ADHD Criteria:

Learn If You Or A Loved One Has ADHD

Diagnostic ADHD criteria is based on the parameters set by the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The DSM is used to diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other metal illnesses and mental health conditions.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological condition is characterized by three distinct groups of behavioral symptoms.

ADHD symptoms are based on a cluster of symptoms of Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsiveness.


The DSM states that six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have to be present for at least 6 months to the degree that these symptoms are disruptive and inappropriate for age and developmental level.

1. Often does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.

2. Often has trouble maintaining attention on tasks or play activities.

3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.

4. Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).

5. Often has trouble organizing activities.

6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).

7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).

8. Is often easily distracted.

9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.


Six or more of the following Hyperactive or Impulsive symptoms must be present for at least 6 months to the extent that such symptoms are disruptive and inappropriate for age and developmental level:

1. Often fidgets with hands or feet; squirms in seat.

2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.

3. Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).

4. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.

5. Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".

6. Often talks excessively.

Impulsive Symptoms

1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.

2. Often has trouble waiting one's turn.

3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

Other Important ADHD Criteria

Impairment from the above symptoms should be present prior to age 7 and present in two or more settings (school, home, etc.). Also, there must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.

In addition, the above symptoms cannot be caused by other conditions such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other mental health disorders such as mood disorders (depression, bipolar), anxiety, dissociative disorder, personality disorders, etc.

Types Of ADHD

Based on the above criteria, there are three types of ADHD that have been identified: 1) Primarily Inattentive Type, 2) Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and 3) Combined Type.

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