Social Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (SDHD):

A Sibling of ADHD?

Sandy Laurens & Pieter Rossouw

The University of Queensland

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Laurens, S. D., & Rossouw, P. J. (2015). Social deficit hyperactivity disorder (SDHD): A sibling of ADHD? International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy, 3(1), 92–100. doi: 10.12744/ijnpt.2015.0092-0100


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders, affecting approximately 7% of the population, the exact cause of which is unknown. It is widely recognized as a non-curable neurobiological behavior disorder, characterized by inattention, hyper¬activity, and impulsivity, and is routinely treated using stimulant medication and behavior modifica¬tion techniques.

New research indicates a positive correlation between ADHD symptoms and physiological changes associated with the increased release of the stress hormones norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol, and a corresponding reduction in neurotransmitter levels of dopamine and serotonin. It is suggested that these physi-ological changes in children may be directly attributed to prolonged exposure to stress in early childhood, both in care facilities and the compulsory school system.

Ongoing research has linked bullying with similarly fluctuating neurotransmitter levels. Bullying is a complex and subjective behavior pattern, destructive by nature, pervading every aspect of society, and thought to affect 20% of the population. Given that bully behavior is characterized by morbid so¬cial behavior, hyperactivity and/or hyper-reality, and impulsivity, and predominates in the compulsory school system, the parallel with ADHD is observed, making the choice of the label, social deficit hyperac-tivity disorder (SDHD), appropriate.

The authors believe that the impact bullying has on learning and working environments cannot be quantified until SDHD is first recognized and accepted as a neurobiological behavioral disorder with determinate criteria. Classification of SDHD would facilitate research into the hypothesis that ADHD and SDHD are comorbid conditions and give the condition the attention it deserves.

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