ADHD and autism

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. It usually presents in childhood but is seen in adolescence and can extend to adulthood. It interferes not only with a child’s ability to achieve their full academic potential but their daily routine, friendships, and family dynamics. Studies have shown that teenagers with unmedicated ADHD have a higher risk of school failure, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse as well as motor vehicle accidents.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among the elderly

The prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is approximately 1.49 – 2.2% in individuals over the age of 50 years. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder formerly considered to affect children and adolescents. However, a third of children will continue to endure significant ADHD symptoms in adulthood. DSM5 requires symptoms to be present before the age of 12 for ADHD diagnosis. Recent studies suggest a possibility of new onset ADHD in adulthood also known as “adult-onset ADHD”. There is no robust evidence to support this entity.

ADHD and epilepsy based on published consensus statement

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a strong association with paediatric epilepsy. There is a bidirectional relationship with each increasing the risk for the other. ADHD is 2.5 times more common in children with epilepsy, while epilepsy occurs 3.9 times more often in children with ADHD.1 Both can be associated independently with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), depression and anxiety. A complex multidirectional relationship exists between these disorders and the neurobiological networks connecting them. Awareness of this relationship promotes diagnostic clarity and focussed interventions.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


2 Clinical


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ADHD Briefcase - Edition 6 - 2022