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The Developmental Psychopathology Approach To ADHD

Developmental psychopathology is a complex approach to learning child years problems and atypical development, in the framework of human being development. There are several issues in defining and classifying abnormality, such as different levels of intensity of the trouble. It is possible the kid could outgrow the symptoms, this could be a phase the child is certainly going through, for example being in a new environment as this may influence children more than it may affect adults. Another problem with defining and classifying abnormality is the parental views of the behaviour, it needs to be set up if the child's parents and parents of other children with similar behavior have the same views of the behavior. It requires to be looked at if treatment could prevent the child growing up to be unnatural and reduce the probability of problems later on in life. The affects of being labelled as excessive for the kid can affect children in a different way. To get over these problems a model was required, which considered biological, psychological and public factors. The developmental psychopathology way is a multidisciplinary, and for that reason fulfilling the standards. Developmental psychopathology uses the dimensional methodology, which targets a range of behaviours rather than diagnostic classification. Whether the behaviour is a problem is dependant after age the child, as it is necessary to take into consideration the age related changes children proceed through. This is needed to think about what is normal and adaptive, as some behaviour can be normal at one time but may be observed as a problem at another (Hudziak et al. , 2007). However some children may develop certain skills later than other children of the same age, what is important is the kid develops the skills properly somewhat than when they are developed. The understanding of the child's level of cognitive development should be taken under consideration because it will lead to the way the behaviour is perceived, interpreted and labelled by men and women. It must be known what is normal development and the stages of development before atypical development can be diagnosed. Atypical development may appear at any stage of development with different problems at different age groups.

Another factor the developmental psychopathology way takes into account is stableness. A child's behavior can depend on stability, as their behavior is more attentive to environmental changes. This can include which parents are present in the child's environment, because it can impact upon their behaviour. Clinician's have to decide whether the child has problems or if the issue is part of your intolerance, ignorance, or misunderstanding with respect to the adult (Campbell, 1983).

Psychometric checks uses sample behaviour, which can be usually scores on the test, to generalise and allow comparisons of a person to a norm of their sample population. An example of a psychometric test is the Wechsler Cleverness Level for Children runs on the variety of different job to generate an IQ, without needing reading or writing ability. This is used to detect different problems, such as learning complications and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). However there is no specific pattern of results for ADHD, so that it would be difficult to analyze a child using this test. Though it can be handy showing discrepancies in attention and emotional difficulties it will not be utilized as a diagnostic tool. Testing, like the Wechsler Intelligence Level for Children, are then used in conjunction with other relevant testing, such as way of measuring accomplishment and observations, to evaluate the consequences of the framework and give a diagnosis. Out of this clinicians can suggest treatment or treatments that are best for the child, and the interventions can be assessed throughout time using these screening methods. Nevertheless the tests used have to be valid and reliable because the testing will be utilized for analysis and classification of people.

The childhood condition to be reviewed is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disruptive behavior. ADHD was first identified by Still (1902, as cited in Barkley, 2003) with symptoms including aggressiveness, defiant, overly mental and cruelty towards others. In the 1950's it was labelled as "Hyperactive Child Syndrome", with researchers, such as Chess (1960), empathising the hyperactivity as the defining feature. The disorder was first recognised by the DSM II (American Psychiatric Relationship, 1968), as Hyperkinetic Result of Childhood disorder. This was altered to empathise the value of inattention and impulsivity in ADHD in the DSM III-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 1987) by labelling the disorder as Attention Deficit Disorder with/without hyperactivity. Based on the DSM IV-TR, (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) the fundamental features of ADHD are the habits of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. As more research has taken place, from first being detailed the definition of ADHD has modified greatly. This survey will concentrate on how ADHD is diagnosed, treatment and the factors which may have an impact on children with ADHD in social and academics contexts.


ADHD is a disorder that develops in some children during early on childhood, and may continue into adulthood. ADHD effects 3-5% of most institution aged children, resulting in it being the mostly diagnosed behavioural disorder in children. There are three subtypes of ADHD, which are

ADHD predominantly inattention

ADHD predominantly hyperactivity and impulsivity

ADHD put together inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity

Inattention identifies trouble orienting to stimuli, or even a failure to identify stimuli. It can be seen in responding to the wrong aspects of a stimulus or even to an entirely inappropriate stimulus. And a failure to maintain attention to task-relevant stimuli, in addition they show they are easily distracted or have a brief attention period. Impulsivity includes the failing to inhibit responding, or quick responding with numerous errors made in the response. Failing to totally appreciate all areas of instructions given is a feature of impulsivity. Children with ADHD with symptoms of impulsivity do not stop to think about consequences of these actions, this can sometimes place themselves in dangerous and high-risk situations. They often times do not consider the impact with their actions or claims on others. These children are more likely to respond aggressively, this may be verbally or literally, when frustrated or psychologically harm by others. Hyperactivity is usually a problem when the kid is at a restrictive environment where awareness is required. It has been known that hyperactive behaviours can be evoked by book or new situations (Barkley, 1981).

