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Revista de la Facultad de Medicina (México)

On-line version ISSN 2448-4865Print version ISSN 0026-1742


SAUCEDA GARCIA, Juan Manuel. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A public health problem. Rev. Fac. Med. (Méx.) [online]. 2014, vol.57, n.5, pp.14-19. ISSN 2448-4865.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral childhood syndrome and it may continue throughout adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty to maintain attention, hyperactivity and difficulty to control behavior. Its prevalence is 5% in childhood and 2.5% in adulthood. Affected individuals suffer, more than those not affected, from multiple mental problems like deficient academic and occupational performance, substance abuse, legal problems, accidental injuries, poor health choices, precocious paternity, divorce, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, suicidal conduct, etc.

The medical professionals best qualified to diagnose ADHD are psychiatrists and neurologists, especially those specialized in children. The treatment approach that has shown to be more effective in cases of medium to high severity is drug prescription (stimulants or atomoxetine as a first choice), with best results when this is accompanied by psychosocial treatment.

Due to its high prevalence and the long-term impact of having this disorder, the identification and treatment of ADHD requires a public health approach. The limited number of mental health professionals and resources in our country makes it of paramount importance that primary care providers improve their ability to asses and treat ADHD.

Keywords : Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; public health.

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