Hyperkinetic disorder

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Hyperkinetic disorder
SpecialtyPsychiatry Edit this on Wikidata

Hyperkinetic disorder is an outdated term for a psychiatric neuro-developmental condition emerging in early childhood. Its features included an enduring pattern of severe, developmentally inappropriate symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity across different settings (e.g., home and school) that significantly impair academic, social and work performance.[1] It was classified in the World Health Organization's ICD-10 and was roughly similar to the "combined presentation" of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5. However, in the ICD-11 the entry for hyperkinetic disorder no longer exists and is replaced by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.[2]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Hyperkinetic people display disorganized, poorly controlled and excessive activity; they lack perseverance in tasks involving thought and attention, and tend to move from one activity to the next without completing any. They are frequently accident-prone, reckless and impulsive, and may thoughtlessly (rather than defiantly) break rules. Cognitive impairment and delayed language and motor development are more common in this group than in the general population; and they may experience low self-esteem and engage in dis-social behavior as a consequence of the disorder.

While hyperkinetic children are commonly incautious and unreserved with adults, they might be isolated and unpopular with other children.[3]


Though the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Hisorder (ADHD), and the World Health Organization's criteria for hyperkinetic disorder each list a very similar set of 18 symptoms, the differing rules governing diagnosis mean that hyperkinetic disorder features greater impairment and more impulse-control difficulties than typical ADHD, and it most resembles a severe case of ADHD combined type.[1]

Unlike ADHD, a diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder requires that the clinician directly observes the symptoms (rather than relying only on parent and teacher reports); that onset must be by age 6 not 7;[4] and that at least six inattention, three hyperactivity and one impulsivity symptom be present in two or more settings. While ADHD may exist comorbid with (in the presence of) mania or a depressive or anxiety disorder, the presence of one of these rules out a diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder.[1] Most cases of hyperkinetic disorder appear to meet the broader criteria of ADHD.[5]

Hyperkinetic disorder may exist comorbid with conduct disorder, in which case the diagnosis is hyperkinetic conduct disorder.[1]


The rate in school age children is thought to be about 1.5%, compared with an estimated 5.3% for ADHD.[1]


Once the patient and family have been educated about the nature, management and treatment of the disorder and a decision has been made to treat, the European ADHD Guidelines group[6] recommends medication rather than behavioral training as the first treatment approach; and the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends medication as first line treatment for those with hyperkinesis/severe ADHD, and the provision of group parent-training in all cases of ADHD.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Banaschewski, Tobias; Rohde, Louis (2009). "Phenomenology". In Banaschewski, Tobias; Coghill, David; Danckaerts, Marina (eds.). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Hyperkinetic Disorder. Oxford, UK: OUP. pp. 3–18. ISBN 9780191576010.
  2. ^ ICD-11 Implementation version. who.int
  3. ^ "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) Version for 2010". World Health Organisation. 2010. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  4. ^ Professor Michael Fitzgerald; Dr. Mark Bellgrove; Michael Gill (30 April 2007). Handbook of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. John Wiley & Sons. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-470-03215-2.
  5. ^ Santosh, Paramala J; Henry, Amy; Varley, Christopher K (24 January 2008). "ADHD and hyperkinetic disorder". In Peter Tyrer; Kenneth R. Silk (eds.). Cambridge Textbook of Effective Treatments in Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press. p. 782. ISBN 978-1-139-46757-5.
  6. ^ Banaschewski T, Coghill D, Santosh P, et al. (March 2008). "[Long-acting medications for the treatment of hyperkinetic disorders - a systematic review and European treatment guideline. Part 1: overview and recommendations]". Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie (in German). 36 (2): 81–94, quiz 94–5. doi:10.1024/1422-4917.36.2.81. PMID 18622938.
  7. ^ Coghill, David; Danckaerts, Marina (2009). "Organizing and Delivering Treatment". In Banaschewski, Tobias; Coghill, David; Danckaerts, Marina (eds.). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Hyperkinetic Disorder. Oxford, UK: OUP. pp. 91–106. ISBN 9780191576010.

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