Table 1

DSM-IVa criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

A. Either 1 or 2


1. Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months, to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

a. Often fails to give close attention to details, or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities

b. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

c. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

d. Often does not follow through on instructions, and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or workplace duties (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

e. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

f. Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)

g. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (for example, toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools)

h. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

i. Is often forgetful in daily activities

2. Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months, to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

a. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

b. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected

c. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)

d. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

e. Is often 'on the go' or often acts as if 'driven by a motor'

f. Often talks excessively

g. Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed

h. Often has difficulty awaiting turn

i. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (for example, butts into conversations or games)

B. Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before 7 years of age

C. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (for example, at school/work or at home)

D. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning

E. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder, and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (or example,, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder or personality disorder)


aDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition

Antshel et al. BMC Medicine 2011 9:72   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-72

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