What ADHD is Not

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A number of psychiatric disorders may be confused with ADHD or may occur along with ADHD.

Although the possible overlap in symptoms may make it challenging, it is important to differentiate ADHD from other psychiatric disorders to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and proceed with an appropriate patient management plan.1

Additionally, ADHD is not about intelligence or motivation. However, life at school, at work, and at home can be challenging when it is hard to pay attention, stay organized, and maintain appropriate behavior in social settings.2,3

Additional information regarding the neurobiological basis of ADHD can be found here.


  1. Pliszka S; AACAP Work Group on Quality Issues. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007;46(7):894-921.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. (DSM-5®). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.
  3. Katusic MZ, Voigt RG, Colligan RC, et al. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with high intelligence quotient: results from a population-based study. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011;32(2):103-109.