The diagnosis and neuropsychological assessment of adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Scientific study and practical guidelines

Richard Gallagher, Joseph Blader

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recognition of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is a well documented, but relatively new development. Investigations of the disorder have indicated that disturbances in behavior and adjustment are common. These disturbances may be linked to poorly developed executive functions. This paper reviews the neuropsychological studies that have compared persons with ADHD to normal controls and to psychiatric controls. The review indicates that persons with ADHD share many neuropsychological characteristics with other persons with serious psychiatric conditions, although those with ADHD may have a particular profile of slowed performance in tasks of sustained attention and set shifting, and their use of working memory may be particularly impaired. The implications of research for clinical assessment are discussed. We contend that a neuropsychological orientation is necessary for making the diagnosis and gaining a full understanding of adult ADHD. A model for clinical assessment is proposed which utilizes a neuropsychological orientation and the targeted administration of neuropsychological instruments. The careful use of neuropsychological measures is warranted in providing an elaborate picture of a person's functioning, although the use of neuropsychological tests is not necessary to make the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-171
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume931
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adult ADHD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Diagnostic procedures
  • Neuropsychological assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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