohde LA, Yang L, Cortese S, Almagor D, Stein MA, Albatti TH, Aljoudi HF, Alqahtani MMJ. . .Wang Y. The World Federation of ADHD International Consensus Statement: 208 Evidence-based conclusions about the disorder. Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews, Vol. 128, Sept. 2021, Pages 789-818. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.01.022

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