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Homepage :: Child & adolescent disorders :: Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder :: Diagnostic features

Diagnostic features

All of the following:

  • Six of nine features of inattention: careless with detail; fail to sustain attention; appears not to listen; does not finish instructed tasks; poor self-organization; avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort; loses things; easily distracted; seems forgetful.
  • Three of five features of hyperactivity: fidgets; leaves seat when should be seated; runs/climbs excessively and inappropriately; noisy in play; persistent motor activity unmodified by social context
  • One of four features of impulsivity: blurts out answers before question completed; fails to wait turn or queue; interrupts others’ conversation or games; talks excessively for social context.
  • Pattern of behaviour pervasive across at least two types of situation; information about school. behaviour is therefore very valuable.
  • Onset no later than age 7.
  • Causing significant distress or impaired functioning.
  • Not better explained by another psychiatric disorder.

Excitability, impatience and defiant angry outbursts are common, but as these have many other causes, they do not establish the diagnosis by themselves.

Last edited: 16/9/2003


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