Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults

Prim Care. 2007 Sep;34(3):445-73, v. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2007.05.005.


Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characterized by inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of these, is being increasingly recognized in adults. Adult ADHD prevalence rates range from 1% to 4%. The pathophysiology of adult ADHD is likely multifactorial, including genetic, environmental, and neurobiological influences. Though ADHD diagnostic criteria per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) were developed based on child samples, the symptoms are believed to be similar in adults, with some developmental differences in symptom presentation. This article identifies common presenting complaints of adults who have ADHD and provides information useful for differential diagnosis of these patients. Specific strategies for pharmacological and nonpharmacological intervention are also presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate