Knowledge, attitudes and practices of general practitioners in the Free State regarding the management of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
AbstractBackground: The aim of the study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practice of general practicioners (GP's) in the Free State regarding the management of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Methods: Four hundred and nineteen GP's were identified in the Free State. Each GP was sent a survey questionnaire with a letter explaining the objectives and aims of the research. The questionnaire explored four themes: demographic data; attitudes to caring for children with ADHD; management of these children and knowledge and practice regarding the use of stimulants.
Results: Three hundred and eighty four GP's were eligible to complete the questionnaire, of which 147 (38.2%) were returned, and 143 were available for analysis. About 50% of the respondents manage children with ADHD in their practice. A quarter of the doctors enjoy treating these children, half do not mind and a quarter dislike it, and try to avoid seeing these children. Obstacles that were identified include the fact that they are time consuming, disrupt schedules, parents are difficult and reimbursement poor. There were few ‘alternative' beliefs regarding the aetiology and management of ADHD, although there were some unexpected replies regarding treatment modalities.
Conclusions: Although the doctors know what interventions are important and to whom these children should be referred, in the majority of cases referrals appear to be restricted to those professionals available in the local community. Methylphenidate was the most commonly prescribed stimulant. General practitioners had a good idea of its effects and contra- indications, and some idea of its pharmacological action. There were not adequate knowledge regarding the significant side effects of oral administration of methylphenidate.
SA Fam Pract 2003:45(5):12-17
Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, General Practitioners