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Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Adult ADHD/ADD

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1 Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Adult ADHD/ADD
Fareed A. Minhas Professor of Psychiatry Head, Institute of Psychiatry

2 Over-view Although first identified in children in the 19th century, adult ADHD was not described in literature till 1976. Wood et al j clin psychiatry 2002:63

3 Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is a common disorder associated with global and significant impairments in occupational, academic, neuropsychological, and social functioning. However, because the disruptive outward manifestations of ADHD (e.g, hyperactivity) decrease with age, adult ADHD remains somewhat hidden and under diagnosed.

4 In the past 15 years, there has been an increasing awareness of the syndromal persistence of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood. Once considered only a childhood disorder, ADHD has become increasingly recognized as a valid psychiatric disorder in adults. Faraone SV, Biederman J, Spencer T, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults: an overview. Biol Psychiatry. 2000;48:9-20

5 Comparisons with Pediatric ADHD and Prevalence
In children, the prevalence of ADHD is typically cited as between 3% and 5% of the general population while in adults, studnies suggest that the prevalence is about 4%. Longitudinal research indicates that the majority (50% to 70%) of children with ADHD continue to show impairing symptoms as they age. Simon Prevalence and correlates of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: meta-analysis The British Journal of Psychiatry (2009)

6 Compared with pediatrics and adolescent studies, adult ADHD studies have generally shown a more balanced distribution of prevalence in men and women. This may be attributable to the fact that whereas childhood referrals are usually initiated by parents or teachers, in adulthood self-referrals are common. Gershon J. A meta-analytic review of gender differences in ADHD. J Atten Disord 2002; 5:

7 Co-morbidity Adult ADHD is associated with co morbid mood, anxiety, anti social personality and substance use disorder diagnoses. However, and some data suggest that uncomplicated ADHD exists in about 20% to 25% of adults with ADHD Biederman J, Newcorn J, Sprich S. Comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with conduct, depressive, anxiety, and other disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 1991;148:

8 Genetics and Heritability Index in Adult ADHD
ADHD is a highly heritable condition When ADHD persists into adulthood, it is decidedly familial. Biederman and colleagues found a 57% prevalence of ADHD in children of adults with the disorder, which is much higher than the 15% prevalence of ADHD among siblings of children with ADHD. Biederman J, Newcorn J, Sprich S. Comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with conduct, depressive, anxiety, and other disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 1991;148:

9 A prospective ADHD study with a 4-year follow- up examined 140 boys with ADHD and 120 boys without ADHD at baseline. Parents of persistent ADHD probands were 20 times more likely to have ADHD than parents of controls. Parents of non persistent ADHD probands showed only a 5- fold increased risk. Siblings of persistent ADHD probands were 17 times more likely to have ADHD than siblings of controls, while siblings of nonpersistent ADHD probands showed only a 4-fold increased risk

10 Brain Imaging Data of adult ADHD
Most work has considered the impairment of executive functions (motor execution, inhibition, working memory), and as such a number of attention networks and their anatomical correlates (e.g. the cerebello- (Thalamo-)-Striato-cortical network seems to play a pivotal role in ADHD pathology from childhood to adulthood)

11 Early studies suggested that individuals with ADHD had smaller total cerebral volume and showed loss of the normal asymmetry in the size of the caudate nucleus (Castellanos et al., 1996). Newer Neuroimaging assays have most consistently implicated abnormalities of the dorsal prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in the pathophysiology of ADHD. Reduced metabolic rates have been reported in the left and in the premotor and superior prefrontal cortices of adults with ADHD

12 Two ligand-based SPECT studies of adults diagnosed with ADHD reported marked elevations of dopamine transporter levels in the basal ganglia (Dougherty et al., 1999; Krause et al., 2000 After four weeks of 5 mg methylphenidate treatment three times daily, decreased to control levels

13 Functional Impairments
Recently published longitudinal research findings indicate that ADHD in adults is a far more impairing disorder than many other disorders (eg, anxiety and mood disorders) across multiple domains of major life activities, especially educational occupational functioning money management more accidents and near-accidents marital and interpersonal relations problems & management of daily responsibilities Wilens TE, Dodson W. A clinical perspective of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder into adulthood. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65:

