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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2013 December;54(4):317-28

language: English

Personality disorders in adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Ramos-Quiroga J. A. 1, 2, 3, Vidal R. 1, 2, 3, Prats L. 1, 3, Casas M. 1, 2, 3

1 Service of Psychiatry Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, CIBERSAM Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain;
2 Department of Psychiatry and Legal Medicine Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;
3 Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addiction Group Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca Vall d’Hebron University Hospital Barcelona, Spain


The aim of this article was to review the relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and personality disorders (PDs) in adults. Several studies have focused on ADHD and normal personality traits, showing that ADHD patients present personality traits that are highly related to deficits in response inhibition and in the reward system such as low self-directessnes, persistence (Cloninger’s model), low conscientiousness (Big Five Model) and high neuroticism and high activity (Zuckerman’s approach). High sensation seeking is more related to antisocial personality disorder than ADHD symptoms. Relating to personality disorders, ADHD is highly interlinked to cluster B personality disorders. Concretely, ADHD share features with borderline personality disorder (difficulties in emotional regulation or interpersonal instability) and antisocial personality disorder (impulsivity an difficulties in maintaining long term goals). The hyperactive subtype present more comorbidity with narcissistic personality disorder and the inattentive subtype higher levels of cluster C personality disorders. Longitudinal investigations suggest that the presence of ADHD during childhood could predispose for the development of PDs in later life. ADHD has shown to be a heterogeneous disorder in relation to personality traits and also different personality features have been observed between ADHD subtypes.

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