Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition, characterised by excessive levels of inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviour. Some people diagnosed with ADHD will display some of these behaviours more than others.
Symptoms are usually present from early childhood and often persist into adulthood. They are associated with impairment in social and academic or occupational functioning.
Other disorders frequently accompany ADHD, such as Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, tic disorders and learning disorders.
Assessment for ADHD should be performed by a specialist clinician. It should be comprehensive to ensure that the individualised management plan developed for the person addresses his or her specific needs, is culturally appropriate, and takes into consideration the family situation, including the capacity to adhere to the plan.
As a minimum, the DSM-5 or ICD-11 diagnostic criteria should be met for a diagnosis of ADHD to occur.
If medication is to be used in the management of ADHD, psychostimulants are the first line of treatment. Prescribing or supplying of psychostimulant medicines requires prior authorisation by the NSW Ministry of Health. See Prescribe a psychostimulant medication and FAQs on prescribing psychostimulants for more information.