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Does ADHD Exist?

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#1 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:38 AM

Had an argument with a friend recently regarding this.

I was diagnosed with it as a child and took Retalin to correct the problem. To my parents it 'appeared' to work at the time.

The more I think about it, the more I am doubting taking my son to get him reviewed and put on the same drugs. Why? Because I may have been a better student, but is it ever a good idea to drug a child?

I am struggling with this at the moment. I found a post on a medical site that stated the following:

"There are no miracle drugs. Speed--these drugs are forms of speed--don't improve human life. They reduce human life. And if you want less of a child, these drugs are very effective. These parents have also been lied to: flat-out lied to. They've been told that children have a neurobiological disorder. They've been told their children have biochemical imbalances and genetic defects. On what basis? That they fit into a checklist of attention deficit disorder, which is just a list of behaviors that teachers would like to see stopped in a classroom? That's all it is. . . ."

That shook me to the core, that is the ONLY reason I am even considering taking my child to a specialist.

Have any of you had similar doubts regarding this?

#2 Kafkaesque

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:49 AM

That "list of behaviours" are not just about the classroom. They are about behaving in a way that is acceptable in society and being able to focus and gain the knowledge and skills that will be needed in order to make it through life.

I don't know anything about your child but my brother was dx ADHD as a child. He went on medication and went from being a child who couldn't read and write to being competent at those things as well as being found to have a high IQ after years of being considered not very bright and disruptive.

#3 Bam1

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:52 AM

This thread is not going to end well with a title like that.  I'm sure there have been misdiagnoses of ADHD like a lot of illnesses but if an informed discussion is what you want suggesting that all are wrong is not a good pace to start.

#4 taffy19

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:52 AM

Yes adhd exists, in my 6 year olds words "my mind is racing like a race car and I cant stop it" or "its all messy and wont slow down"
He couldn't stop it, he still cant without medication and some days it is even bad with medication.
I don't like the medication and we still are working it out with the doctors but he was miserable without it, angry and tense because he couldn't switch off or focus at all.
I completely disagree with that medical quote though. He is not less of a child b y being on ritalin, he is a happier child most of the time though.
by that quote none of the mental health issues exist either because they only fill a checklist, or any of the asd diagnosis's.

#5 MummaDiva

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:55 AM

There is all sort of misinformation dressed up as medical fact on the internet.  Run to the kitchen, grab the salt and find a grain to take it with.

I read your other post.  If your son is providing a "challenging teaching environment" for the teacher, you need to sit down and talk with her.  If you don't trust her, ask for the principal to sit in.  

You need to attend to your son's behavioural issues, asap, for his sake.  I am sure he is a high-spirited smart little boy who just needs some help to settle in to a routine-driven environment.  The earlier you do this, the better.  And with proper medical advice.

#6 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:58 AM

I am trying to upset anyone. Apologies if it has. I just feel that school is (currently - and it was for my parents as well) the reason for considering getting a diagnosis in the first place.

Thanks for the insight Taffy19.

#7 PrincessPeach

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:00 PM

If you are not a fan of medication, I have heard of a few sucess stories in relation to diets & control of artificial flavours, colours & sweeteners.

It's always worth a shot. Though i admit it would make meal preparation take longer.

My brother is ADD & what used to make him concentrate for the day was going for a bike-ride in the morning before school - he would do laps of the street, it helped burn off some of his excess energy & his concentration improved.

#8 Cherish

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:03 PM

Im currently battling this with my 5 year old.
I want whats best for him, but I am antidrugs for kids.
BUT- I took anti depressants for my depression so.... (start internal war here)

#9 whydoibother

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:10 PM

well my brother had all the tests back int he 90s his brain waves were completely unique-abnormally so.  He had ADHD and my mum thinks now even dyslexia.  He was a different child on ritalin was much happier.  Back then it was not like now when I think alot of hard to handle poor parenting etc means more kids are misdiagnosed as having the condition.  For my brohter, it was hard. He is intelligent and could get 100% on an oral test, but fail a written test.  He was very sensitive emotionally and it was like the behavior/misbehavior he couldn't control.

#10 Ella'n'alex

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:11 PM

It's quite common (mostly in men) for ADHD to carry over into adulthood, and, especially if untreated, to end up in a big mess of failed relationships, anxiety, unrealised potential and self medication with drugs and alcohol.

Low academic performance is a pretty big deal, OP. If there's a manageable cause, I'd want to be dealing with it, personally.

You don't necessarily have to medicate your son (and I wouldn't be going back to that site. It sounds like a load of horse *$&%. Ask a GP or health service for some links/books etc to go to). But if you think it's a problem for him then at least have him assessed and keep tabs on it.

#11 whydoibother

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:12 PM

my brother as a teen and adult has had drug issues.  He is better now but is 28 years old this year.

#12 Lightning_bug

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:13 PM

OP, there’s no definitive proof of depression other than a checklist of behaviours.  Yet ADs are considered acceptable treatments.  I see ADHD as in the same family.  There’s no ‘proof’ other than behaviours and those behaviours have to be well defined, consistent and debilitating.

