DEFINITION, DIAGNOSIS, & CORE SYMPTOMS
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is diagnosed ADHD is diagnosed via the DSMV which focuses on the presentation of 6 symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity in at least two different settings, demonstrated consistently for at least 6 months with some presentation before the age of 12.
The DSMV (2013) also now accommodates adult diagnosis by identifying 5 symptoms each of inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive nature. Diagnosis should always be sought from a specialist paediatrician or psychiatrist.
The core symptoms of ADHD are Inattention & Hyperactivity/Impulsivity. All three refer to an consistent (but not exclusive) inability to self regulate attention, motor movement, and inhibition respectively. These self regulation challenges appear inconsistently but present as a consistent pattern over time which is why they must be present for at least 6 months according to DSMV.
They must also be developmental age appropriate or without alternate cause which is why the DSMV excludes children under 6 and people with other conditions that my be contributing to these symptoms.