chapter  8
12 Pages

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) including its apparent increasing prevalence in recent years has attracted much debate and controversy. Cohen suggests that uncritical acceptance of ADHD as a condition could displace parental responsibility for a child's unacceptable behaviour. Perhaps the identification of ADHD is medicalising deviant and even ordinary behaviour. Some behavioural signs in psychiatric assessment guidance are, if taken singly, merely aspects of normal childhood behaviour. ADHD is more common in the biological relatives of children having the disorder than in the biological relatives of children who do not. Twin studies show a greater incidence of ADHD among identical twins than non-identical twins. Possible causal factors of ADHD are genetic, physiological, psychological and environmental. Early identification of ADHD followed by suitable intervention tends to improve outcomes. Criteria such as those already explained are used in identifying and assessing ADHD as part of wider assessment procedures.