For healthcare professionals
There are two main resources that are used around the world to define Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), which describes what are nonetheless more commonly know as ADHD subtypes with the term hyperkinetic disorders.
The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V) provides criteria for diagnosing ADHD, a description of subtypes, and other information. The criteria for diagnosis are presented here in modified form in order to make them more accessible to the general public. They are listed here for information purposes and should be used only by trained health care providers to diagnose or treat ADHD.
Although the core symptoms and conditions are very close to the DSM-IV, the ICD uses a different nomenclature and in addition all three symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity must be present. In other words, in comparison to the DSM-IV ADHD subtypes, only the ‘combined-type’ ADHD qualifies.
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The groups tasked with revising the DSM and ICD systems shared the overarching goal of harmonizing the two classifications as much as possible, for the following reasons:
- The existence of two major classifications of mental disorders hinders the collection and use of national health statistics, the design of clinical trials aimed at developing new treatments, and the consideration of global applicability of the results by international regulatory agencies.
- More broadly, the existence of two classifications complicates attempts to replicate scientific results across national boundaries.
- Even when the intention was to identify identical patient populations, DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnoses did not always agree.
Updated: 9 March 2019 by Jeremy Varnham