n South African Psychiatry Review - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults : diagnostic imperatives : review article

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1811-7805



At present, no biological or psychological tests with sufficient sensitivity or specificity can replace the meticulous process of distilling the clinical characteristics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood. The level of diagnostic confidence can be enhanced via a semi-structured interview, confirming the early onset, longitudinal persistence and multidimensional impairments. Obtaining collateral information to consolidate the retrospective symptomatology is mandatory, since individuals with chronic attentional problems are prone to recollection bias. A structured outline of the diagnostic trajectory is described, with special attention to age specific core symptoms, secondary problems and co-morbidity that can accompany or compound this not consistently recognised syndrome. Finally, potential pitfalls that can culminate in over and under diagnosis are critically examined.

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