For ADHD to be diagnosed six or even more symptoms of inattention must be there for at least six months, the symptoms must be disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level.

A few inattention symptoms are stated:

Often does not give close focus on details or makes careless flaws in schoolwork, work, or alternative activities.

Often has trouble keeping attention on responsibilities or play activities.

Often does not seem to pay attention when spoken to straight.

Often does not follow instructions and does not finish schoolwork, tasks, or duties at work (not scheduled to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions).

Often has trouble organizing activities.

For ADHD to be diagnosed six or more symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity must be present for at least six months, the symptoms must be disruptive and improper for developmental level

A few hyperactivity symptoms are listed:

Often fidgets with hands or toes or squirms in chair.

Often gets up from chair when staying in chair is expected.

Often operates about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or parents may feel very restless).

A few impulsivity symptoms are shown:

Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.

Often has trouble hanging around one's convert.

Often interrupts or intrudes on others.

DSM IV-TR (American Psychiatric Connection, 2000).

Some of the symptoms must have been present prior to the age group of 7 years, as well as being present in two or more environment, such as at home and college. For ADHD to be diagnosed the symptoms must make a significant impairment in the child's sociable or academic working. The disorder must be diagnosed independent of other conditions, such as spirits disorder, or a personality disorder. ADHD is associated with other disorders, for example 20-25% of children with ADHD have learning disabilities. Other associated disorders are panic, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, Tourette Syndrome, depression, sleep problems, and epilepsy.

There are a number of different ideas on the possible factors behind ADHD. These include environmental factors, such as food additives and processed sugars. Psychosocial factors suggest ADHD being a result of poor parenting skills with inconsistent rules, an over-reliance on abuse and excessive instructions. According to Barkley (1981) hyperactive children can be found to be noncompliant, attention seeking and extreme. These children need guidance. It was also found their moms were extremely directive negative as well as being less responsive to the child generally.

Biological factors can include pre-frontal cortex abnormalities, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and neurological immaturity.

Diagnosis is made through medical and family history; this begins with a physical exam, and interviews with the parents, child and instructors (as the symptoms must be present in at least two options). The parents and teachers also completed behavior rating scales. Professionals carry out observations of the child's behaviours. Finally internal testing, such as sociable and emotional adjustment checks, are completed to find out if the ADHD symptoms may be better labelled as another disorder.

Children with ADHD are commonly approved Ritalin, an amphetamine (methylphenidate hydrochloride) that boosts dopamine levels that are deficient in those with ADHD. Ritalin has side effects, which include irritability, anxiousness, sleep issues, loss of appetite, dizziness, stomachache, headaches, and proclaimed crying. The use of medication can be contributed to behavioural therapy. A multisystemic strategy, including psychoeducation, family treatment, school intervention, self-regulation skills training, would be appropriate.

Individual Differences

There a wide range of factors that may influence individual dissimilarities that can affect ADHD, for example the severity of ADHD. The severity may be the quantity of symptoms that the average person has as they need a the least six symptoms per category, therefore some children may have significantly more symptoms than others. The children with blended inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity may have a severer ADHD because they will have more symptoms and a larger range of symptoms. The sort of symptoms that the average person has may influence the severe nature of ADHD, as some symptoms may be more problematic than others, for example in inattention having difficulty organising is less of any problem as having issues with being attentive when being spoken to immediately.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk factors are any quality, condition, or situation that may increase the likelihood of developmental difficulty or disorder, in a primary or indirect way. For example, the gender of the individual can improve the likelihood of developing ADHD, as it is more prevalent in men than females, with ratios from 4:1 to 9:1.

According to Sykes (1997) ADHD is because of early on physiological problems; however this may be associated with other factors, such as maternal factors. A maternal circumstance might be the heavy use of liquor during pregnancy that can lead to attention problems (Linnet et al. , 2003). Also there's been found to be a significant relationship between smoking during pregnancy and ADHD (Thapar, et al. , 2003). Pregnancy and beginning complications, especially maternal bleeding, can result in ADHD (Milberger, 1997). Youth illnesses that entail high fevers have been proven to relate with ADHD (Dale, 2003). A significant factor is the individual's cultural environment; parents in the individual's life (such as parents and teachers) do not necessarily appreciate the distractions that children with ADHD can cause other children, as well as battling to keep the individuals attention. Individuals who've ADHD coupled with other disorders, such as learning issues and Tourette Symptoms, can become more socially isolated. Protective factors are characteristics, incidents or techniques that seem to protect the child from developing subconscious problems. Ritalin can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, along with behavioural therapy. Children with ADHD can be educated strategies and techniques for coping with difficult situations.

