Is ADHD a fictitious disease?
Last week when I posted information on an upcoming webinar Healing ADHD on Amazing Brains’ Facebook page a reader posted an article entitled Inventor of ADHD’s Deathbed Confession: “ADHD Is A Fictitious Disease.” At first, I was caught by surprise, being new to posting blogs in the social media world. But as I thought about it I realized it’s actually a really good question.
Is ADHD Real?
Last week when I posted information on an upcoming webinar Healing ADHD on Amazing Brains’ Facebook page a reader posted an article entitled Inventor of ADHD’s Deathbed Confession: “ADHD Is A Fictitious Disease.” At first, I was caught by surprise, being new to posting blogs in the social media world. But as I thought about it I realized it’s actually a really good question. Is ADHD a fictitious disease?
The article (http://www.worldpublicunion.org/2013-03-27-NEWS-inventor-of-adhd-says-adhd-is-a-fictitious-disease.html) talks about the consumption of pharmacological agents depriving a child of essential learning to act autonomously and emphatically, which curtails children’s freedom and impairs their personality development. It discusses how creators of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and how a family and school need to expertly guide a child to personal responsibility.
My first thought reading this was any parent who has a child struggling with ADHD will think that someone saying this disorder is not real, is absurd. Here is my take on it the article and the points it makes.
The underlying assumption of the article is that stimulants are the only way to deal with ADHD. This is not the only way to treat ADHD.
The DSM 5 describes ADHD as a behavioral disorder. ADHD is actually neurological and the causality originates in the brain. With qEEG’s (brainmaps) we can see exactly what network and brainwaves are creating symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. We can see executive function disregulation in the frontal lobes by how networks in the brain are communicating.
Meds fail to educate the child on how to make these behavioral changes independently. This statement assumes the child is only choosing to make poor behavioral choices. It ignores the fact that symptoms exhibited are neurologically based. There is an underlying neurophysiological disregulation that creates the symptoms. While there is still an element of choice involved it is much more difficult to make different choices.
Scientific father of ADHD is quoted saying “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.” Once again, thanks to brain mapping we can see disregulation that creates symptoms of ADHD. We are not only basing our understanding on a list of symptoms reported. We also have neuropsychological tests that measure simple attention, complex attention, executive function, social acuity, verbal memory, visual memory and more.
People have distorted science and faith in science to increase profits. This statement discounts every person’s experience that struggles with or has a loved one that struggles with symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. However this disorder is classified, this is a very real struggle for many people.
DSM authors have ties to pharmacological industries. The DSM is a tool. It provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification for mental disorders. It is a great tool when used as such. The DSM is inadequate in describing the brain and neurophysiology. It was not meant to.
Let them return to personal psychology and education. I value personal responsibility, personal psychology and education. Therapy is incredibly important in understanding ourselves, messages we have about ourselves, family systems and how to heal, live more responsibly and the best life we can. I think therapy can be hugely beneficial for every person. Psychology however does not heal neurophysiology. There is a place for each and understanding when that is is important.
Good parenting, good teaching, and school behavioral plans do not solve ADHD. Good parenting and teaching is very important. Behavioral modifications through 504 plans or IEP’s can be made that can make a difference in how the behavior is managed. Research shows this can make a student more successful in the classroom. And, this does not heal the underlying physiology. Approaching the issue holistically, looking at the whole child is paramount.
Asking if ADHD is real is the wrong question. A better question to ask is how do we heal ADHD? What do you think? Do you believe ADHD is real?