14 Elevated prevalence of substance abuse/dependence has consistently been reported in adults with ADHD
An estimated 17% to 45% of adults with ADHD have histories of abuse or dependence and 9% to 30% have histories of drug abuse or dependence. Studies have shown that compared with adults who do not have ADHD, adults with co morbid ADHD and substance abuse/dependence have an earlier onset and a greater severity of substance abuse . Schubiner H, Tzelepis A, Milberger S, et al. Prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder among substance abusers. J Clin Psychiatry. 2000


16 Steps in the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults
1. Assess current ADHD symptoms (within the last 6 months) using rating scales with adult norms. 2. Establish a childhood history of ADHD. 3. Assess functional impairment at home, work and school and in relationships. 4. Obtain developmental history, including during prenatal, childhood and school years 5. Obtain psychiatric history: rule out other psychiatric disorders or establish comorbid diagnoses (e.g., learning disabilities, mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders and substance abuse, especially marijuana abuse 6.Obtain family psychiatric history, especially concerning learning problems, attention and behaviour problems, ADHD and tics. Enquire about all first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and offspring).

17 Diagnosis Criteria for ADHD are specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) DSM-IV describes 3 subtypes of ADHD Predominately hyperactive Predominately inattentive Mixed type with symptoms of other 2 categories

18 Criticisms of DSM-IV Never been validated in adults
Doesn’t include developmentally appropriate symptoms for adults Fails to identify some significantly impaired adults who would benefit from treatment The subtlety and subjectivity of ADHD symptoms in adults and the absence of a single gold standard for confirming diagnoses makes assessment challenging

19 Wender UTAH criteria The Utah criteria proposed by Wender for use in diagnosis of adult ADHD require a retrospective childhood diagnosis, ongoing difficulties with inattentiveness and hyperactivity, and at least two of the remaining five symptoms. Ward MF, Wender PH, Reimherr FW: The Wender Utah Rating Scale: an aid in the retrospective diagnosis of childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry  1993; 150:885–890; correction, 150:1280

20 Seven symptom clusters were proposed to characterize the phenomenology of adult ADHD, namely
1) inattentiveness 2) hyperactivity 3) mood lability 4) irritability and hot temper 5) impaired stress tolerance 6) disorganization, and 7) impulsivity

21 Clinical presentation
Adult ADHD patients complain of: Difficulty with concentration, attention, and short- term memory. The most common psychiatric conditions that may have overlapping symptoms with adult ADHD include Mood disorders Anxiety disorders Substance use disorders Antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder Developmental disabilities or mental retardation Medical conditions

22 Performance Testing and Psychological Testing
Copeland Symptom Checklist for Adult ADHD, a three-point severity rating scale for a broad range of cognitive, emotional, and social symptoms filled out by the patient The Wender Utah Rating Scale, a retrospective five-point severity rating scale of childhood ADHD symptoms filled out by the patient The Brown Adult ADHD Scale, a four-point frequency rating scale for cognitive symptoms associated with difficulty initiating and maintaining optimal arousal level completed by the patient The Pilot Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS), which is a frequency-based scale that matches the 18 items in theDSM Ward MF, Wender PH, Reimbers FW. The Wender Utah rating scale: An aid in the retrospective diagnosis of childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 1993;150:885–90. Erratum in: Am J Psychiatry 1993

23 Management Treatment consists of 3 parts:
providing education about ADHD psychological support to the patient and family medication treatment follow-up and continued support.

24 Psychological treatment
Education about the disorder Patients should be told that ADHD is a neurobiological developmental disorder, with further explanation of the relation between symptoms and maladaptive behaviours. Coping strategies and skills training How to use a day planner, developing routines for meal time, delegating challenging tasks

25 Cognitive behavior therapy
training of parenting skills for adult parents with ADHD vocational counseling educational remediation Bemporad JR. Aspects of psychotherapy with adults with attention deficit disorder. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2001;931:302-9.

