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Accidental IntoleranceHow We Stigmatize ADHD and How We Can Stop$
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Susan C. C. Hawthorne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977383.001.0001

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ADHD in Medicine

ADHD in Medicine

(p.13) 1 ADHD in Medicine
Accidental Intolerance

Susan C. C. Hawthorne

Oxford University Press

In medicine, the concept of ADHD blends elements from broader disease concepts, ideas about mental illness, social concerns with signs of hyperactivity or inattentiveness, scientific knowledge about mental function and dysfunction, and practical requirements of diagnosis and treatment. Evolving over the several decades, the result is the DSM-defined, predominant view of ADHD. This view emphasizes biological dysfunction in individuals as the source of symptoms and the target of treatment. Although the predominant view is often useful, and is endorsed by millions of patients and parents as well as clinicians, medical experts continue to criticize it on empirical and value-based grounds. These “insider” critics—clinicians and clinical scientists—debate alternatives, such as alternative definitions of “dysfunction,” dimensional rather than categorical models, and decreased reliance on medication. Yet in practice, multiple options remain unexplored.

Keywords:   ADHD, disease concepts, disease models, disease classification, mental disorder concepts, DSM, medicalization, reification, overdiagnosis, underdiagnosis

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