Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

ADHD is a behavioural construct, not a psychiatric condition

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 27 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7071
  1. Iain McClure, child and adolescent psychiatrist1
  1. 1Esk Centre, NHS Lothian, Musselburgh EH21 6AB, UK
  1. iain.mcclure{at}

In their helpful overview, Thomas and colleagues explain that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is probably being overdiagnosed because ascertainment of degree of impairment (mild, moderate, or severe) is subjective and therefore unreliable.1

However, the ADHD concept itself is inherently subjective. ADHD is diagnosed according to the recorded presence (or absence) of attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. …

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