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Original research
What families in the UK use to manage attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a survey of resource use
  1. Philippa Fibert1,
  2. Clare Relton2
  1. 1Health Hawk, High Wycombe, UK
  2. 2Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Philippa Fibert; philippafibert{at}


Objective To identify interventions being used to manage attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the UK.

Design A survey within the Sheffield Treatments for ADHD Research project. A convenience sample of participants in the UK who consented to join an observational cohort were asked closed questions about medication, behavioural change programmes and service use, and an open-ended question about what else they used.

Setting A broad variety of non-National Health Service, non-treatment seeking settings throughout the UK, including local authority organisations, schools, ADHD and autism spectrum condition support groups and social media.

Participants Families of children aged 5–18 with carer reported ADHD and Conners Global Index (CGI) T scores of 55+.

Results Responses from 175 families were analysed. The mean age of the children was 10.21 (2.44), and two-thirds (n=114) had additional diagnoses. The majority used medications to manage ADHD (n=120) and had participated in a parenting class (n=130). Just over a quarter (28%, n=49) did not use ADHD medications, and used sleep medications. Just under half had consulted psychologists (n=83), and 32 had participated in other talking therapies such as psychotherapy, counselling and cognitive–behavioural therapy. A few used aids such as reward charts or fiddle toys (n=17) and participated in activities (mostly physical) (n=14). A substantial minority (78/175) had used non-mainstream treatments, the most popular being homoeopathy (n=32), nutritional interventions (n=21) and bodywork such as massage or cranial osteopathy (n=9).

Conclusions Families reported use of a wide variety of treatments to help with management of their children with ADHD in addition to their use of mainstream treatments.

  • child psychiatry
  • therapeutics
  • neuropathology
  • health services research
  • data collection

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  • Contributors PF planned, conducted and analysed the survey and wrote the manuscript. CR helped design the research methodology and edit the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Homeopathic Research Institute (Company Registration number 06230101; Charity Registration number 1132901), who had no role in the design, collection or analysis of data.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Data are stored using facilities provided by Google. Arrangement provided under contract with the University of Sheffield.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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