Adult ADHD in the Arab World: A review

  • Ghinwa El Hayek
  • Dahlia Saab
  • Claudia Farhat
  • Zaher Krayem
  • Elie Karam Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, St George Hospital University Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon


Introduction: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been mainly studied in children, even though it persists into adulthood; only recently has adult ADHD received the required attention. ADHD research in Arab speaking countries is relatively scarce.

Objectives: This scoping review has as objectives to provide a comprehensive overview of adult ADHD research in the 22 Arab countries, to identify gaps in the literature and inform future research.

Methods: The scoping review is underpinned by the five-stage framework of Arksey and O'Malley. Eight electronics databases were searched for published and unpublished literature as well as conference proceedings from conception date of databases until February 2018.

Results: The literature search yielded 2,792 citations after removal of duplicates, out of which 11 articles and conference proceedings were included. Publications were concentrated in the 21st century. ADHD diagnosis and sample differed between each study, where a variety of screening and diagnostic tools were used among clinical and community samples. National prevalence of adult ADHD only exists for Lebanon and Iraq as they are part of the World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys initiative. Also, adult ADHD is highly comorbid with bipolar and substance use disorder and related entities.

Conclusions: This is the first methodologically rigorous scoping review focusing solely on adult ADHD in the Arab region. We found that adult ADHD is quite prevalent in the Arab World where studied, linked to serious impairment, and is highly comorbid, yet it is under-researched and undertreated across the Middle East and North Africa.

How to Cite
HAYEK, Ghinwa El et al. Adult ADHD in the Arab World: A review. Archives of Psychology, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 7, aug. 2019. ISSN 2573-7902. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 oct. 2023.

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