According to Neurologist Richard Saul who has written a book called “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder”, the amount of people who are suffering from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder is zero.
Richard Saul is a neurologist who has had a long career in examining patients who have been having trouble with short attention spans and inability to focus. From his first hand experience, he feels that ADHD is nothing more than a fake disorder that is really only an umbrella of symptoms and not actually a disease. He strongly feels that it should not be listed as a separate disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual, all detailed in his book which is set to release in February 2014.
As it stands, ADHD is defined as a psychiatric disorder that is neurodevelopmental. In order for diagnosis, significant issues with attention and/or hyperactivity and acting impulsively that are not appropriate for a person’s age must be present. The number of ADHD diagnoses has increased greatly in recent years due to the fact that doctors are using the disorder as a simple means to not only explain lack of focus or attention but also to allow the use of medication which can mean direct benefit for the doctor. Saul feels that many parents these days are looking for any way to get their kids to sit down and remain quiet and ADHD, and the medications that go along with it, can be the quick fix they are looking for. Currently, 1 in 9 children are labelled as ADHD and of that, two-thirds of them are on some sort of drug.
Unfortunately this solution is not an effective one as the drugs are dangerous and contain addictive stimulants. While many doctors are prescribing them without question, there should be a lot more thought that goes into addressing the root issue well before drugs are pushed. According to Saul, trying to treat something like ADHD as a disease is a big mistake. It can be seen as going into a doctor’s office with heart pains and simply being prescribed painkillers. Yes, you may walk away pain-free for a few hours, but then you die of a heart attack. Without looking to the core issue, we cannot properly know what is going on.
“ADHD makes a great excuse, the diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults. It can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.” Richard Saul
The topic of ADHD has been covered in-depth and it seems clear that there is great debate around the subject for a good reason: either the disorder isn’t actually a disorder as it is defined, or we don’t fully understand ADHD. Considering the average ADHD pamphlet you find in a doctor’s office states that your child may still have ADHD even though they are quiet and completely focused while doing things they love, it seems that we are pushing anything we want under the label of ADHD without looking at core issues. Yes, there are children who are obviously hyperactive and struggle with attention, but usually this is obvious within the first few seconds of seeing the child. But when you question whether a child has ADHD or not, it is likely they are just having trouble focusing on or giving attention to things they don’t want to do. Same goes with adults who can’t focus at work, maybe it is time for a job change.
We have a habit of always seeing issues in people who don’t fit in with the system. Whether they don’t want to be in standard education, don’t want to work their whole lives or have trouble focusing on things they don’t like, we tend to label this as a problem, but is it? Maybe we just don’t look within enough to figure out what might really be going on or why we are living the way we do. Perhaps it is time we let go of the idea of having to “fit in” to something that doesn’t resonate rather than labelling it as a disorder.
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