Book by Susan Young and Jessica Bramham
Review by Debra L. Dukes
Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, UT
Many people think of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a childhood disorder. Nothing could be further from the truth. While estimates of how many adults are diagnosed with ADHD vary widely, it is estimated that possibly 2% of all adults could meet the criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder (Shaffer, 1994 as cited on p. 5). Meeting the criteria for the disorder is an important point since the disorder is often misdiagnosed and can occur in combination with many other social, educational, and medical problems (p. 16).
As recent events at Virginia Tech and other educational institutions illustrate, we should all be concerned with psychiatric and psychological disorders that affect our students. ADHD could be one of the most common disorders we see in students without even realizing it. This disorder does not just affect a person’s ability to learn; the many symptoms, as this book clearly points out, can and do affect all aspects of an individual’s life. While the authors do a nice job introducing ADHD to the reader (including the prevalence of the disorder, core symptoms, treatment, and related problems of the disorder), the book is offered as a guide of practice for professionals who work with and care for persons with ADHD (foreword, p. xv).
Although the primary audience for this book is health professionals, educators will find it helpful. Core symptoms of the disorder -- inattentiveness, memory problems, and distractibility -- can certainly affect the educational process as well as cause social and emotional issues. Dealing with the many day-to-day symptoms of the disorder is the major strength of the book. The authors offer a somewhat standard “cognitive behavioral framework” (p. xiv) for those who treat the disorder as well as for those who work to educate people with the disorder. The book can also be useful for those who suffer from ADHD themselves. More than half of the book’s content addresses the problems associated with ADHD; authors offer practical, action-oriented activities and techniques for dealing with the many and varied symptoms. The methods addressed in the book include everything from coping with frustration and anger, to dealing with criticism and impulse control. Another strength of the book is how these methods and techniques are presented. Authors offer many examples, diagrams, and charts that detail the process of identification and provide information on how to work through specific problems. The chapter dealing with substance abuse, which is more common in adults with ADHD than in the general population, is particularly relevant and practical (pp. 233-252). The challenges for those who suffer from ADHD are well chronicled; authors provide a wealth of information for those seeking to understand the disorder and how to successfully live with it.
As academic professionals, we deal first-hand with the many obstacles students face. How many of us count the abilities “to cope” and “to persist” as two of the major triumphs of many college graduates? This book is a primer in understanding obstacles faced by students with of this disorder. For those who advise students with ADHD, the problems and issues discussed here, along with the methods for overcoming them, are worth the read.
ADHD in Adults: A psychological guide to practice. (2007) Book by Susan Young and Jessica Bramham. Review by Debra L. Dukes. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 318 pp., $50.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-470-01232-1