ADHD Defined

  • Super User

This is not the official classification of ADD or ADHD, but an "easy reference" summary of ADD / ADHD, by Christopher Green (1997). It is also important to note that since then, much research has been done and have broadened our perspective and understanding of ADD and ADHD.

Christopher Green 1 described ADHD by dividing ADHD in four parts:

The first two parts of ADHD arechristopher green adhd

1. ADHD : Hyperactive-impulsive behaviour

2. ADHD : Attention deficit-learning problems

The third part

3. A co-morbid condition

  • e.g.. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Poor coordination
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder

The fourth part

4. The Child's living environment

  • Supportive parenting vs hostile, critical parenting
  • This is why it is important for parents to diagnose ADHD, because critical parenting will worsen the effects of ADHD, especially in the adolescent years. NB: This is not permissive parenting. Discipline and structure is pivotal to the ADHD, but in a supportive way rather than being critical.
  • Supportive schooling vs un-accepting education
  • An extended stable family vs isolation and rejection

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 3 primary symptoms are defined in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V)”. dsm v

  1. inattention,
  2. impulsiveness and
  3. hyperactivity

Lets briefly explain all these types and definitions:

  1. ADHD predominantly inattentive type
    (predominant problems of attention, learning and executive control)

  2. ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type
    (hyperactive, impulsive, poor self control of behaviour. Behaviour Inhibition Disorder)

  3. A comorbid condition
    ADHD doesn't cause any of the co-morbid conditions, but it appears as if many of these co-morbid conditions coexists with ADHD.

  4. Living Environment
    In the past, bad parenting was to blame for ADHD children in schools, which obviously either made parents more strict and unsupportive or left parents with a feeling of guilt and hopelessness.

Disclaimer: Since the writing of this article, ongoing research might have changed what we know about ADD/ADHD. For one thing, the classification has changed since DSM-IV and Barkley has another viewpoint on the classification for ADHD. See updated criteria for diagnosis HERE


  1. Green, C. (1997). Understanding ADHD

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