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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2010

5b - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults

from Section II - Disorders

Summary

Introduction

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that involves difficulty with attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. There has been controversy regarding whether ADHD remits by adulthood or continues into adolescence and adulthood with similar symptom patterns [1]. Many now suggest that the symptoms change over time and development, from high activity levels to problems primarily with attention.

For children and early adolescents, significant difficulty is often seen with hyperactivity. Difficulties with academic subjects and behavior in school are prevalent for children with ADHD, due to problems with attention and impulse control/hyperactivity [2]. The main challenge for adults with ADHD is generally impulse control and attention. Problems with attention and impulse control can impact the work environment in areas such as difficulty with meeting deadlines and paying attention to details. In addition, adults with ADHD tend to attain lower socioeconomic status and rates of professional employment, and have higher rates of separation and divorce [3].

Therefore, emerging data indicate that ADHD probably continues for many individuals throughout the life span. Thus, it is important to explore how ADHD in adults is diagnosed, assessed, and treated. The aim of this chapter is to critically review the literature on adult ADHD, including findings on neuropsychological functioning, neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessment, and interventions currently available that have ecological and strong empirical validity.

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