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Management of ADHD in Adults

Lenard A. Adler, MD, and Hong C. Chua, MD

Published: October 1, 2002

Article Abstract

Although first identified in children in the 19th century, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) in adults was not described in the literature until 1976. The symptoms of adult ADHD resemblethe symptoms of childhood ADHD, but symptom intensity, especially hyperactivity, may decreaseover time. However, due to the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood, a normal day isextremely complicated for the ADHD adult. Molecular genetics and neuroimaging studies confirmthat ADHD is a heterogeneous, neurobiological disorder, mainly of dopaminergic and noradrenergicpathways. Trials of pharmacologic treatments in adults with ADHD have produced mixed results dueto considerable variability in diagnostic criteria, dosing, and response. This article reviews the history,neurobiology, and pharmacologic management of adult ADHD.

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