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attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Definition: a behavioral disorder manifested by developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattentiveness (short attention span, distractability, inability to complete tasks, difficulty in following directions), impulsiveness (acting without due reflection), and hyperactivity (restlessness, fidgeting, squirming, excessive loquacity). To meet diagnostic criteria of ADHD as set forth in DSM-IV, the patient must display six or more specific symptoms of inattention, or six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level. In addition, symptoms must have been present before age seven and there must be clear evidence of functional impairment in at least two settings (domestic, social, academic, occupational).

Synonym(s): hyperactive child syndrome

Further information

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.