Presentations of ADHD

There are three presentations of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) recognised in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition (DSM-5TM); (i) predominantly inattentive, (ii) predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and (iii) combined inattentive-hyperactive-impulsive, which depend on the ratio of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms presented by the person with ADHD.1

Rates of ADHD presentations vary across studies.2-5 A worldwide meta-analysis of 86 studies in children and adolescents and 11 studies in adults indicated that the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD was the most common subtype in all samples, with the exception of pre-school children, where predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type was the most common (Figure).

Preliminary evidence for the change in prevalence of ADHD presentations over time as indicated by a cross-sectional analysis

Preliminary evidence for the change in prevalence of ADHD presentations over time as indicated by a cross-sectional analysis

 

§These studies were conducted prior to publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5TM).


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  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. 2013.
  2. Faraone SV, Biederman J, Weder W, et al. Psychiatric, neuropsychological and psychosocial features of DSM-IV subtypes of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: results from a clinically referred sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1998; 37: 185-193.
  3. Gaub M, Carlson CL. Behavioral characteristics of DSM-IV ADHD subtypes in a school-based population. J Abnorm Child Psychol 1997; 25: 103-111.
  4. Willcutt EG. The prevalence of DSM-IV attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analytic review. Neurotherapeutics 2012; 9: 490-499.
  5. Wilens TE, Biederman J, Faraone SV, et al. Presenting ADHD symptoms, subtypes, and comorbid disorders in clinically referred adults with ADHD. J Clin Psychiatry 2009; 70: 1557-1562.

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