Week 8: Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs) are psychiatric diseases affecting neurological development and how the brain works, impairing social, cognitive, and emotional functioning. The most prevalent NDs are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).1 Many NDs are less well-known or have received less research. Even though they are most frequently associated with childhood, neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder can persist into adulthood. We take a conceptual approach in this Personal View, which is influenced by clinical experience and research. We first go through what conditions are considered neurodevelopmental disorders and why this classification is helpful. We conclude that both differentiation and grouping are beneficial and that it is crucial to consider the significant overlap between neurodevelopmental disorders. We then discuss various difficulties in connecting research with clinical practice. We discuss how crucial social context and clinical phenotypes are in the complex. We also make a case for the significance of seeing neurodevelopmental diseases as features, but we also emphasize that this is not the only strategy to employ. Finally, we look at developmental change throughout a lifetime. Overall, we make a compelling case for flexible clinical treatment that considers the significant degree of heterogeneity and overlap in neurodevelopmental diseases, as well as for research that is more directly tied to what is seen in actual clinical practice. Most people with NDs are toddlers, children, and adolescents since they typically start during developmental stages. NDs can persist into adulthood or go undiagnosed until a person is an adult.2 There are also cases where a child outgrows the symptoms of an ND.