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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): progress and controversy in diagnosis and treatment

  • D. M. Foreman (a1) and S. Timimi (a2)

Knowledge about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is rapidly accumulating. Recent advances in diagnosis, genetics, neuroimaging, drug and non-drug treatments are considered, and the results are related to the critical attack on the ADHD diagnosis, which argues it a medicalising social construct, unhelpfully sustaining power relationships. The advances reviewed suggest that, while this attack can be conclusively dismissed as wrong and misleading, the phenomenological definition of ADHD is no longer sufficient for construct validity, though continues to be valuable as a guide for clinicians. The humanising and individualising concerns underlying the attack on the diagnosis could usefully be redirected to improving effective measurement of patient outcomes.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: D. M. Foreman, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, PO85, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, 16 De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK.(Email:
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