How well do you really understand ADHD?

27th February 2015 at 00:00
We've come a long way from simply labelling children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as `naughty', but misconceptions still abound

After years of debate, dispute and scepticism, few people today question the existence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although the condition is widely perceived to be a modern epidemic, anthropologists now believe it may have been around since prehistoric times, when adventurous, restless, impulsive spirits would have made for excellent hunter-gatherers. Unfortunately these traits are less helpful in the 21st-century classroom, where it is estimated that half a million schoolchildren in the UK are affected by ADHD.

In primary schools, ADHD tends to manifest itself through hyperactivity, a short attention span and impulsive behaviour. If ADHD is undiagnosed and unsupported, by the time a student reaches young adulthood the condition can lead to academic difficulties, anxiety, depression, self-harm, increased risk of substance misuse and offending. The statistics are stark:

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