European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 22, Supplement 1, pp 43–48 | Cite as

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Søren DalsgaardEmail author


The proposed revision of the diagnostic criteria in DSM-5 for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will not fundamentally change the concept of ADHD. This is mainly due to the fact that, DSM-5 will retain the exact DSM-IV wording of all 18 symptoms, but will add new examples that make the criteria more appropriate for children, adolescents and adults. The age of onset will also be changed from 7 to 12 years, the subtyping of the disorder will change, and pervasive developmental disorders will no longer be an exclusion criterion. Although the main concept is unchanged, the suggested changes will most likely increase the prevalence of ADHD, especially in adults and adolescents, but maybe also in children. The added examples will also result in necessary revisions and new validations of rating scales and diagnostic interviews. This review will examine each of the proposed DSM-5 changes and the impact they may have, and in addition, the paper will make an overview of the main characteristics of some of the international and national guidelines for assessment and treatment of ADHD and how these impact the clinical practice.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Diagnostic classification Pervasive developmental disorder Clinical guidelines 


Conflict of interest

Within the last 3 years Dr. Dalsgaard had no disclosures of conflicts of interest (2010–2012), but in 2008 and 2009, Dr. Dalsgaard received speaker’s fees from Eli Lilly and Novartis.

This article is part of the supplement “The Future of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology: the Impact of DSM 5 and of guidelines for assessment and treatment”. This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests.


  1. 1.
    American Psychiatric Association (2012) DSM-5 Development: ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders.
  2. 2.
    Barkley RA, Brown TE (2008) Unrecognized attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults presenting with other psychiatric disorders. CNS Spectr 13:977–984PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dalsgaard S, Humlum MK, Nielsen HS, Simonsen M (2012) Relative standards in ADHD diagnoses: the role of specialist behavior. Econ Lett 117:663–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dalsgaard S, Mortensen PB, Frydenberg M, Thomsen PH (2002) Conduct problems, gender and adult psychiatric outcome of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Br J Psychiatry 181:416–421PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dopfner M, Banaschewski T, Krause J, Skrodzki K (2010) Management of children, adolescents and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Germany. Position of the central adhd network for 2009 special expert assessment by the medical expert on evaluation of development in public health. Zeitschrift fur Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie 38:131–136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dulcan M (1997) Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:85S–121SPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kessler RC, Adler L, Barkley R, Biederman J, Conners CK, Demler O, Faraone SV, Greenhill LL, Howes MJ, Secnik K, Spencer T, Ustun TB, Walters EE, Zaslavsky AM (2006) The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Am J Psychiatry 163:716–723PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kieling C, Kieling RR, Rohde LA, Frick PJ, Moffitt T, Nigg JT, Tannock R, Castellanos FX (2010) The age at onset of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry 167:14–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lehmkuhl G (2007) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in children and adolescents: diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines. MMW Fortschritte der Medizin 149 Suppl 2:10–13 (quiz 14)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lionel AC, Crosbie J, Barbosa N, Goodale T, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Rickaby J, Gazzellone M, Carson AR, Howe JL, Wang Z, Wei J, Stewart AF, Roberts R, McPherson R, Fiebig A, Franke A, Schreiber S, Zwaigenbaum L, Fernandez BA, Roberts W, Arnold PD, Szatmari P, Marshall CR, Schachar R, Scherer SW (2011) Rare copy number variation discovery and cross-disorder comparisons identify risk genes for ADHD. Sci Transl Med 3:95ra75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Murray MJ (2010) Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the context of autism spectrum disorders. Curr Psychiatry Rep 12:382–388PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    National Board of Health (2007) Clinical guidelines for pharmacological treatment of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders [Vejledning om medikamentel behandling af børn og unge med psykiske lidelser]. VEJ nr 10332 af 10/12/2007 National Board of Health [Sundhedsstyrelsen], CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    National Board of Health (2008) Clinical guidelines for the prescription of classified drugs [Vejledning om ordination af afhængighedsskabende lægemidler]. VEJ nr 38 af 18/06/2008. National Board of Health [Sundhedsstyrelsen], CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2008) NICE clinical guideline 72: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Diagnosis and management of ADHD in children, young people and adults. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICEGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pliszka S (2007) Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 46:894–921PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Polanczyk G, Caspi A, Houts R, Kollins SH, Rohde LA, Moffitt TE (2010) Implications of extending the ADHD age-of-onset criterion to age 12: results from a prospectively studied birth cohort. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 49:210–216PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Taylor E, Dopfner M, Sergeant J, Asherson P, Banaschewski T, Buitelaar J, Coghill D, Danckaerts M, Rothenberger A, Sonuga-Barke E, Steinhausen HC, Zuddas A (2004) European clinical guidelines for hyperkinetic disorder—first upgrade. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 13(Suppl 1):I7–I30PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    The Danish Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Association [Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk Selskab i Danmark] (2012) Clinical guidelines for assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD. BUP-DKGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    The Danish Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Association [Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk Selskab i Danmark] (2008) The reference programme for assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD. BUP-DKGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wilens TE, Biederman J, Spencer TJ (2002) Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan. Annu Rev Med 53:113–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

Personalised recommendations