Attention Deficit Hyperacivity Disorder (ADHD)

About ADHD

DSM-V criteria for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder most commonly diagnosed in childhood. To obtain a diagnosis of ADHD, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) states that at least six symptoms below must be present.

Symptoms of inattention:

ADHD diagnosis
ADHD Inattention
  • Making careless mistakes in schoolwork or in other activities
  • Difficulty staying attentive when engaging in schoolwork or other activities
  • Being distracted when being spoken to, even when external distractions are absent
  • Failure to follow instructions to finish schoolwork or other activities
  • Difficulty in organising and keeping their work in order – this may manifest as poor time management or poor management of complex tasks
  • Disliking tasks that require sustained attention, such as schoolwork
  • Often loses items, such as personal belongings
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful when completing activities

Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity:

ADHD hyperacive-impulsive presentation
  • Frequent fidgeting and squirming
  • Leaving their seat when it is expected that they should remain seated, such as in the classroom or in the workplace
  • Running and climbing in inappropriate situations
  • Inability to engage in quiet play
  • Restlessness and inability to sit for a long period of time without being ‘on the go’
  • Excessive talking
  • Completing others’ sentences and blurting out answers to questions
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn
  • Interrupts and intrudes into others’ activities


In addition, these symptoms must occur in a persistent pattern (minimum of a six-month period), be impairing the individual’s ability to complete daily activities competently, and be present in more than one context (eg. School and home, or work and home). It is also essential to note these symptoms must not be the result of an oppositional or defiant behaviour or the inability to understand instructions being given.

Prevalence of ADHD

The prevalence of ADHD is about 5% for children and 2.5% for adults.

Comorbidities with ADHD

ADHD often occurs comorbidly with delays in speech, motor or social skills. Due to their inability to stay focused and pay attention, children with ADHD may have difficulties completing academic tasks. In adults, they may perform more poorly in their work.

Children with ADHD are also more likely to go on to develop conduct disorders, which is consequently associated with a higher risk of developing substance use disorders and antisocial personality disorders.


Cognitive issues associated with ADHD

Individuals with ADHD are impaired in their social cognitive abilities, though to a lesser extent than individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Of these deficits, recognition of emotion through facial expressions and voices were found to be the most impaired, especially when recognising angry or fearful facial expressions. However, these deficits typically improve with age – adults with ADHD have been found to perform equally as well as controls on the same tasks.

Deficits in executive function also explain many of the inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms caused by ADHD, such as being unable to control their impulsive behaviours and being easily distracted. Accordingly, impairments in the fronto-striatal area, which is responsible for executive function, are commonly found in individuals with ADHD.

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By admin | September 10, 2018

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By admin | September 10, 2018

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By admin | September 10, 2018

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By admin | September 6, 2018

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