Felicia Wong, in a posting on the Healthy Minds. Healthy Lives. blog (the American Psychiatric Association’s online resource for mental health issues), refers favourably to a Wall Street Journal article on adult ADHD. As the article says, ADHD is "thought to be an imbalance in neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that relay signals in the brain, particularly in the frontal cortex that governs planning and impulse control." Ivan K. Goldberg, a psychiatrist in New York City, who co-developed a commonly used screening test, is quoted as saying "What it really is is a disturbance of the executive functions of the brain".
Dr Wong recommends that those who suspect they have ADHD should have a thorough evaluation with a psychologist or psychiatrist. How do psychologists or psychiatrists know if there is an executive brain dysfunction? It's an hypothesis but how do we know whether it's true? Using the screening test co-developed by Dr Goldberg is not a diagnostic test, although there are rating scales used for diagnosing ADHD. But they're not measuring executive brain dysfunction. So what is being diagnosed when a diagnosis of adult ADHD is made and why link it to speculation about executive brain dysfunction? It's just a convenient way of viewing the world, isn't it?.