26 Pharmacological treatment
Medication has been the first line of treatment of ADHD and has been shown to be effective and safe in adults and in children. A trial of stimulant medication requires titrating doses while monitoring ADHD symptoms (by means of serial administration of a rating scale) and side effects (e.g., hypertension, insomnia, headaches, weight loss).


28 A meta-analysis of the findings from these studies showed a weighted mean response rate of 57% to methylphenidate, 58% to dextroamphetamine and 10% to placebo. Studies have suggested that symptom reduction is dose dependent, with higher response rates accompanying higher doses Wilens TE, Spencer TJ, Biederman J. A review of the pharmacotherapy of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Atten Disord 2002;5(4):

29 Monitoring requires that the patient take the medication every day for 1 week.
The optimal dose is achieved when no further reduction in ADHD symptoms occurs and side effects are still judged to be manageable.

30 If the patient does not respond to or tolerate stimulant medication, treatment with an antidepressant may be considered. Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of the efficacy of buproprion, desipramine are useful in the management of ADHD in adults Antidepressants in adults with ADHD is similar to the response in children, with 50%–66% of patients showing a clinically significant response. Wilens TE, Biederman J, Prince J, Spencer TJ, Faraone SV, Warburton R, et al. Six-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of desipramine for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1996;153(9):

31 Atomoxetine Atomoxetine was approved by the FDA November 2002.
Classified as a norepinephrine (noradrenaline) reuptake inhibitor atomoxetine is approved for use in children, adolescents, and adults. Atomoxetine may be preferred over amphetamine-based stimulants in patients with psychiatric disorders, those who cannot tolerate stimulants, and those with a substance misuse recurring history Once- or twice-daily atomoxetine is effective in the short- term treatment of ADHD in adults, as observed in several placebo-controlled trials. A single morning dose was shown to be effective into the evening, and discontinuation of atomoxetine was not associated with symptom rebound. Prasad S, Steer C (2008). "Switching from neurostimulant therapy to atomoxetine in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

32 ADHD Screening and diagnostic scales

33 Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults is a tricky one, due to the following:
It being a spectrum disorder, it may present with different symptoms or intensity of symptoms across the life span. A high quality developmental history is required to confirm the diagnosis, which sometimes is not available There is an overlap of symptoms with other mental disorders like Autism Spectrum Disorders, Personality Disorders, and many other conditions.

34 “ADHD like traits” can be present in normal people, which cumulatively don’t qualify the diagnosis.
Secondary conditions and comorbidities sometimes make accurate diagnosis more confusing.

35 Rating Scales Wender Utah Scale is a self rated/ observer rated scale
Adult ADHD Self-report Scale Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale Brown Attention Deficit Disorders Scales

36 Wender Uttah ADHD rating scale
Aids in screening and diagnosis Self rating scale 61 item scale Cut off point – 46 Maximum score 100

37 Adult ADHD self report scale
18-Item scale Self screening tool 9 items for inattention 9 items for hyperactivity Takes approximately 5 mins It can assess the likelihood of a diagnosis and is useful as a diagnostic aid after an initial screening

38 Conner’s adult ADHD rating scale (CAARS)
Both clinician administered and self rated versions Measure frequency and severity of symptoms “ loses things necessary for tasks and activities” “appears restless inside even when sitting still 30- item frequency scale

39 Brown attention deficit disorders scale
40-Item frequency scale Clinician rated and self report forms Explores the executive functioning aspects of cognition associated with ADHD “is excessively forgetful about what has been done, said or heard in the past 24 hours” “Is easily frustrated and excessively impatient”

40 Once the patient has been screened positive
Wender-Reimherr Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Scale gives the severity of seven target symptoms

41 Structured Clinical Interviews include:
Wender-Reimher Interview, Conner’s Adult ADHD Interview Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

42 A thorough Neuropsychological Assessment of Executive Functions may give clues to the diagnosis.
Simple things like Stroop Test highlights issues with executive function like set shifting.

43 Robust diagnosis of ADHD is based upon:
1.     Family History as ADHD is highly inheritable. 2.     Development History, symptoms presenting at a young age. 3.     Present symptoms. 4.     Separating co-morbidity or secondary psychopathology from the primary one. At the end of day treatment outcome is the best indicator of the presence of disorder in the adulthood.





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