I do think ADHD is over-diagnosed (I should say not by professionals but by the opinionated/educators who cant' cope with spirited children).  A trendy, dismissive term for the ill informed.  But it is a very real condition.  

Medication.  It shouldn’t be the first port of call but should be dismissed off-hand without reasonable consideration.  It shouldn’t be ‘the’ answer either.  For me, as I said before, just like depression it’s about a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medication.

A brain that goes too fast can cause high anxiety and frustration and a poor quality of life without some form of intervention.

Edited by Lightning_bug, 20 February 2012 - 12:22 PM.

#13 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:15 PM


I believe that ADHD is very real. There are strict diagnostic criteria that must be met. Of course, that doesn't mean that every single professional follows those strict guidelines, which is why it is very important to seek the counsel of a professional who has rich experience in dealing with ADHD and won't rush to judgment or prescribe a "one sizes fits all" approach to managing it.

The quote in your original post is from a very well known psychiatrist who is totally opposed to ADHD as a diagnosis and the use of drugs to help alleviate the symptoms. Some people think he is brilliant, but he also has a lot of critics.


Here's what he thinks is a root cause of ADHD-like symptoms.

Dad attention deficiency disorder (DADD)
In my clinical experience, most so-called ADHD children are not receiving sufficient attention from their fathers who are separated from the family, too preoccupied with work and other things, or otherwise impaired in their ability to parent. In many cases the appropriate diagnosis is Dad Attention Deficit Disorder (DADD) (Breggin, 1991).
The "cure" for these children is more rational and loving attention from their dads. Young people are nowadays so hungry for the attention of a father that it can come from any male adult. Seemingly impulsive, hostile groups of children will calm down when a caring, relaxed, and firm adult male is around. Arlington High School in Indianapolis was cancelling many of its after-school events because of unruliness, when a father happened to attend one of them (Smith, 1993):
"That evening there was an odd quietness on [the father's] side of the auditorium. It turned out that when he would tell his group to settle down, some students would second him. One said: "That's Lena's father. You heard him. Be quiet; act right."" (p. 5)
Since then the school has begun to enlist volunteer dads for its after-school events.
At other times, the so-called disorder should be called TADD: Teacher Attention Deficit Disorder. Due more to problems in our educational system than to the teachers themselves, few students get the individualized educational programs that they need.

Though parental love and attention is central to a child's healthy development, I have trouble taking seriously someone who wants to pin all of a child's issues on their father or their teacher! Sounds a bit like quackery, doesn't it?

I would strongly encourage you to seek professional advice from a good developmental paediatrician if you are seeing flags of ADHD (or some other issue) in your son. If you are anywhere near Sydney, I'd be happy to pass along the names of a few developmental paeds who are recognized experts in the ADHD space.

Please, for your son's sake, look into these issues with a professional, in addition to teaming with his teacher to develop strategies that might help alleviate some of the challenging behaviors.

Good luck!

#14 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:15 PM

Seeking assistance does not mean he will automatically be medicated. However a diagnosis, should lead to assistance in a range of areas (school, home, and self) which will help your child function more adaptively in school. IMHO this is why a diagnosis is helpful.

Thanks for that imac. Good point. Which type of psychologist would be the best at determining if he has it?

And if he was diagnosed, could I refuse the medication even if the other means (i.e. diet as mentioned by a PP) doesn't work?

#15 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

I would strongly encourage you to seek professional advice from a good developmental paediatrician if you are seeing flags of ADHD (or some other issue) in your son. If you are anywhere near Sydney, I'd be happy to pass along the names of a few developmental paeds who are recognized experts in the ADHD space.

baddmammajamma - if you could that would be great. So its not diagnosed by a psychologist? Sorry, I think my parents took me to a psychologist back in the day.

#16 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:22 PM


There is a terrific ADD/ADHD support group on the SNs/Disabilities board. You might find it helpful to connect with other mums who are going through similar questions/experiences or have faced something similar in the past. original.gif

No one can make you medicate your child if you don't want to. But if medication is something that you don't want to totally rule out, you will need to involve a medical doctor in the management of your son's situation (developmental paed, psychiatrist), as psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medicine.

#17 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

Im currently battling this with my 5 year old.
I want whats best for him, but I am antidrugs for kids.
BUT- I took anti depressants for my depression so.... (start internal war here)

Sorry Cherish, missed your post earlier...

It's a tough decision isn't it? I don't even like using pain medication if I can help it.

I am weird like that  blush.gif

#18 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (LifeGoesOn @ 20/02/2012, 01:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
baddmammajamma - if you could that would be great. So its not diagnosed by a psychologist? Sorry, I think my parents took me to a psychologist back in the day.

Will send you a PM with the recs this afternoon, when I get back from school run.

I am hoping that Henndigo chimes in, as I consider her to be the resident "EB 'Mum Expert'" in ADHD. I think she typically recommends that people see either a good developmental paed or a good psychologist who routinely deals with ADHD (or both professionals in conjuction). Same advice I give people who are worried about ASD!

imac: I am so glad that you are on this thread to lend the professional insights!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 20 February 2012 - 12:30 PM.

