In the UK, there are over 2.5 million undiagnosed neurodivergent adults, who struggle to receive support. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism are the most common forms of neurodivergence. In the UK around 1 in every 20 children, and 3 in every 100 adults have ADHD and/or autism. Although there has been more understanding and awareness about autism and ADHD in recent years, many adults and children still don’t have a diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, it is impossible to access the care that they need.
Adults with undiagnosed ADHD or autism face many difficulties. For example, they are more likely to drop out of school, experience depression and anxiety, be involved in crimes, and have problems with drugs or alcohol. Early identification and effective support can reduce these difficulties. It is crucial to diagnose ADHD and autism as early as possible to reduce these long-term risks for adults with these conditions.
Currently, there is no research on the risks of not receiving an ADHD or autism diagnosis. However, this three-year project looks at the impacts of undiagnosed ADHD or autism on individuals and their families. It will also assess the economic and societal costs of undiagnosed ADHD and autism. This research will provide essential information to decision makers and healthcare providers, enabling them to improve access to care.
We have two main questions:
- What are the long-term risks of not diagnosing individuals with ADHD or autism?
- How much does the lack of diagnosis cost individuals, the community, and the economy?
We want to:
- Understand the risks and costs of not diagnosing ADHD or autism.
- Highlight the importance of early diagnosis for ADHD and autism.