"Is ADHD Even Real?" How to Respond to Haters and Naysayers
What is ADHD? Is it a real diagnosis? What does medication do? Can adults have ADD? Learn to clear up common misperceptions about ADHD with authority and silence ADHD naysayers.
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3 Comments: "Is ADHD Even Real?" How to Respond to Haters and Naysayers
This is one man’s opinion so take it FWIW. This whole essay starts off with blowing your foot off with a shotgun, outing yourself with your ADD/ADHD condition. Why would you want to do this? Why do you care what other people think?
Confessing this is a DISASTER in the workplace! Your boss is NOT your friend. If you reveal this explosive secret o him what do you really think os going to happen? Right! He is going to search the internet and assume that you check all the 15 or so symptom boxes, that you are a drug user and alcoholic and have a scary tendency to blurt out something stupid in a critical customer-facing meeting. You will end up on a secret list of layoff candidates and never find out why.
In my opinion, the people who advocate publicly revealing any kind of mental illness are possessed of a pollyanna-like naivete. They typically come from the ivory tower world of academia. I spent my entire career working at for-profit corporations. These businesses are run by hard-ass dudes to whom the only thing is the bottom line. They have no tolerance for mistakes or missed deadlines.
Gang members under arrest have more common sense than to shoot their mouths off. No law requires that you reveal your health status. You also have your Miranda rights plus HIPAA. I have had a successful 42 year career as an engineer in part because I was not reckless or stupid.
Take six adults diagnosed with ADHD and ask them ‘what is it like to have ADHD’? You will get nine different answers. The diagnosis alone can be enough to expel you from polite academic society (it’s the reason I couldn’t get into the nice Catholic Preschool a block from my house growing up). The symptoms are vague, the experience is fractured, and the results of diagnosis are devastating.
I was diagnosed with ADHD at 3. I was put on Ritalin at that age, and didn’t get off until I was 19 years old. In that time, I spent every single day of school at a program specifically for kids with ADHD. Each of these programs had completely different kinds of kids with no symptoms in common. At worst, I shared a classroom with kids who had Down Syndrome and severe Cerebral Palsy (again: kids who do not belong together!). At even worse than *that*, I was sent to board with kids who had violent behavioral disabilities: the kind who would fly off the handle and throw chairs, or who would ‘take advantage’ of younger students who were forced to room with them. Every single program billed itself as being specialized in ADHD, and each school had a totally different set of kids with no symptoms in common. My high school was all about Learning Disabilities: I never had an academic problem in my entire life.
None of us shared the same symptoms: sure, there were people who were more *like* others. There were, however, two things we all *did* share. We all shared a story of what got us diagnosed in the first place. My best friend’s story involved him getting beaten up at summer camp (the kind of beaten up that required surgery and rehab), my wife bit a lawyer’s kid. I had trouble with potty training. We all have that *first* misbehavior that got us a diagnosis, then ritalin, and from there it just got worse, and worse, and worse. As Nellie Bly discovered in 1874 and the Rosenhan experiment repeated in 1973: whatever behaviors you display are always symptoms of your diagnosis. My wife was a moody teenager: must be ADHD. I liked a girl in high school who didn’t feel the same way: ADHD made you do it.
The other thing we all had in common was rich parents. As I’ve aged: I’ve met plenty of people with poorer parents who fit the general ‘type’. They were just as inattentive and hyperactive as I ever was, but since their parents couldn’t afford to shop around until they found a doctor who agreed with them, they lived their entire lives without any ‘help’. Most of them grew out of their hyperactivity. All of them wound up better off than I did.
Now I’m older. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD, Bipolar II (I swing towards depression), and PTSD (there was a *lot* of abuse). Would I have all of these diagnoses had I not spent my entire life under the microscope of an overeager psychological profession? Maybe not. Do all of the symptoms that were previously diagnosed as “ADHD” fit neatly into these diagnoses without any other arbitrary diagnosis? Definitely. The depressive segment of bipolar accounts for 90% of them.
When my daughter was 2 years old, someone at her daycare demanded that we get her tested for ADHD. I asked her pediatrician and learned: 80% of kids under the age of 5 will test positive for ADHD. You can’t really diagnose a child that young. Of course, in *my* case, by the time I was 5 I had been on Ritalin for two years and was already sharing my classroom with children with Down Syndrome. Perhaps had I been a little tiny bit faster with my potty training, or my wife hadn’t bit the lawyer’s kid at age 4, our entire lives would have been different.
Weak points in this article. Unless a child was a crack baby or some other thing on-par with this- the evidence is specious. After hearing a doctor going on endlessly about image studies that prove structural differences between norm and ADD/ADHD… well there are imaging studies that show a difference between those who watch too much porn. There’s solid research establishing we have plastic brains, that our behaviors can effect brain shape and chemistry. Comparing diabetes to a perceived brain disorder is not apples apples. Behavior can shape the brain, just as leading an unhealthy life can bring about diabetes. Argue that diabetes can have a genetic component? This is the crack baby metaphor I’ve mentioned earlier. If sets of parents abused their bodies, or other factors outside of their control- then yes. However, way too many folks are crying ADD/ADHD these days. Case in point, there was this group of about 6 people I once worked with who would horse-play all day, very poor work-ethic and the like. I purposely distanced myself from this group, knowing that one day- many of them would be various meds . They never matured, growing with the times- because they deliberately chose to misbehave (no not because of ADD/ADHD). Forfeit your growth years- yeah, you’re going to have issues arise out of poor habits. Of course you will test positive with imaging, brain chemistry measurements and the like. Ideas and behaviors have specific consequences that are obvious. I know ‘many’ people who abuses drugs (cocaine, weed etc) They go to the Dr- and were diagnosed with ADD!!! Of course they did not share with this with their doctors. A doctor would be a fool not to pick up on this. Drugs can damage your brain- “this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs!”