ADHD is conceptualized as a disorder affecting several life spheres, including learning and social behaviour. However, in light of its prevalence and characteristics, Koschack et al.  and others consider it a trait, and present it as a differentiated style rather than a dysfunction.
A comparison between the ICD-10 and the DSM-IV demonstrates the different ways this disorder is perceived and the difficulties involved in understanding it. According to the DSM-IV, ADHD belongs to a group of behavioural disorders, also including ODD and CD. According to this system, children fulfilling the criteria for both ADHD and CD are a separate group with different aetiological, clinical and prognostic characteristics. On the other hand, the ICD-10 identifies the group of hyperkinetic disorders, subdivided into a ''disorder of activity and attention'' and a ''hyperkinetic conduct disorder''. The ICD-10 makes no mention of pure attention deficit disorder, and the basic requirement for the diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorders is a combination of attention deficit and hyperactivity. This difference from the DSM-IV is significant, because the ICD-10 system actually ignores 30% of the children who suffer from attention difficulties, i.e. 2-3% of all children in the general population. From the American point of view, this means ignoring the difficulties and distress of many children while, from the European point of view, an inappropriate attitude towards those children is prevented. It is clear that this divergence is due to different ideological points of view regarding the appropriate way to define disorders in children.
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