NICE is urging doctors to think about a potential ADHD diagnosis in people who are at higher risk of having the condition, but who are usually overlooked.
People who have other conditions, such as a learning disability or mental health problem, or who have a close family member with ADHD are among those more likely to be undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed with something else.
It is thought ADHD is often missed in girls and women. This is because they may not display classic symptoms and for example, be less disruptive at school, the new draft guidance says.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: “Not having an accurate diagnosis can have a negative effect on people and their families. It means they cannot access the best treatment and support.
“We’re asking health and social care professionals to be mindful of these groups so that more people can be diagnosed correctly.”
Dr Gillian Baird, professor of children’s neurodisability at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the NICE guideline committee, said: “Our draft guideline highlights to doctors and other professionals about when to think an ADHD diagnosis is possible and refer someone for an assessment where appropriate.”
The draft guideline, which updates previous NICE guidance, also makes recommendations about treating and managing ADHD.
Dr Baird continues: “When treating someone with ADHD, it’s important to offer ongoing support and information about their condition. This, along with sharing information across services, can help them adjust when big changes in their life happen, for example, when moving from school to college.”