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Annu Rev Med. 2002;53:113-31.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan.

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  • 1Clinical Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 15 Parkman Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder presenting for treatment in youth. ADHD is often chronic with prominent symptoms and impairment spanning into adulthood. ADHD is often associated with co-occurring anxiety, mood, and disruptive disorders, as well as substance abuse. The diagnosis of ADHD by careful review of symptoms and impairment is both reliable and valid. Recent genetic, imaging, neurochemistry, and neuropsychological data support the biological underpinning of the disorder. All aspects of an individual's life must be considered in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Pharmacotherapy, including stimulants, antidepressants, and antihypertensives, plays a fundamental role in the management of ADHD across the lifespan.

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