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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Developmental psychopathology: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Sören Schmidt* and Franz Petermann

Author Affiliations

Centre for Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

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BMC Psychiatry 2009, 9:58  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-58

Published: 17 September 2009

Abstract

Background

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), formerly regarded as a typical childhood disorder, is now known as a developmental disorder persisting over the lifespan. Starting in preschool-age, symptoms vary depending on the age group affected.

Method

According to the variability of ADHD-symptoms and the heterogeneity of comorbid psychiatric disorders, a broad review of recent studies was performed. These findings were summarized in a developmental psychopathological model, documenting relevant facts on a timeline.

Results

Based on a genetic disposition and a neuropsychological deregulation, there is evidence for factors which persist across the lifespan, change age-dependently, or show validity in a specific developmental phase. Qualitative changes can be found for children in preschool-age and adults.

Conclusion

These differences have implications for clinical practice as they can be used for prevention, diagnostic proceedings, and therapeutic intervention as well as for planning future studies. The present article is a translated and modified version of the German article "Entwicklungspsychopathologie der ADHS", published in Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 56, 2008, S. 265-274.