ADHD Philosophical Roots

ADHD Philosophical Roots



ADHD Philosophical Roots


Discovering an integrated causative factor for ADHD is next to impossible. Numerous causes exist, and consequently, ADHD cannot be categorized as a solitary condition or disease, making it difficult to offer a single cause for ADHD. Within the biomedical environment, several different theories seeking to explain ADHD have been put forward. At the very least, this is an indicator of the intricacy faced by scientists and physicians in pursuit of simplicity. Much of the ADHD theories covered under ADHD philosophy eventually narrow in on the evidence, and the best way to interpret it. At this point, it ceases to be a pure science. Carrying out a discussion on ADHD from a philosophical viewpoint ensures that researchers avoid being confused by half facts with genuine facts. The philosophy of science has a greater ability to shed light on the issue of ADHD when compared to pure science. Throughout the years, science has depended on a formula that involves insight, a premise and subsequent testing after which it is accepted as a theory. Consequently, theories are repeatedly tested to prove their validity or relevance.

ADHD Issues in the 21st Century

In the current generation, ADHD has been touted as a medical as well as social condition. Consequently, it carries with it the implications of both areas. Top on the list of issues is the definition and understanding of the condition (Chandler, 2010). The medical fraternity has made it clear that they have not reached a consensus over what exactly constitutes ADHD. Furthermore, physicians and scientists have also been unable to agree on the most effective therapy to solve some of the adverse symptoms of ADHD (Denevi¸ 2014). This high level of uncertainty among the practitioners and biomedical experts has been translated into uncertainty within the public. Most of the patients suffering from ADHD are unsure of the way forward. This has led to difficulties sin accepting or dealing with people suffering form ADHD. For instance, there is still much debate over the definition of ADD, ADHD, Bi-polar disease, as well as Tourelle’s Syndrome. Another issue surrounding ADHD in the current era is the monopoly of pharmaceuticals controlling initiatives and opinion dealing with ADHD. Related to the first point is the large number of pharmaceuticals who have commercialized the condition. The rampant use of amphetamines, painkillers, and antipsychotic medicine has largely been endorsed, funded, and maintained by the pharmaceutical companies interested in acquiring a bigger market share rather than genuinely treating the patients (Chandler, 2010). This is in spite of the unproven claims that ADHD is purely a medical condition. Furthermore, a significant amount of professionals have proposed non-pharmaceutical alternative towards dealing with ADHD that hold the promise of positive outcomes. There are unique cases where pharmaceutical solutions significantly enhance an individual’s physical and mental condition. Every person should be constantly aware of the type of medication he/she consumes as well as the side effects (Denevi¸ 2014). However, this decision is normally left for the residing physician who may be biased in favor of pharmaceutical companies.

Theoretical Issues Surrounding ADHD

            The study of ADHD is central in the current generation mainly because of its complexity even in the face of advance medical skills and discovery of effective therapy options. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is ordinarily categorized as a neurological or a biochemical condition (Chandler, 2010). Nevertheless, despite this conventional and popular group opinion, there is little scientific proof to support these assertions. While the “science” part involving brain imaging and analysis displays real results. However, the understanding is founded almost wholly on an unverified statement. This assumption is that brain scan patterns are responsible for the disorder. This is a flawed assumption since the scanner only records the symptom but does not offer a solution as to why it is there in the first place.

            Most material on the study of ADHD and its causes provide significant skepticism on the diagnosis as well as the methods of diagnosis (Chandler, 2010). Several studies that were captured in the popular publication, The International Consensus Statement on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have concluded that the validity of ADHD has been questioned repeatedly. The creation of phrases such as “non-disease” when referring to ADHD is sufficient evidence of the theoretical tussle over the condition. Instead of categorizing it as a conventional disease, most researchers perceive ADHD as an issue has been defined as amedical disorder without a better explanation. Therefore, a different definition would not have necessarily called it ADHD or categorized it as a problem (Denevi¸ 2014).

            The analysis of theories of ADHD reveals two main categories: theories that propose that ADHD is a disorder and theories that propose ADHD occurs naturally in human beings. A lesser dominant but equally challenging theory is that ADHD is nonexistent. This last theory is imprudent as can be witnessed by the countless number of children and adults diagnosed in hospitals. The first theory proposing that ADHD is a disorder has proponents that implement the use of statistical correlations extensively (Chandler, 2010). This combined with terminology that is unique to the university lecture halls challenges the ordinary people to understand. Statistics are scarcely understood within the scientific context. In spite of the significant errors caused by scientific work, it remains that statistical relationships are not an implication of causality. Statistics are generalizations that may be manipulated and used for different purposes. Previous statistics have revealed outcomes that end up being falsified or inaccurate. Consequently, ADHD theories are analyzed under the philosophy platform since the greater debate concerns the evidence, and the best way to interpret it.

Analysis of Philosopher’s Thoughts on ADHD

Barkley’s Theory of ADHD

            In his theory, Barkley observed that people with ADHD exhibited challenges in performing executive functions. The definition of executive functions captures several self-directed actions for instance, working memory, conscience, and self-control of emotions. According to Barkley, working memory is the capacity to keep things in mind while simultaneously carrying out other cognitive tasks. Difficulties in working memory can influence the performance of the person suffering from ADHD in terms of retrospection and insight (Timimi, 2005). Retrospection enables people to learn from former experiences that can then be applied when creating plans for fresh experiences. Insight allows people to see the future and predict events so that they may direct their actions (Chandler, 2010). When combined, retrospection and insight form a window into the present, past and future that can be seen by the individual. Conscience, another executive function, grows in infants and assists them in controlling their behavior. Conscience is the inner voice that people use to talk with themselves when tackling complicated problems. This inside speech starts as ordinary speech gradually transforms into an internalized one with time. Young infants, for instance, frequently talk noisily when playing or focusing on tasks (Denevi¸ 2014). Among the older people, this speech has become subdued during teenage. By the time people are mature, they may completely suppress this instinct and only talk aloud when faced with complex problems. However, people suffering from ADHD have an almost seamless transition between conscience and thought does not occur as expected. This hinders, among other things, with their capacity to comply with rules or directives (Chandler, 2010).

