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Yale Psychologist Urges Re-conceptualization of ADHD

We have just received the following press release:

Feb 13, 2006 11:32 ET

Book Dispels Outdated Notions of ADHD as a Behavior Disorder
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Outmoded notions of ADHD as a simple problem of misbehavior are boldly dispelled in a new book by clinical psychologist Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders at the Yale University School of Medicine. "It's time to discard the old notion of ADHD as a behavior disorder because it's simplistic and does not reflect current neuroscience or clinical reality," says Brown.

In Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults (Yale University Press), Brown asserts that understanding ADHD as an impairment of the brain's management system-rather than a behavior problem- answers the biggest mystery about children and adults with the disorder. This radical shift in paradigm, from seeing ADHD as a behavior problem to understanding it as a developmental impairment of the brain's complex cognitive management system, is a bold and explicit appeal to re-conceptualize and redefine this disorder.

"How can someone focus very well on a few specific activities that strongly interest them, but not be able to get focused on many other activities of daily life that they recognize as important?" asks Brown. His explanation is that the capacity to focus is present, but neural networks that prioritize and turn these functions off or on, the executive functions, are chronically impaired in those with this disorder.

These cognitive functions, imperfect in all individuals, but much more impaired in individuals with ADHD, include:

* Activation: Organizing, prioritizing and activating to work.
* Focus: Focusing, sustaining, and shifting attention to tasks.
* Effort: Regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed.
* Emotion: Managing frustration and regulating emotions.
* Memory: Utilizing working memory and accessing recall.
* Action: Monitoring and self-regulating action.

"Impairment of self-management often looks like a willpower problem, but it is not," insists Brown. "It is essentially a problem of chemical transmission in management networks of the brain. It's time to replace simplistic, outdated theories of ADHD so that children and adults suffering with attentional impairments can be recognized without stigma and can get the treatment they need."

Research has shown that without appropriate identification and treatment, individuals with ADHD have at least double the risk of low academic achievement, having to repeat a school grade, dropping out of high school or college, getting fired from a job, unintentional injuries, motor vehicle accidents, poor interpersonal skills and strained relationships, low self esteem and/or substance abuse. They also have been shown to have more than six times the likelihood of having at least one additional psychiatric disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Information about Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults and Dr. Brown is available at Dr Thomas Brown.

Source: Yale University Press

For more information about Dr Thomas Brown and his work visit his website at: Dr Thomas Brown Where you can also subscribe to his very informative Newsletter. For a copy of his first Newsletter click here to see for yourselves then go and subscribe to make sure you get your own future copies via email. For Details of this great book and the book review click here

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