A new study followed children diagnosed with ADHD into adulthood. It claims that ADHD is not just a childhood disorder but can continue into adulthood. It claims that children diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to develop at least one other psychiatric disorder. It also claims that those diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to commit suicide. All these statements are misleading, as they are based on unsubstantiated data. In addition, they conveniently neglected vital facts relevant to this subject.
Erroneously, this study then concluded that there are high risks of ADHD being long-lasting and as a result, conditions associated with ADHD have serious public health consequences. Finally, they claim a new system of long-tern ADHD care is warranted. This is completely unjustified.
First of all, let’s look at what ADHD really is. The symptoms are: inattentiveness, restlessness, lack of focus, fidgeting, talks out of turn, does things that are inappropriate or doesn’t do what is expected. These are just a few of the symptoms, but it basically means that the child is disruptive in class instead of being a quiet model child. This is a problem for the teacher, but it is not a “mental illness.”
Dr. Peter Breggin, a renowned psychiatrist himself, states that children are just demonstrating that they are bored, anxious or angry in their environment that is run by adults. Perhaps Johnny hasn’t been recognized as a gifted student. He isn’t challenged enough in his studies, so he is bored and acts up. Perhaps Johnny eats the same thing for lunch every day and unbeknownst to everyone else, he gets an allergic reaction that causes him to be hyperactive. It’s not Johnny’s fault that he is not recognized as gifted and it is not his fault that an allergy has gone undetected. However, parents and teachers think there is something wrong with Johnny as his behavior is disruptive and unacceptable.
Dr. Breggin further states that these “symptoms” do not indicate that a child is “mentally ill,” but indicates that the adults need to attend to the needs of the child in a more effective way. He says that ADHD “symptoms” often disappear when the child has something interesting to do. Also, they often disappear during summer vacation. It is understood that parents are very busy these days and teachers have too many students in their classes. However, considering children are our future it is well worth the time to provide a more interesting and workable environment for this generation.
In the meantime, children are being labelled with ADHD, suggesting that something is wrong with their brain or that they have some genetic defect. Just because all children don’t sit complacently in class and do as they are told is not a reason to single out certain children as “mentally ill.” Since all adults don’t act the same, why do we expect that of children? Children are people that mature and learn as they grow up. There are extremes, but children’s extra energy, activity, interest and spirit is not a defect. It is normal for the child, it is a problem for the adults surrounding him.
Another problem with this study is that they fail to inform you that there is no scientific or medical test to identify ADHD. Psychiatrists themselves say the cause is unknown. They vaguely say that genetics play a role. It is unbelievable that this study calls for a chronic disease approach to ADHD as one does for diabetes! There’s a blood test for diabetes but no test for ADHD, yet they think the two are comparable.
ADHD is only diagnosed by symptoms. It is not likely that anyone would let themselves be diagnosed for diabetes by opinion only. Symptoms are indicators of something that’s all. A medical test confirms or rules out possibilities. Psychiatrists can’t provide that, so we shouldn’t let our children be diagnosed with ADHD without a medical test either.
While this study is asserting how persistent ADHD can be, they fail to discuss the usual treatment of ADHD and its consequences. ADHD is almost always treated with mind-altering drugs. The one most commonly known is Ritalin (methylphenidate). The FDA has classified it as a Schedule II drug which means it is highly addictive and in the same class as amphetamines, morphine, cocaine, opium and barbituates! With that said, this type of drug and other similar stimulants are not to be overlooked, especially when we are talking about children.
Drugs are not overtly mentioned in this study, yet they call for improving long-term treatment. Treatment means drugs. When you are talking about altering the function of a child’s growing brain in the name of opinion-based behavior, a serious situation is at hand. Ritalin in particular makes a child more obedient, more directly focused and more able to concentrate. Because he is less in touch with his feelings and more “spaced out,” he can concentrate on repetitive school work. Making the child more docile is certainly helpful to the teacher or parent, but it is only a mechanism of social control. Even worse, the drug can make the child into a zombie, so much so that he becomes isolated and withdrawn.
This is just one side effect that invites another “disorder” diagnosis. Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are conditions that psychiatrists say are associated with ADHD. These are not new “disorders,” they are only side effects caused by the drugs. To treat these new “disorders,” there are plenty of other mind-altering psychiatric drugs to treat them. Before you know it, your child can be on a cocktail of psychotropic drugs which have no medical basis but “align” with a cocktail of diagnoses.
What should be known about Ritalin in particular is that it affects children in the same way whether the child is diagnosed with ADHD or not. How is it then logical that Ritalin is treating a “mental illness” if it has a uniform effect? It just means we are literally giving children a “chill pill” to make life convenient for those around him. The only problem is this isn’t a piece of candy that will pacify the child for awhile. This is a dangerous drug with serious adverse side effects.
There is no evidence that psychiatric drugs improve academic performance or even the ability to learn, so what’s the point? The point is labeling kids with ADHD is a misdiagnosis. The point is that studies that preach alarming statistics about our children’s futures have no scientific basis. Drugging our children unnecessarily just because they are fidgety in school is downright criminal. For those children that are truly uncontrollable or who exhibit a type of behavior that really is a problem, let’s find the physical cause of it. It’s there waiting to be found and it doesn’t need a mind-altering psychiatric drug to fix it.