Diagnostic issues for adolescents and adults with ADHD

Jeanette Wasserstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood neuropsychiatric syndrome once thought to disappear with maturation. Current data indicate that ADHD remains "hidden" in many of the grown-ups who had it as children. Adult prevalence rates range from 1 % to 6% of the population. Research suggests the core childhood symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity shift with development, perhaps transforming into more overt difficulties in executive functions and affect regulation. ADHD is also usually nestled with other comorbid psychiatric conditions, especially in adolescents and adults, further complicating diagnosis and treatment. This article discusses how to recognize and diagnose ADHD in older patients. Key points include core symptoms present during childhood, appropriate family history in this strongly genetic condition, management of comorbidity, and the evolving role of diagnostic testing. Other medical causes for similar symptoms are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-547
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Adult and adolescent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD)


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