ADHD in under-18s: background and assessment

by Dr Maia H. Forrester and Dr Fiona C.M. Forbes


Published: March 2013


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the term most widely used to cover a group of chronic behavioural disorders characterised by persistent and disabling levels of restlessness and overactivity. These symptoms are usually combined with impulsiveness and/or inattention beyond developmental norms. 


ADHD remains a controversial subject within public and professional spheres, and while this module does acknowledge the body of critical literature, the authors support the view that ADHD is a valid diagnosis that can be reliably diagnosed and effectively treated.


ADHD has a high rate of comorbidity with other disorders and is associated with multiple negative outcomes for those affected. This makes the disorder a significant economic burden on society, and it is therefore important that health professionals (including psychiatrists working in child, adolescent and adult services) are familiar with the possible presentations of ADHD and the options for treatment.


This module provides background information about ADHD and outlines the guidelines for assessing young people displaying symptoms of the disorder. The authors are currently working on a second module, which will cover the recommended options for intervention and treatment.


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Please note: This module was published in 2013. A revision is being worked on, but in the meantime please be aware when completing the module that some of the guidance may have changed.


If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Adult ADHD by Dr Ian Ellison-Wright and Dr Louise Fountain


Assessment of mental health problems in children and adolescents with intellectual disability by Dr Muthukumar Kannabiran and Dr Sarah Bernard


Behavioural problems in the under fives: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 by Dr Margaret Thompson and Dr Paula Jenkins


Complementary medicines for ASD and ADHD by Dr Ursula Werneke



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