Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder with a prevalence of 1·4-3·0%. It is more common in boys than girls. Comorbidity with childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric disorders is substantial. ADHD is highly heritable and multifactorial; multiple genes and non-inherited factors contribute to the disorder. Prenatal and perinatal factors have been implicated as risks, but definite causes remain unknown. Most guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to treatment, beginning with non-drug interventions and then moving to pharmacological treatment in those most severely affected. Randomised controlled trials show short-term benefits of stimulant medication and atomoxetine. Meta-analyses of blinded trials of non-drug treatments have not yet proven the efficacy of such interventions. Longitudinal studies of ADHD show heightened risk of multiple mental health and social difficulties as well as premature mortality in adult life.
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