Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Pediatric

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Pediatric is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests in early childhood characterized by distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and/or inattention.
  • Three subsets: predominantly hyperactivity impulsive (ADHD-HI), predominantly inattentive (ADHD-I), or combined (ADHD-C)
  • System(s) affected: nervous
  • Synonym(s): attention deficit disorder; hyperactivity


  • Predominant age: onset <12 years; lasts into adolescence and adulthood; 50% meet diagnostic criteria by age 4 years.
  • Predominant sex: male > female (2:1); ADHD-I is more common in girls.

5–11% of children 4 to 17 years

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Not definitive

Familial pattern

Risk Factors

  • Family history
  • Medical causes (affecting brain development)
  • Environmental causes (toxins such as lead, fetal alcohol, and nutritional deficiencies)

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Depression (in up to 1/3 of cases)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Learning disabilities

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