ADHD: the Party’s Over (DE Wave)

For two decades I’ve been questioning the concept of the alleged disease of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Suddenly, mental health professionals are beginning to say the same things I’ve been saying for a long time, and one of those professionals is a neurologist with over 50 years of experience. Dr. Richard Saul is the author of a new book called, “ADHD Does Not Exist.”

Here’s an excerpt: “You may notice that there is something striking about the way we define this ‘illness’ — that is, by its symptoms, rather than its cause. If we were to define a heart attack by the chest pain, then the appropriate cure would be painkillers, rather than repair of the heart. Other examples are easy to find: Nasal congestion can be a symptom of a cold, allergy, or many other conditions, but a runny nose is not a diagnosis. In the same way, the symptom complex associated with the ADHD diagnosis is related to more than twenty medical diagnoses, from those as mild as poor eyesight, sleep deprivation, and even boredom in the classroom, to more severe conditions like depression and bipolar disorder. All of these, when treated effectively, can result in the disappearance of the ‘attention-deficit’ and ‘hyperactivity’ symptoms.”

It’s about time! My argument over the years has been essentially the same, and was, in fact, outlined in my third book, “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (and How to Tell the Difference)” (available only at ADHD describes nothing more than a pattern of behaviors – symptoms, not causes. Yet, this convenient catch-all “disease” has been classified as a psychiatric disorder. Psychiatric disorders, by definition, refer to problems in thinking and/or emotional states. ADHD has enjoyed a decade-long free ride being treated exactly as if it were a medical disorder. While economically convenient for some (like the drug companies and school systems), and emotionally satisfying for many (who can pass the blame), none of that makes it real.

“I have ADHD. Therefore I can’t do this activity.” But wait a minute. ADHD is a behavioral or psychological problem. It could be related to depression, anxiety, poor mental habits, bad classroom conditions, poor teachers or even plain old laziness. But we aren’t allowed to suggest any of these things! Why not? Because to do so would be to blame the victim supposedly “suffering” from the “illness.” But how did we know the “victim” of ADHD actually is a victim? Well, because he has ADHD, that’s why. It’s circular reasoning and it makes no sense.

So we have created a generation of people with the medical disease of “being unable to pay attention.” Of course, the very existence of a phony disease generates more and more people who feel they have it. We might as well create, “Having a bad day disorder,” or, “Been screwed over in relationships illness.” Medical and government wonks would surely jump on that bandwagon! Finally – a scapegoat.

If ADHD were a medical illness, why is it classified as a psychological problem rather than a medical one? The question is never asked in polite society. If ADHD is a brain-related issue, then what does the science of neurology have to say about it? Well, here’s what at least one neurologist is saying. And get ready for lots of hostility and rage from people personally invested in these pseudo-medical fabrications for reasons much deeper (and darker) than mere money.

It’s a situation, as Dr. Saul claims, where the symptoms are mistakenly described as the illness itself, and thereby provide a convenient means for passing the buck. Parents with kids who aren’t performing can claim, “It’s not my fault, or my child’s fault. He’s got ADHD!” Teachers or school officials in charge of kids who aren’t learning can say, “It’s not us. We’ve got a class full of kids afflicted with ADHD!”

People cite the supposed effectiveness of medication — likened to taking an antibiotic for a throat infection — as proof of its medical/neurological origin. Dr. Saul and others document cases where medication didn’t help, or made the problem worse. I have seen that very situation hundreds if not thousands of times when working as a family therapist to try and help parents with their kids’ behavioral problems. If medication had been the solution, they wouldn’t be reaching out to someone like me.

Sooner or later, deception practiced by authoritative people in seemingly well-meaning fields is exposed by its own flaws and contradictions. Facts are stubborn things, and the myth of ADHD is a classic example of that.


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