Social Construction Theory of ADHD

The social construction theory of ADHD proposes that the condition is not essentially a realistic pathology. It suggests that ADHD is a socially constructed justification to explain behaviors that fail to meet approved social norms. Some supporters of the social construct theory of ADHD appear to consider the condition as authentic, though over-emphasized in contemporary cultures. These scholars quote as evidence that the conventional standards popular in the United States for diagnosing mental complications recorded higher than ordinary levels of ADHD when compared to other standards used globally (Kopnina, H., & Keune, 2010). Common proponents of this theory include Thomas Szasz, and have even noted that ADHD is a manufactured created condition.

            In his analysis of the condition, Thomas Szasz not that it was futile to pathologize the indicators of ADHD. His argument was that ADHD was not a disorder in the conventional sense. He placed the origin of the disorder on western lifestyles that increased stress on families. This phenomenon points towards environmental causes that made children exhibit symptoms of ADHD (Chandler, 2010). Szasz similarly believed that guardians who felt they were not good parents to their children opted to put the blame on ADHD as a way of redeeming themselves from culpability and blame. A regular dispute against the medical theory of ADHD claims that while the characteristics that identify ADHD are present and may be quantified, they are placed within the range of ordinary human conduct and are in no way estranged. Nevertheless, by description, in order to make a diagnosis concerning a disorder, the indicators must be understood as making a person feel stressed. In the United States, mental health standards especially the DSM-IV demand, “some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings”. Furthermore, it demands that sufficient proof must be shown that a disorder has significant effect on the quality of social, academic, or professional functioning before such a person can be said to have ADHD. In this perspective, in societies having a high level of passivity and organization, individuals that can be placed on the lower side of the active-passive band may be considered sick (Denevi¸ 2014). Using medical definitions for their actions and traits that normally include awarding labels such as ADHD serves the need to eliminate the people causing the social problem. Arguments over the social constructionist perception originate from several different studies that mention valid psychological and social disparities between those labeled as having ADHD disorders, and normal people (Chandler, 2010). Nonetheless, the exact reasons for these disparities are not clear. It is important to acknowledge that this could simply be a behavioral difference. Research has illustrated that people with ADHD have different neurological behavior. However, it is impossible to conclude using this evidence alone. Such changes in the neurological behavior can be attributed to pharmaceuticals that are accessible over the counter to alleviate ADHD symptoms (Levinthal, 2014).

Theory of Disintegration

Presented by Dabrowski, this theory argues that people born with ADHD have a higher amount of “overexcitables”, which are characteristics that make them stand out from the crowd. His theory proposed that such people held the potential to be more successful. Such people score higher on measures of creativity due to four elements: psychomotor, sensuality, imagination, and emotionality. However, this theory fails to offer a valid list of causes of ADHD (Chandler, 2010).


The diverse approaches towards understanding ADHD, its symptoms, as well as its causes have contributed greatly towards improving diagnosis and therapy. Scholars such as Thomas Szasz have argued that the societal context play a major role in shaping the existence of ADHD, its perception as a disorder and the consequent communal reaction to people showing signs of ADHD. Barkley noted that ADHD people suffered from a lack of executive functions while Dabrowski argued that people born with extremes exhibited greater potential for expression and success (Chandler, 2010). From all the three arguments by different scholars, perception is an important aspect in the case concerning ADHD. Cultural perception will determine whether the condition will be treated using drugs or other forms of therapy. However, it is clear that more research needs to be done on the causative agents of ADHD. This is to reduce cases of speculation by the medical fraternity as well as the society. This lack of information on the causative factors has created a gap that is being exploited by psychologists and pharmacist alike. The pharmacy industry prided itself on being able to “treat” ADHD using amphetamines, painkillers, and antipsychotic medicine. The question remains: is ADHD a disorder that can be treated using conventional medicine, or any other therapy method for that matter.


Top of Form

Top of Form

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Top of Form

Top of Form

Chandler, C. (2010). The science of ADHD: A guide for parents and professionals. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Denevi, T. (2014). Hyper: A personal history of ADHD. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kopnina, H., & Keune, H. (2010). Health and environment: Social science perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Levinthal, C. F. (2014). Drugs, behavior, and modern society. Boston: Pearson.

Timimi, S. (2005). Naughty boys: Anti-social behaviour, ADHD, and the role of culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

Bottom of For

How to place an order?

Take a few steps to place an order on our site:

  • Fill out the form and state the deadline.
  • Calculate the price of your order and pay for it with your credit card.
  • When the order is placed, we select a suitable writer to complete it based on your requirements.
  • Stay in contact with the writer and discuss vital details of research.
  • Download a preview of the research paper. Satisfied with the outcome? Press “Approve.”

Feel secure when using our service

It's important for every customer to feel safe. Thus, at Supreme Assignments, we take care of your security.

Financial security You can safely pay for your order using secure payment systems.
Personal security Any personal information about our customers is private. No other person can get access to it.
Academic security To deliver no-plagiarism samples, we use a specially-designed software to check every finished paper.
Web security This website is protected from illegal breaks. We constantly update our privacy management.

Get assistance with placing your order. Clarify any questions about our services. Contact our support team. They are available 24\7.

Still thinking about where to hire experienced authors and how to boost your grades? Place your order on our website and get help with any paper you need. We’ll meet your expectations.

Order now Get a quote