Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Biederman, Joseph Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Faraone, Stephen V. Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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A common psychiatric disorder (especially in children) characterized by attentional difficulties, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder marked by an individual's inability to pay attention or to focus on tasks, as well as acting impulsively or being extremely active (hyperactive). The condition typically takes shape in early childhood, and the signs and symptoms of ADHD often lead to functioning or developmental deficiencies (Fig. 1). In Europe, ADHD is known as hyperkinetic disorder. Earlier names for ADHD include attention deficit disorder, minimal brain dysfunction, minimal brain damage, hyperactivity, hyperkinesis, and hyperactive child syndrome. Over time, these names were modified as a result of their implications about etiology and core symptoms: Minimal brain dysfunction seemed to imply that children with this disorder were brain-damaged, whereas hyperactivity and its synonyms named a feature seen in many (but not all) of these children. See also: Developmental psychology; Mental disorders
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