Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Overview

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by age inappropriate levels of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that lead to significant impairments in functioning.1

Clinical diagnosis of ADHD involves multimodal assessment, including a full clinical and psychosocial assessment, a detailed developmental, medical and psychiatric history, and careful consideration of other evidence, such as previous records, teacher and family reports, rating scales, and the person’s mental state.2, 3

A large body of research supports the temporary effectiveness of pharmacotherapy across the lifespan in improving both the core behavioural symptoms of ADHD, and related deficits in cognition, social skills, and familial relationships.2

A combination of pharmacotherapy and psychological interventions however is considered optimal treatment, being more effective than pharmacotherapy alone.4 A multidisciplinary model of care is also recommended, typically consisting of a paediatrician and/or psychiatrist, a psychologist, teachers, and any other practitioners that might be involved with addressing any associated specific learning difficulties. Effective psychological and behavioural interventions include specialised training for parents, classroom behavioural interventions and social skills training for children/adolescents, and cognitive-behavioural therapy for adults.4, 5

This practice guide provides an overview of ADHD including aetiology and prevalence, information on contemporary assessment, and evidence-based treatments for ADHD in children and adults.

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  • Contributor(s)
    APS Member Publications
  • Publish date
    14 Nov 2016
  • References
    View
  • Reviewer(s)
    Vicki Anderson, PhD
    Head of Psychology
    RCH Mental Health Theme Director
    Clinical Sciences Research
    Psychological Sciences & Paediatrics
    University of Melbourne

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