Attention deficit disorder in adults

Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;14(2):105-11. doi: 10.1023/a:1016807021779.


ADHD/ADD, once thought to occur only in children, is now recognized as continuing into adulthood in many people. In order to be labeled as such, signs and symptoms must start before age 7 and are primarily characterized by inattention, distractibility, and impulsiveness. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, a number of associated neurochemical and structural abnormalities have been observed. This disorder can negatively affect the educational, social, and occupational lives of those who suffer from its symptoms. It interferes with the ability to establish and maintain close relationships. Pharmacotherapy remains the primary mode of treatment. Stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate are the main drugs utilized; they are available in immediate and longer duration versions. Bupropion is another important medicinal option, and there are a variety of other miscellaneous medications to consider, including modafinil, venlafaxine, tricyclic antidepressants, and guanfacine. Psychotherapy is shown to help control impulsiveness, form more satisfactory relationships, rear children more effectively, and improve organizational and problem-solving skills.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotherapy


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants