Oppositional defiant disorder. Individuals with oppositional defiant disorder may resist work or school tasks that require self-application because they resist conforming to others’ demands. Their behavior is characterized by negativity, hostility, and defiance. These symptoms must be differentiated from aversion to school or mentally demanding tasks due to difficulty in sustaining mental effort, forgetting instructions, and impulsivity in individuals with ADHD. Complicating the differential diagnosis is the fact that some individuals with ADHD may develop secondary oppositional attitudes toward such tasks and devalue their importance.
Intermittent explosive disorder. ADHD and intermittent explosive disorder share high levels of impulsive behavior. However, individuals with intermittent explosive disorder show serious aggression toward others, which is not characteristic of ADHD, and they do not experience problems with sustaining attention as seen in ADHD. In addition, intermittent explosive disorder is rare in childhood. Intermittent explosive disorder may be diagnosed in the presence of ADHD.
Other neurodevelopmental disorders. The increased motoric activity that may occur in ADHD must be distinguished from the repetitive motor behavior that characterizes stereotypic movement disorder and some cases of autism spectrum disorder. In stereotypic movement disorder, the motoric behavior is generally fixed and repetitive (e.g., body rocking, self-biting), whereas the fidgetiness and restlessness in ADHD are typically generalized and not characterized by repetitive stereotypic movements. In Tourette’s disorder,