ADHD is an increasingly prevalent developmental disorder, especially in the western world where prevalence rates are estimated around 12%.

According to both the DSM-IV and the ICD-10 it refers to three major problematic domains: attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Subtypes of ADHD have been coded accordingly as a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (H), predominantly inattentive (I) and a combined type (C).

Age is an important factor in the clinical/behavioral manifestations of ADHD. Symptoms, in fact, vary according to brain maturation. The hyperactive aspects, for instance, tend to subside with age, even if longitudinal research demonstrated that over 30% of children with ADHD grow up to be adults with significant ADHD related problems.

Gender also plays an important role in ADHD, with a 1:10 male prevalence in clinical samples (Cortese et al., 2006). It also appears to have a strong influence over behavioral symptoms and co-morbid disorders, which appear generally less disruptive in girls. ADHD holds a high potential for psychiatric and cognitive co-morbidity (mood, anxiety, conduct disorder and learning disability), with a nearly 50% rate of oppositional defiant conduct in males.

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