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Disclaimer: These guidelines do not aim to provide a comprehensive review of all the pertinent literature comprising the evidence base and, as such, should be utilised in conjunction with other guidelines as well as the responsibility of practitioners to maintain a high level of personal knowledge and expertise. Despite the known efficacy of treatment and the substantial costs of untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), access to healthcare and treatment is not a given for many patients in South Africa (SA). In SA, there is poor identification and treatment of common mental disorders at primary healthcare level and limited access to specialist resources with a service delivery and treatment gap of up to 75%. Medication options are also often limited in emerging markets and in SA psychiatrists, and patients do not have access to the medication armamentarium available in established markets. Furthermore, the majority of South Africans currently utilise the public healthcare sector and may not have access to treatment options referred to in these guidelines. These guidelines should therefore not be seen as a policy document.
The process: The South African Society of Psychiatrists’ Special Interest Group (SIG) for adult ADHD was launched on 25 September 2015, with doctors Rykie Liebenberg and Renata Schoeman as convenor and co-convenor, respectively. The overall objective of the ADHD SIG is to improve the basket of care available to patients with ADHD. This is only possible through a combined and concerted effort of individuals with a special interest in and passion for ADHD to improve knowledge about and funding for the care of individuals with the disorder. One of the specific aims of the ADHD SIG was to develop South African guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD specifically and update guidelines for the treatment of child, adolescent and adult ADHD. Dr Schoeman has recently completed her MBA at the University of Stellenbosch Business School with a thesis entitled ‘A funding model proposal for private health insurance for adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the South African context’. This is first South African study exploring the situation with regard to the prevalence and treatment of adult ADHD. Dr Schoeman was tasked by the SIG with the drafting of guidelines. Dr Liebenberg provided valuable input. The guidelines were then circulated to the SIG members, as well as the Chair of the Public Sector SIG, for written feedback and evidencebased suggestions which were then incorporated into the guidelines. The final guidelines were circulated for written approval by the SIG members, followed by formal approval at a SIG meeting held on 14 August 2016, after which it was submitted to the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) and Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG) boards for recommendation and ratification.