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Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2013 Jun;5(2):83-92. doi: 10.1007/s12402-012-0097-z. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Is emotional dysregulation part of the psychopathology of ADHD in adults?

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University of Basel Psychiatric Clinics, Wilhelm Klein-Strasse 27, 4012, Basel, Switzerland.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common condition in adulthood. The disorder is characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Alongside these symptoms, it is discussed whether symptoms of emotional dysregulation could add additional and better description of the psychopathology of ADHD. Neither the current ICD-10 and DSM-IV nor the upcoming DSM-5 includes symptoms of emotional dysregulation as a core aspect of ADHD. Several authors (e.g., Wender 1995) describe adult ADHD in a more differentiated way and propose concepts of the disorder that consider the subjective experiences of the adult patient by introducing the symptomatology of emotional symptoms. Empirical studies attest this dimension sufficient reliability and validity. Symptoms of emotional dysregulation are definable and seem to be distinct factors of the psychopathology of adult ADHD. Pharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions help to alleviate this type of symptoms. This review attests a decisive role to the emotional symptoms in the ADHD symptomatology, which should be taken in serious consideration by future research.

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