Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults.Clin Ther. 1992 Mar-Apr; 14(2):138-47.CT
It has been estimated that 30% to 70% of children who are diagnosed as having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will continue to show symptoms of the condition as adults. Since the prevalence of ADHD among school children may be 3% or more, its prevalence among adults may be 1% or 2%. The third revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (1987) of the American Psychiatric Association lists three essential features for the diagnosis of ADHD: "developmentally inappropriate inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity." Other conditions associated with ADHD in adults include learning disabilities (or their sequelae), general anxiety disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, and dysthymic and cyclothymic disorders. Strong correlations have been found between ADHD and oppositional defiant and conduct disorders in children and an increased risk for antisocial disorders in adults. A combination of genetic, biologic, and environmental factors appears to be implicated in the etiology of ADHD. The management of adult ADHD requires a multimodal approach. The patient needs to be informed of the cause of his or her impulsive and often self-destructive behavior. Many patients will have learning difficulties that require evaluation and remediation by specialists in learning disabilities. Psychotherapy can help the patients resolve disturbances in perceptions of self and others and family therapy can address difficulties in the adult's relationships with family members. Pharmacotherapy of adult ADHD includes the use of central nervous system stimulants, such as methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, and pemoline, of the tricyclic antidepressants imipramine and desimipramine, and of other antihypertensive, analgesic, and antimanic drugs.