#19 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:30 PM

No one can make you medicate your child if you don't want to. But if medication is something that you don't want to totally rule out, you will need to involve a medical doctor in the management of your son's situation (developmental paed, psychiatrist), as psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medicine.

Thanks for that. I don't want to have to face the diagnosis and then potentially have the medication forced on him.

I read the checklist and he seems to be ticking all the boxes but if I was a bad parent and it was all due to my negligence, would that be picked up in the diagnosis?

I would rather be a bad parent then have him mentally 'ill'. I feel that because I have been through it myself sad.gif  

#20 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:34 PM

Has the teacher mentioned ADD/ADHD to you OP? (I just read your other thread) or is it something you've considered yourself?

No the teacher hasn't mentioned it. It is something I have considered myself.

Will send you a PM with the recs this afternoon, when I get back from school run.

Thanks. Appreciate it.

Edited by LifeGoesOn, 20 February 2012 - 12:34 PM.

#21 Faradaye

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:34 PM

My daughter (now 8, in grade 3) was flagged by her prep teacher as having great difficulty settling into the classroom routine.

She was not a difficult child at home, certainly not naughty, but I had clearly tailored my own parenting to best suit her.  The school recommended I have an assessment done by a developmental paediatrician.

The paediatrician came up with a diagnosis of ADHD, and recommended drug therapy.  I was so absolutely torn.  The thought of introducing drugs into my six year old's system was a decision I really struggled with, but it was clear she was really struggling at school.

Eventually, I decided to trial the drug.  The way I approached it was I requested that the school assist with this.  They were fantastic.  They observed her in the classroom without medication, and every 10 seconds they would note what she was doing.  They had a form divided into sections of different behaviours - like...

Walking around
Rocking in chair
Listening to teacher
Concentrating on work

etc.  And each ten seconds they would put a check next to whichever behaviour she was exhibiting.

They did this observation three times, for ten minutes each, over a couple of different days.  Then we started the medication, and a couple of weeks later, to give the medication time to have an effect, they redid they 3 x 10 minute blocks of observation.

By recording her behaviour each time, we were able to actually measure the difference, and quantify the effectiveness of the ritalin.  One of my big concerns was how will we know the drug is helping?  And this was the way I could see it.  For my daughter, the difference in her behaviour was significant and measurable.

I'll never forget walking into her prep class at the end of the day, a few days after DD8 started medication, and the prep teacher rushing over to me and proudly announcing.... "I actually got DD8 to sit in her place today!"  

This was term four of prep - up until then, DD8 just didn't have the ability to sit still in a chair for any period of time without constant redirection.  Medication finally enabled her to control her impulses to a degree.

It is not a miracle drug - it did not magically solve all DD's difficulties, but it is one of the tools in our armoury that we have to help her reach her full potential.  She has just started in grade 3 this year, and still takes the medication.  For her, it really, really helps.

#22 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

Faradaye - Thanks for that. So much to consider. Amazing that the school cooperated and did all that for you, it must have been a weight off your shoulders to a degree.

#23 red_squirrel

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

Yes it exists.
If the medication enables the child to get an education then I am all for it.

#24 For Fox Sake

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:41 PM

I too had ADHD as a child. According to 3 seperate specialists, i still have it as an adult. i'm not medicated as i couldn't cope with the side effects, but my child IS. 2 daily doses of dexamphetamine.

Back when i was a child it was unheard of, apparently all i needed was a swift kick up the bum and often got it. You can imagine how i felt when i started recognizing the same behaviours in my own child.

I was made to feel that ADHD was 'bullsh*t' by non believers, that i was just a crap mother, a drug pusher (when i finally relented on my strong no drugging stance) You name it. I was very anti drugging and tried everything i could think of before resorting to it from diets to specialist behavioural courses.
I don't believe that her meds are 'magic pills' like a lot of people do.
They just don't 'get' that the pills are used in conjunction with strategy and structure.

In my opinion, a series of Doctors, child psychologists, paediatricians and behavioural therapists can't ALL be wrong when they ALL offer the exact same conclusion.

In our personal experience, i still feel frustrated somedays within myself. I feel like i'm 1/2 child, 1/2 adult and I feel like i go through life 'winging it'. I feel like i'm ill equipped to raise a child, i feel like i don't have the tools to keep my own child from a life of 'winging it.'
Having said that, i didn't have doctors or child psychologists or anyone supporting the fact that i was a bit different, my hope is with medical intervention as my back up that my child can learn acceptable behaviours and apply them accordingly to everyday life.

Each year, (it's been 5 since diagnosis) it gets a tiny bit easier as she grows, learns and matures toward adulthood and applies the acceptable learned behaviours. Don't get me wrong, we still have completely backwards days too where the blind lead the blind.

#25 LifeGoesOn

Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:47 PM

dailydouche, so much of your post resonates with me.  

Thank you for posting it.

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