1st Edition

Experiences and Explanations of ADHD An Ethnography of Adults Living with a Diagnosis

By Mikka Nielsen Copyright 2020
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    Experiences and Explanations of ADHD: An Ethnography of Adults Living with a Diagnosis presents research on the lived experiences of those diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Drawing on in-depth interviews with adults diagnosed with ADHD, the book provides an examination of how the diagnosis is understood, used, and acted upon by the people receiving the diagnosis.

    The book delves into the phenomenology of ADHD and uncovers the experiences of a highly debated diagnosis from a first-person perspective. It further considers these experiences within the context of our time and culture and contributes to a discussion of how to understand human diversity and deviance in contemporary society. Studying both societal conditions behind the emergence of ADHD, questions concerning everyday life with ADHD, and interpretations of the diagnosis, the book offers an analysis of the intertwinement of experiences of suffering and diagnostic categories.

    This book will appeal to academics, researchers, and postgraduate students in the fields of cultural psychology and medical anthropology, as well as those with an interest in the sociology of diagnoses.

    Series editor's introduction



    1. Introduction

       Aim of the book

       A diagnosis of our time

       An anthropological approach to ADHD

       Clarifying concepts: ADHD as experience and diagnostic category

       Structure of the book

    2. An old disorder or a recent product of medicalization? 

       A story of ADHD as an ever-present disorder

          The incapacity of necessary attention

          Children suffer from immortality

          Minimal brain damage and anti-school behaviour

          A question of neurology: the rise of medical treatment

          The DSM era

       A one-sided story of ADHD

       A critical explanation of ADHD

          Medicalization of society

          Social, political, and cultural factors behind the emergence of ADHD

          Ritalin on the market

          Diagnosing adults with ADHD

       Concluding remarks

    3. What is a diagnosis? 

       Diagnostic criteria and clinical guidelines

       What is diagnosis for?

       Creating mental illness

       Putting a name to it

       Living in a diagnostic culture

       A neurochemical era

          A shift in thinking about the human being

          The self in medical terms

       Conluding remarks

    4. Experiences and implications of getting an ADHD diagnosis

       The explanatory force of a diagnosis and questions of responsibility

       Restructuring narratives and self-perceptions

       Evaluating yourself and considering new questions

       Restructuring practices and crafting skills

       Ambivalence towards the diagnosis

       Taking medication and experimenting with experiences

       A moral concern: becoming the person you want to be

       Concluding remarks

    5. Explaining and making use of an ADHD diagnosis 

        Dynamics between explanations and experiences

       Identifying with ADHD

       Distancing from ADHD

       Explanations of ADHD and expectations of treatment

       Having or being ADHD?

       Concluding remarks

    6. ADHD as a temporal phenomenon 

       Studying rhythms and experiences of time

       The rhythms of the body

       When the world is at a different pace

       Social synchronization: trying to keep up but lagging behind

       Developing time-work strategies

       Is society catching up on ADHD

       Concluding remarks

    7. Conclusion

       Becoming someone with ADHD

       Explanatory models of ADHD

       ADHD as a relational phenomenon

       Avenues for future research

       Implications and recommendations for practice



    Mikka Nielsen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Health Research in the Humanities, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.