Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) - Diagnostic Tools, Treatments, Neurochemistry, Genetics, and Environmental Influences: A Review

by Laura Niclasen

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder; ADHD; Attention Deficient Disorder; ICD-10; DSM-IV; Genetics; Dopamine; Serotonin; Neurochemistry; Noradrenaline; Methylphenidate; Atomoxetine; Stimulants; Non-stimulants; CBT; SNPs
Record ID: 1119892
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/16457


Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a complex psychiatric disorder caused 75% by mutations and influenced by environmental factors such as toxins and social settings. The ICD-10 is used in the EU as a diagnostic tool, whereas the DSM-IV is used in the U.S. The two diagnostic tools have many similarities, however, there are also major differences that could result in overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis. ICD-10 does not allow for subtypes of ADHD, only gives an diagnosis to individuals with hyperactive and inattentive behaviour. This could exclude children that are predominantly inattentive, not as noticeable as an hyperactive child. The DSM-IV in contract could lead to an overdiagnosis due to allowing self, parental, and teacher, diagnosis which is not a clinical perspective. Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment methods are used in order to treat the symptomatology of ADHD. CBT and psychoeducation techniques can be used to teach the patients and the patient's family how to cope with the disorder. The majority of ADHD patients are prescribed pharmacological treatments. Though both treatment methods are effective in coping and treating ADHD, pharmacological treatments are the best option in treating a disorder in which neurochemical imbalance are mainly caused by mutations in the genetics of the dopamine, serotonin, noradrenalin, adrenalin, and other neurotransmitter/hormonal systems. Genetic testing is a possible improvement in the diagnosis of individuals with ADHD that could eliminate over/underdiagnosis by testing for common genetic markers. This could also help in deciding the most suitable pharmacological treatments for each individuals by identifying the specific neurochemical imbalance.