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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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1.3 The Official Diagnostic Criteria for ADHD (DSM-5)

  • The cornerstone of an ADHD diagnosis is meeting the criteria as described in the most current edition at this time of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM is the source for diagnosing ADHD as well as other developmental and mental health disorders. The DSM has been updated and revised over the years, with different editions. The fifth edition (DSM-5) is the most current at this time, published in 2013 and replacing DSM-IV and text-revised DSM-IV-TR.
  • Although much remains the same in DSM-5, there were some significant changes to the diagnostic criteria in the fifth edition, which are explained in “Changes to the DSM.”
  • For a diagnosis of ADHD, a person must show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
  • When evaluating for ADHD, the doctor, mental health professional, or other qualified clinician must collect and interpret data from multiple sources, settings, and methods to determine if DSM-5 criteria are met.

DSM-5 Criteria

  • The DSM-5 (as in previous editions) lists nine specific symptoms under the category of inattention and nine specific symptoms under the hyperactive-impulsive category.
  • To be diagnosed with ADHD, the evaluator must determine that the person often presents with a significant number of symptoms in either the inattentive category or the hyperactive-impulsive ...

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