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Feature Article

Could it be ADHD? Recognising ADHD in youth and adults

HEIDI J. SUMICH, HUGH MORGAN

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© DORiAN2013/iStOCKPHOtO.COM
© DORiAN2013/iStOCKPHOtO.COM

Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that starts in childhood and continues into adulthood in most cases. Many young people and adults with ADHD remain undiagnosed and significantly impaired by their symptoms particularly problems with day-to-day responsibilities. GPs are well placed to identify patients with ADHD and refer for specialist treatment. Effective treatment can be life changing.

Key Points

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common and serious mental disorder, associated with a twofold increase in mortality rate and significant impairment in quality of life.
  • ADHD is associated with substantial mental and physical comorbidities, and much stigma.
  • ADHD runs in families and affects the whole family unit.
  • Patients often describe treatment with stimulant medication as being ‘life changing’.
  • Effective treatment decreases mortality and comorbidities, and improves quality of life.
  • The risk of stimulant dependence is very low with careful prescribing.

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© DORiAN2013/iStOCKPHOtO.COM
© DORiAN2013/iStOCKPHOtO.COM