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Adolescent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and susceptibility to psychosis in adulthood: a review of the literature and a phenomenological case report


PD Dr Martin Jandl, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy I, University Hospital Ulm, Weingartshofer Strasse 2, 88214 Ravensburg, Germany. Email:


Aim: In contrast to affective disorders, some forms of personality disorders and drug addiction, schizophrenia is commonly not considered to be a sequela of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the prodromal stages of schizophrenia spectrum disorders do exhibit a number of common central features. To facilitate the early treatment of schizophrenic symptoms, the detection of discrete and subtle alterations in the prodromal stages of incipient psychoses is particularly important.

Methods: We review the literature on the prodromal symptoms of psychosis and present a case report, in which a phenomenological approach was used to identify subtle alterations linked to anomalous self-experience.

Results: Using the Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience symptom checklist, the case report presented here reveals attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adolescence as a precursor state of psychosis in adulthood.

Conclusions: The characteristics of this schizophrenia spectrum disorder case and its time course are derived from the specific distribution pattern of Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience items. When treating adolescent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder patients, the rare possibility of the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorder from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder like symptoms should be kept in mind.