Is ADHD a “real” disorder, or merely a construct?

becoming laurie

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) was first introduced as a mental disorder into the DSM-II (APA, 1968). Since then, ADHD has been one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorders, with estimated prevalence rates of 5-10% in children (Biederman, 2004), although the DSM-5 conservatively estimates 5% (APA, 2013) and other researchers have found prevalence rates as high as 26% (Timimi & Taylor, 2004). The disorder has caused much academic debate recently as many feel that ADHD is not a disorder, but rather a construct invented by society to explain behaviour that does not suit modern expectations of normality, productivity and conduct requirements.

ADHD does not have a simple neurological profile or medical indicators to make a diagnosis (Timimi & Taylor, 2004), despite it being classified as a “Neurodevelopmental disorder” by the DSM-5 (APA, 2013). Although there are some neurological patterns found in ADHD cases, such as frontal areas of the cortex involved…

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