chapter  4
39 Pages

ADHD in adults: The syndrome and its reconceptualization

ByLynda J. Katz

Attention defi cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous psychiatric syndrome that is characterized primarily by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity that are judged to be developmentally inappropriate in the case of children, with an onset traditionally ascribed to the early childhood years. However, while this syndrome has been attributed in the past primarily to children, it is becoming increasingly clear both in the clinical and research literature that the syndrome may persist into adulthood and/or that its impairing qualities may be manifest initially in adolescence or adulthood. Working estimates of adult ADHD prevalence, based on follow-up studies of children and extrapolations from the child data, yield a rate of 1-6% of the adult population, with an average rate of 2% often cited (Biederman, 1998; Wender, 1998).