Experiences and Explanations of ADHD
An Ethnography of Adults Living with a Diagnosis
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.
Table of Contents
Series editor's 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
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
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
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?
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
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.