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Book Forum: Disorders of Childhood and Beyond   |    
Handbook of Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:512-a-513. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.3.512-a
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Davenport, Iowa

Edited by Herbert C. Quay and Anne E. Hogan. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 1999, 695 pp, $125.00.

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Approximately three-fourths of all psychopathological disorders of childhood and adolescence are the disruptive disorders: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Bringing together 53 authors from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States, this volume culls from more than 2,600 references a very comprehensive dissection of these disorders.

Including one of the late Dennis Cantwell’s last papers, this exhaustive collection of studies is both thoughtful and refreshingly pragmatic. One actually senses, after putting down this book, that there is hope out there because we now have a clearer understanding of problems long viewed as puzzling and frustrating.

To those among us who do strictly clinical, nonresearch work, a lot of the data confirm what we already know. They underline the importance of the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Toward this end, it is crucial to examine the respective causal contributions of the child, the parents, and the social environment to the child’s behavioral and cognitive problems. This belief window colors whether the child is viewed as needing help or as just bad and thus colors how the village bands together to invest in shaping the child or giving up on the child and going into punitive mode.

Russell Barkley’s chapter summarizing theories of ADHD deserves special attention. His model of the impairments in executive functions thought to be associated with the deficits in behavioral inhibition that characterize ADHD is both clear and instrumental in the understanding and formulation of treatment strategies for the disorder.

Because we know that pediatricians and family physicians are usually the first-line initiators of pharmacological treatments of disruptive disorders, it would be highly advisable for them to read the chapter by Schachar and Ickowicz. This one could have easily been subtitled "Everything You Have Always Wanted to Know About Child Psychopharmacology But Were Afraid To Ask." It is thorough, scholarly, and blunt. It might not be a bad idea to summarize this chapter to hand out to families and agencies involved with such children.




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