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Is ADHD real?
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ADHD is a social construct

Many researchers have theorized that ADHD was not discovered, but “invented” by society in order to explain hyperactive behavior in children. If ADHD is real, it is a social construct used to categorize abnormal behavior.

The Argument

A theory surrounding ADHD is that the disorder was “invented”, not discovered. This suggests that ADHD is a social construct that explains behaviors viewed as abnormal in society and not an actual pathology. [1] ADHD was “discovered” in 1902, when Sir George Still, a British pediatrician, classified it as “an abnormal defect of moral control in children”. He coined the term “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” as a way to describe hyperactive children who are intelligent but cannot concentrate. [2] But wouldn’t the symptoms that Sir George Still categorized as ADHD be considered normal behavior for children? This argument has been made to counter-argue the existence of ADHD and would make sense as to why ADHD would be considered a social construct. As a society, we often like to give a name to behaviors that are considered abnormal. Hyperactivity shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as abnormal for children, since they are usually full of energy, and concentrating is difficult for many at a young age. The number of children and adults with ADHD are exceedingly higher than any other part of the world, which can also back up the theory of ADHD being a social construct. Why is it so prevalent in one area, but not so much in almost every other country? Perhaps, ADHD is an American creation and cultural condition, rather than an actual brain disorder.

Counter arguments

If we were to argue that ADHD is a social construct created by society to explain certain behaviors, then any other mental disorder would be considered a social construct. Saying that we as a society invented ADHD and other diseases such as bipolar or depression is irresponsible, as it puts individuals with these conditions at risk. By denying that these conditions exist, people may be less likely to seek treatment because of feeling shamed for not being able to function in a way that is “normal” to others. ADHD is a real condition that was discovered in the early 1900s and is still researched today. Though the causes of ADHD are still a mystery, we cannot merely say it was created by society just because we don’t have all the answers.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 20:34 UTC

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