Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Are concerns about DSM-5 ADHD criteria supported by empirical evidence?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 27 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7072
  1. Samuele Cortese, child neuropsychiatrist1
  1. 1Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK
  1. samuele.cortese{at}

Thomas and colleagues are worried about the recent change in the maximum age of symptom onset in the diagnostic criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from 7 years in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) to 12 years in DSM-5.1 2 3 They think that this change may increase “the risk of confusing ADHD with normal developmental processes, such as pubertal restlessness and distractibility.” Although it …

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