Family Contexts

Bowlby (1982) assumed that the parent-child romance during infancy is a central causal factor in the child's personality. This can be an upsetting theory for mothers whose children have ADHD, as they get started to feel in charge of their child's disorder. The parents of children with ADHD may have problems with chronic sorrow, this is a term used to describe that the emotions of grief and sorrow that not fully resolve when raising a kid with developmental troubles (Olshansky, 1962). Families may feel guilt about their possible hereditary contribution to their child's condition, or feel guilty for bad parenting of 'naughty' children. Parents may feel in physical form exhausted by some of the child's behaviours, especially with children that are overly active and do not concentrate very well. This helps it be difficult to find things that will interest and keep the individual busy. Parents could become upset by thoughts of the youngster being stigmatised or socially isolated at college due to behavioural characteristics of ADHD.

Social Contexts

From Bronfenbrenner's (1982) ecological systems perspective, culture plays a role in how childhood disorders are diagnosed and interpreted within the interpersonal context. For instance, Jacobson (2002) found that teachers in both the USA and the uk identify ADHD feature behaviours; nonetheless they differed significantly in what they believed to be appropriate behavior for the school room. This demonstrates cultural differences are seen in the interpretation of behaviours, and whether the behaviour sometimes appears as being disordered. A ethnic difference can be seen between the conditions of ADHD for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th model, words revision (DSM IV-TR, 2000), which says essential features of ADHD will be the patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity, and the ICD-10 (World Health Organization, 1993), which says attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms must all be there for ADHD to be diagnosed. This makes evaluations across civilizations difficult as it is determined by the criterion that was used to make the diagnosis. Nevertheless the prevalence rates of men to females having ADHD is consistent across all ethnicities (Cantwell, 1996). ADHD Working Group, consisting of clinicians and analysts from different countries, stated that ADHD is situated in both developed and growing cultures, however in many countries it is under diagnosed (Remschmidt, 2004). Research workers, such as Timimi (2004), assume that the engineering and higher rates of ADHD has emerged over recent years due to the stresses of modern European culture, for example lack of prolonged family support. There's not been any large size comparative cross-cultural studies conducted, which would be had a need to build whether ADHD is a universally experienced disorder.

A supportive environment both at home and at school is important for the individual's development, for example support at college will help the kid with their educational learning and their public skills with peers and teachers. Therefore whether the person has a supportive environment will have an effect how they develop with ADHD. Aswell as support for the child, the family may benefit from having good social support; parents with children with ADHD may find comfort, and even guidance, speaking with other parents in the same position. It could also be beneficial for the parents of children with ADHD to truly have a close extended family, and a good friend's network, because taking periods from caring for the kid for an hour may prevent the parent or guardian from becoming literally exhausted.


A large issue adjoining ADHD is whether it is triggered by genetics. ADHD is a failure in the mind circuitry occurring in development, which underlies inhibition and self-control (Barkley, 1998). Regarding to Barkley (1998) the children with ADHD whose brains have portions that are smaller than in normal children is because of genetics. Tannock (1998) advised that ADHD was the consequence of a brain dysfunction, which may be of genetic origins. A delayed or irregular development of the anxious system, specifically the frontal lobe and professional functions may be a reason behind ADHD. The neuro-developmental model advises a biochemical imbalance, which is triggered by the dopaminergic pathways from the brainstem to the basal ganglia in the frontal cortex. However disorders can run in young families because of either environmental or hereditary factors (Faraone, Tsuang, & Tsuang, 1999). It can be argued that environmental factors have an impact on the course and result, but are not the cause. There have been no genes isolated, no neuro-anatomical abnormalities have been found.


Children might not know they may have problems and need help; this means the responsibility to recognize these issues is that of the people. This is difficult, specifically for adults who aren't the mother or father of the kid, as it can be viewed as intruding into the life of a child and their family. The result of diagnosing a kid with ADHD can have a profound impact on a kid. The affects of stigmatism, prejudice and discrimination can exaggerate the severe nature of ADHD. It needs to be looked at if the labelling of ADHD will help or be considered a hindrance for every individual child.

The developmental psychopathology procedure uses multiple perspectives, therefore offering a far more eclectic medical diagnosis than using just one single perspective. It requires into account the interplay of a variety of influences, resulting in a variety of outcomes that provides a better medical diagnosis. It runs on the great breadth of theory, strategy and possible mechanisms of development to give an accurate prognosis of symptoms. It also considers maladaption as an results of development, not a disease.

Diagnostic classification systems aren't very reliable for children and adolescents, bringing the issue of whether these systems should be utilized for diagnosing children. The systems may be unreliable due to too little developmental sensitivity, as they are not predicated on a firm knowledge of developmental norms. The social validity of diagnostic classification systems must be examined, as it's been discovered that there are social distinctions in the interpretation of behaviours (Jacobson, 2002). The ethnical background and connection with the clinician included can influence that they interpret the behaviours of the kids. Therefore this may affect the identification.

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