Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized as a neurodevelopmental disorder. However, data from several recent studies suggest that there may be adults who meet current criteria for ADHD, yet did not experience symptoms until adulthood (i.e., “adult-onset ADHD”). This systematic review evaluated and synthesized the empirical evidence on adult-onset ADHD to answer the question: Is the extant literature strong enough to evaluate adult-onset ADHD? Nine studies met strict inclusion/exclusion criteria. Results suggest that the methodologies of the extant studies were not strong enough to evaluate adult-onset ADHD. Insufficient methodologies provide presently unclear information about the nature of late-onset symptoms. These symptoms seem to exist but their source could be (1) adult-emergent symptoms that were previously surpassed due to lower environmental demands/supportive facilitators, (2) mimics that were not properly assessed, or (3) childhood-onset symptoms that were not detected earlier due to failure to come to clinical attention. Future directions, clinical recommendations, and limitations of the literature and the current review are discussed.
- Adult-emergent ADHD
- Adult-onset ADHD
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health