The negative impact of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder on occupational health in adults and adolescents

  • Thomas Küpper
  • Jan Haavik
  • Hans Drexler
  • Josep Antoni Ramos-Quiroga
  • Detlef Wermelskirchen
  • Christin Prutz
  • Barbara Schauble



To review the negative effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescence and adulthood on work productivity and occupational health.


A review of the MEDLINE database was carried out to identify direct and indirect effects of ADHD on work, employment and occupational health.


ADHD is associated with higher levels of unemployment versus controls. Adults with ADHD who are employed experience workplace impairment and reduced productivity, as well as behavioural issues such as irritability and low frustration tolerance. Adults with ADHD are also at increased risk of accidents, trauma and workplace injuries, particularly traffic accidents. Indirect effects of ADHD on occupational health include reduced educational achievement and increased rates of substance abuse and criminality. Overall, ADHD in adults has a substantial economic impact as a result of absenteeism and lost productivity. Psychoeducation, combined with stimulant medications if necessary, is recommended as first-line treatment for adults with ADHD. Limited data available suggest that stimulant treatment can improve work productivity and efficacy, and reduce the risks associated with driving, although further studies are necessary.


ADHD can affect the ability to gain and maintain employment and to work safely and productively. As ADHD is a treatable condition, patients, employers and physicians have a role to play in ensuring optimal occupational health.


Adults Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Driving Employment Occupational health Substance abuse 



Editorial assistance with the drafting and completion of this paper was provided by Dan Booth (Bioscript Stirling Ltd, London, UK) and funded by Janssen–Cilag EMEA.

Conflict of interest

T. Küpper declares no conflict of interest. J. Haavik has in the past 3 years been a member of the advisory board or a speaker for Janssen–Cilag and Novartis. He has never received research support from any pharmaceutical company and declares no other conflicts of interest. H. Drexler declares no conflict of interest. J. A. Ramos-Quiroga has, in the past 3 years, been a consultant, a member of an advisory board and/or a speaker for Janssen–Cilag, Eli Lilly, Shire and Rubió. He has received research grants from Janssen–Cilag, Rubió, Eli Lilly and Alicia Koplowitz Foundation. D. Wermelskirchen is a full-time employee of Janssen–Cilag Germany. C. Prutz is a full-time employee of Janssen–Cilag, Sweden. B. Schäuble is an employee of Janssen–Cilag EMEA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Küpper
    • 1
    • 9
  • Jan Haavik
    • 2
  • Hans Drexler
    • 3
  • Josep Antoni Ramos-Quiroga
    • 4
    • 5
  • Detlef Wermelskirchen
    • 6
  • Christin Prutz
    • 7
  • Barbara Schauble
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of Occupational & Social MedicineRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of BiomedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Institut und Poliklinik für Arbeits-, Sozial- und UmweltmedizinErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryHospital Universitari Vall d’HebronBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry and Legal MedicineUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Janssen CilagNeussGermany
  7. 7.Janssen CilagSolletunaSweden
  8. 8.Janssen Cilag Medical Affairs EuropeNeussGermany
  9. 9.Institute of Occupational & Social MedicineRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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