ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or more commonly known as ADHD is a condition which affects parts of the brain which control attention, impulse and concentration. It affects between 3% and 7% of school age children, mainly boys, and roughly one third to a half of them will continue to have ADHD into adulthood.

Although people who have had ADHD can go on and lead normal and successful lives, some will have issues of under-performance, depression, relationship difficulties, have problems finding and maintaining a job and may be prone to addictions or, in a worse case scenario, criminal activity. Stress, diet and family life may affect the condition.

As an employer, you may not be immediately aware that an employee has had ADHD. They are unlikely to divulge this willingly because of a stigma associated with the condition which may hamper their ability to find and stay in work. A candidate with ADHD may come across as being very “driven” and talkative. Their condition may come to light either after completing a health questionnaire, after employment has been offered, or following concerns about their work and/or conduct issues. They may also not be aware of whether they have the condition, as not all people with ADHD have a diagnosis or have received proper treatment.

ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsive behaviour, inattention, social clumsiness, poor coordination, disorganisation, forgetfulness and mood swings. They may also have specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, language problems, or difficulties with handwriting/written work. These may mask similar conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome, language disorder, dyspraxia and obsessive compulsive disorder. The key difference is that the behaviour of someone with ADHD is likely to be highly disruptive who will have difficulty concentrating and focusing on achieving a task.

As with all other employees, you have a duty of care and must make reasonable adjustments to support those with ADHD at work. Regardless whether the employee has or has not divulged their condition; it will need much more sensitive handling because of the fear and public image of the condition.

Diagnosis is challenging because there is no physical test for ADHD (such as a blood test), there may be problems with self-control, and ADHD either masks or exists in conjunction with other conditions, as above, that are more easily identified.

ADHD may be mild, moderate or severe. The mild and moderate forms may not need medication and may be responsive to other interventions.


Contact us if you have concerns or know that one of your employees has ADHD. We will advise you on how to deal with the issues, and help you speak to the employee, with the aim of referring them to occupational health and/or specialist medical advisors including psychiatrists or psychologists for an assessment. We will also help you complete health and safety risk assessments and make reasonable adjustments to help improve your employee’s performance and concentration to help retain employment.  We will also assist with dietary advice, counselling and other therapies as appropriate.