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Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 10% of school-age children. The main characteristics are age-inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that manifest before age 7. Children with ADHD experience learning difficulties and behavioral problems. ADHD is approximately six times more frequent in boys than in girls. Symptoms persist into adulthood in 60% of individuals who were hyperactive as children. Genetic factors are involved in 30-50% of children with ADHD.

Diagnostic Evaluation

Children, their families, and their social systems should be evaluated. The evaluation should include rating scales for other disruptive behavior disorders, and internalizing behavior disorders; obtaining histories from parents, teachers, and children; screening children for depression and anxiety; screening families for stress or dysfunction; and examining A school history should be obtained from teachers by questionnaire.

DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
At least six of the following symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be evident:


Lack of attention to details or careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities

Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

Impression of not listening when spoken to directly

Failure to follow through on instructions or finish schoolwork or duties

Difficulty organizing tasks and activities

Avoidance or dislike of tasks that require sustained mental effort (eg, schoolwork or homework)

Tendency to lose things necessary for attention defecit, defcit