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Clinical Presentations of Adult Patients With ADHD

Lenard A. Adler, MD

Published: March 1, 2004

Article Abstract

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) persists into adulthood in an increasingly recognizednumber of individuals with childhood onset. The symptoms of adult ADHD are similar to therestlessness, distractibility, and impulsivity central to childhood ADHD, but expression of symptomschanges as the individual matures. A childhood history of ADHD is requisite for a diagnosis of adultADHD, although full DSM-IV criteria for the childhood disorder need not be met as long as significantsymptoms and impairment occurred. Three case reports described here illustrate the migration ofsymptoms and the use of retrospective reporting and rating scales to determine a diagnosis of adultADHD. These reports also stress the high probability of comorbid disorders and family aggregation ofADHD, as well as the likelihood that the adult with ADHD has developed coping mechanisms to compensatefor his or her impairment.

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