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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

trastorn per dèficit d'atenció  amb hiperactivitat Vall d'Hebron

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, neurobiological in origin, that begins in infancy but can continue into adolescence and adulthood.

Patients with this disorder may have difficulty paying attention, can be hyperactive and restless and/or may act impulsively.

The symptoms of ADHD manifest themselves in different activities and areas, such as school, work or any other social environment.



1) Inattention: difficulty paying attention, misunderstandings, lack of organisation and planning, losing or forgetting things, easily distracted.

2) Hyperactivity: excess movement, difficulty relaxing or sitting down, feeling of being driven by an internal engine, very chatty.

3) Impulsiveness: quick responses, difficulty waiting, constant interruptions. People with ADHD also present emotional instability, low self-esteem, academic failure, employment and family instability. 


How is affected by the condition?

In general terms, the prevalence of ADHD is around 3-7%. 50% of children will continue having clinical symptoms throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

ADHD is more frequent in males than females among the general population, with a ratio of 2:1 in children and 1.6:1 in adults. Females have a greater tendency to mainly show inattention.



Diagnosis is CLINICAL. An appropriate clinical history needs to be conducted with the patient and/or relatives by a specialised healthcare professional. There are different scales to assess the severity of symptoms or associated comorbid disorders, and neuropsychological tests that evaluate attention difficulties and executive dysfunction.


Typical treatment

ADHD needs to be tackled in various ways: Psychological education, psychological treatment and pharmacological treatment. In children, treatment includes educating parents and school intervention. There are several stimulant and non-stimulant drugs that have been proven to be effective and safe to control symptoms.  


Typical tests

Clinical history. Psychological interview. Neuropsychological examination. Blood test, vital signs, weight and height.

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