Guideline for Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD in Adults with Substance Use Disorders

  • Frieda Matthys
  • Steven Stes
  • Wim van den Brink
  • Peter Joostens
  • David Möbius
  • Sabine Tremmery
  • Bernard Sabbe


Currently there is no guideline for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in patients with a substance use disorder (SUD). The aim was to develop such a guideline, starting out from a systematic review and based on the methodology of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN). Due to the lack of scientific evidence on some of the topics, the guideline is a combination of evidence based and practice based recommendations. Given the high prevalence of ADHD in treatment seeking SUD patients and the availability of valid screening instruments, all treatment seeking SUD patients should be screened for ADHD. Diagnosis of ADHD should be based on clinical observation and history taking, including informant data. Integrated treatment of ADHD and SUD is recommended, including pharmacotherapy, psycho-education, coaching, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The lack of scientific data and the overall lack of expertise in the field are significant obstacles to the implementation of the guideline. Intensive training programs in the substance abuse sector need to be organized to implement these guidelines.


Guideline Attention deficit hyperkinetic disorder Substance use disorder Comorbidity Screening Diagnosis Treatment ADHD 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frieda Matthys
    • 1
  • Steven Stes
    • 2
  • Wim van den Brink
    • 3
  • Peter Joostens
    • 4
  • David Möbius
    • 5
  • Sabine Tremmery
    • 6
    • 7
  • Bernard Sabbe
    • 8
  1. 1.University Hospital Brussels and Free University Brussels (VUB), MSOC Free ClinicAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.University Psychiatric Centre at Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Psychiatric Centre Broeders AlexianenTienenBelgium
  5. 5.Vereniging voor Alcohol- en andere DrugproblemenBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Department Child & Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  7. 7.Department of NeurosciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  8. 8.Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI), University of Antwerp, Free University Brussels (VUB) and Psychiatric Hospital Sint-NorbertusDuffelBelgium

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