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Assessing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults: Focus on Rating Scales

Kevin R. Murphy, PhD, and Lenard A. Adler, MD

Published: March 1, 2004

Article Abstract

The diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults can be a challengingprocess because it includes making judgments based on clinical interviews, rating scale results, informantratings, and objective supporting evidence. The patient evaluation should gather information onthe severity and frequency of symptoms, the establishment of childhood onset of symptoms, the chronicityand pervasiveness of symptoms, and the impact of symptoms on major life activities. Some ofthe rating scales being used in the adult population are the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales, theBrown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scale for Adults, the Wender Utah Rating Scale, the ADHD RatingScale and ADHD Rating Scale-IV, the Current Symptoms Scale, and the recently-developed AdultADHD Self-Report Scale-v1.1 Symptom Checklist. More research is needed to establish the usefulnessof self-administered rating scales compared with investigator-administered scales in the assessmentand diagnosis of adult ADHD.

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