But of those who do, most - about 37,000 - are prescribed stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate).
Children with ADHD have extreme difficulty sitting still, learning or concentrating.
At school they may find it hard to keep friends and suffer from bullying because of their behaviour. Looking after affected children can be exhausting for parents.
The guidelines, which cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, say parent training and education programmes should be offered as a first-line treatment for ADHD, both for pre-school and school age children.
The programmes teach parents how to create a structured home environment, encourage attentiveness and concentration, and manage misbehaviour better.
Drugs remain a first option for children over five and young people with severe ADHD, say the guidelines, but only as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychological and behavioural interventions.
Dr Tim Kendall, a consultant psychiatrist from Sheffield who is joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and helped draw up the guidelines, said: "There is an over-reliance on medicines.
Difficulty remaining seated when required
Difficulty awaiting turn in group situations
Difficulty following instructions
Difficulty in playing quietly
Often shift from one incomplete activity to another
Often interrupts others
Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering the consequences
"Quite commonly, people tend to revert to offering methylphenidate or atomoxetene. When they do that it's not always because there's a good balance of risk and benefits. It's because the child has got what appears to be ADHD and that's what's available.
"Its easier to prescribe a drug when other options like parent training programmes are not available."
Dr Kendall said it was important to diagnose ADHD correctly, rather than label all bad behaviour as ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD persist in all settings - both at school and at home - and cause real impairment.
Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of the ADHD charity ADDISS, welcomed the NICE recommendations but questioned how helpful the parent training programmes would be to parents.
"Parenting programmes are extremely important, but they need to be specific for ADHD.
"The ones that NICE are recommending were designed for the parents of children with conduct disorder, which is completely different from ADHD," she said.
The Scottish InterCollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) is rewriting its guidelines on ADHD diagnosis and treatment and will take the NICE guidelines into consideration.
Their new guidance will come out in the first half of 2009.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.