Series editor(s): Professor Barbara Katz Rothman
Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy
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|Title:||Biomedicalizing mental illness: The case of attention deficit disorder|
|Volume:||11 Editor(s): Ananya Mukherjea ISBN: 978-1-84855-080-3 eISBN: 978-1-84855-081-0|
|Citation:||Manuel Vallée (2010), Biomedicalizing mental illness: The case of attention deficit disorder, in Ananya Mukherjea (ed.) Understanding Emerging Epidemics: Social and Political Approaches (Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.281-301|
|DOI:||10.1108/S1057-6290(2010)0000011019 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Article type:||Chapter Item|
Purpose – The DSM-III reflected American psychiatry's shift from a dynamic approach to a descriptive diagnostic approach. This chapter seeks to elucidate the implications of this shift for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Methodology/approach – To shed light on this issue I analyze the diagnosis and treatment implications of this shift for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Findings – The transition to the diagnostic approach has had three consequences for the handling of ADD, and later Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): first, it increased the number of children diagnosed with the disorder; second, it encouraged clinicians to treat the disorder with psychostimulants; and third, it expanded the pool of clinicians who could prescribe stimulants.
Contribution to the field – Beyond illuminating the specific cases of ADD and ADHD, this analysis contributes to the medicalization literature by demonstrating that there is more to be studied than merely the expansion or contraction of diagnostic categories. Researchers also have to analyze the implicit assumptions within the diagnostic definitions, which have implications for the prevalence and treatment of illness.
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