Is ADHD a Real Disorder?

ADHD is considered as a real disorder since it causes what can only be defined as an “impairment” of a person’s mental facilities. Tosto helped to support this argument by stating that impaired mental functioning not brought about by outside interference (i.e. damage to the brain via external force or chemicals) can be classified as a mental disorder (Tosto 3). In the case of ADHD, the work of Mohamed points out that aside from its symptoms (ex: inability to concentrate, not being able to pay attention, hyperactivity, etc.) which cause a decline in the quality of a person’s life, there is actually evidence towards this disorder having a biological aspect to it (Mohamed 1). Kronenberg explained that studies on the brains of people with ADHD showed that there were differences in their prefrontal cortexes as compared to their contemporaries of the same age (Kronenberg 3). The prefrontal cortex is theorized as being responsible for aspects related to concentration, reflection, impulsive actions, and the ability to block external distractions (Kronenberg 4). This shows that individuals suffering from ADHD do not act that way because of their personalities; rather, it is due to the fact that one part of their brain has developed differently resulting in the manifestation of their odd behaviors and tendencies (Mohamed 4). It is based on the arguments which have been presented in this section that ADHD can be considered as an actual disorder with its own symptoms and a biological reason behind its occurrence.

One of the common arguments against classifying ADHD as a real psychological disorder are those made by Calderon and Ruben who stated that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is actually more of a collection of symptoms rather than an actual disease (Calderon and Ruben 59). The authors even stated that at some point in a person’s life, they actually show the tendencies of someone who has ADHD (i.e. hyperactivity, lack of attention, boredom, etc.); however, these behavioural aspects tend to be temporary and fade away over time (Calderon and Ruben 59). Since a real psychological disorder does not simply fade away, or is exhibited by most of the population at some point in their life, then it can be argued that ADHD as a means for diagnosing such behaviours is utilized far too broadly; and as it is sometimes used to describe common behaviours, it can’t be categorized as an adverse mental condition. In support of this statement is the work of Normand which based on the common patterns of diagnosis utilized on children that “supposedly” had ADHD (Normand 1161). The findings of Normand revealed that patterns of diagnosis for ADHD among psychologists often included factors that pertained to inattention, lack of desire to participate in class or even boredom (Normand 1165). However, outside of classes or the school itself, Normand noted these children functioned perfectly well and had no issues whatsoever. Since a true debilitating psychological condition is not environment specific (i.e. only manifests in a person in one area and not another), this means that the pattern of ADHD diagnosis used was faulty (Normand 1167). Therefore, Evarts presented the notion that the patterns of diagnosis for ADHD have significant faults and are at times looking for problems that simply were not there to begin with (Evarts 83).

Works Cited

Calderon, Orly, and Lenore Ruben. “A Contextual, Multidimensional, Interdisciplinary Approach To Assessment Of ADHD: A Best Practice Clinical Model.” Best Practice In Mental Health 4.2 (2008): 59. Print

Evarts, Lynn. “The Impact Of Empathy: A New Approach To Working With ADHD Children.” Foreword Reviews 18.1 (2015): 83-84. Print

Kronenberg, Linda M. “Coping Styles In Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patients With And Without Co-Occurring Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).” BMC Psychiatry 15.1 (2015): 1-8. Print

Mohamed, Saleh M. H. “Self-Reported ADHD Symptoms And Interhemispheric Interaction In Adults: A Dimensional Approach.” Behavioural Neurology 2015. (2015): 1-10. Print

Normand, Sébastien. “Continuities And Changes In The Friendships Of Children With And Without ADHD: A Longitudinal, Observational Study.” Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology 41.7 (2013): 1161-1175. Print

Tosto, Maria Grazia. “A Systematic Review Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) And Mathematical Ability: Current Findings And Future Implications.” BMC Medicine 13.1 (2015): 1-14. Print

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PsychologyWriting. "Is ADHD a Real Disorder?" September 26, 2023.