Table 2DSM-IV-TR criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

1. Either A or B.
A. Inattention – Six or more symptoms persisting for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level.
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
Often does not follow through on instructions; fails to finish schoolwork, chores or workplace duties (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities
Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks requiring sustained mental effort
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
Is often forgetful in daily activities
B. Hyperactivity-impulsivity – Six or more symptoms persisting for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level.
HyperactivityOften fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected
Often runs or climbs excessively where inappropriate (feelings of restlessness in young people or adults)
Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
Is often ‘on the go’ or often acts as if ‘driven by a motor’
Often talks excessively
ImpulsivityOften blurts out answers before questions have been completed
Often has difficulty awaiting turn
Often interrupts or intrudes on others (for example, butts into conversations or games)
2. Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.
3. Some impairment from symptoms is present in two or more settings (for example, at school or work and at home).
4. There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school or work functioning.
5. The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (for example, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder).

Adapted from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders DSM-IV-TR (2000) with permission from the American Psychiatric Association.


Cover of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Management of ADHD in Children, Young People and Adults.
NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 72.
National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK).
Leicester (UK): British Psychological Society (UK); 2009.
Copyright © 2009, The British Psychological Society & The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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