We Need to Rename ADHD

From Scientific American:

…The most common psychiatric handbooks (DSM-5 and ICD-11) are clear on the status of their classifications: they are purely descriptive and are not based on underlying causes. Still, in practice, we say things like “he is inattentive at school because he has ADHD.” It is a circular statement: a child is inattentive because of his inattentiveness. When we say that someone has an attention deficit, we are inclined to look for the cause of the problem. But when we say someone has an attention deficit disorder, we might wrongly assume we have already found the cause. Or, in a milder version, assume the cause to be located somewhere in the (brain of the) individual.

On the surface, this may seem like a silly, innocent mistake. However, social scientists have shown time and again that this systematically places the problem with the individual and diverts our focus away from the context (e.g. family/school/work) where traits lead to problems.

One clear example is the relative age effect in ADHD. The youngest students in class get diagnosed with ADHD more often and receive more ADHD medication than their older classmates. It is the mirror image of the well-known relative age effect in professional sports, where relative maturity in young athletes is mistaken for talent. It seems that in ADHD diagnostics, relative immaturity can be mistaken for ADHD; a consequence of these children being unfairly and unfavorably compared to their older classmates.

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11 COMMENTS

      • The average lifespan of the “seriously mentally ill” has steadily DECREASED since the advent of psychiatric drugs. Such people now die 20+ years younger than their non-diagnosed counterparts. A significant part of that decrease in lifespan is the result of treatment with antipsychotics. As many as 14.5 years lifespan may be attributed to antipsychotic use.

        https://www.hcplive.com/view/is-treating-schizophrenia-with-antipsychotics-worth-the-risk

      • I don’t think people who study psychiatry per se are evil individuals with horns on their heads. You have asked “Don’t you think psychiatrists save lives and restore hope?”. Depends on the person.

        Good intentions don’t mean good outcomes. Good intentions don’t always stay good intentions once there is conflict. Good intentions don’t mean what one does is not hurtful.

        People here have written incessantly about how behavioural labelling, coercion directly or indirectly as a result of psychiatry has destroyed their lives, brought them enormous gaslighting, social, legal and medical problems. If you don’t understand that, you miss the point of this site.

        You are here, like many before you, citing papers with information about genetics, proteins, neurotransmitters etc. Practically speaking, for the everyday individual, there are very few things that come from psychiatry. Some form of suffering leads to a person or his/her family wanting help. Mental health workers are the de facto people individuals are guided towards by someone or the other. Help comes in the form of listening and talking, behavioural labelling and drugs. If the person is unlucky, he experiences coercion. And that’s all. The power imbalance is huge. The opposite side can label you, make observation after observation about you in files which you may have little access to, can force drugs onto you even if it is hurting you, can make pronouncements on your life rather than on something like a bone, or an infection in your blood, and those pronouncements are believed “because they are ‘medical doctors'”, even if they are nonsensical and the person making those pronouncements has not walked in your shoes a day in his/her life.

        There is a difference between providing help as wanted and providing help that you want to provide.

        If stimulants, SSRIs, mood-stabilisers or whatever drugs have helped people and they like being on them, they should take them. But if they are damaging them, they have a right to speak about it too.

        If I accept that yes, there are psychiatrists who are decent people with good intentions to help others, would you also accept that the methods of help employed by people who have become psychiatrists have caused great harm to others? What would you need for that? Journal papers? I can understand the desire for evidence of that form, but not everything in life will have a study associated with it.

    • “The youngest students in class get diagnosed with ADHD more often and receive more ADHD medication than their older classmates.”

      Nick Kowalenko from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said there was insufficient detail in the research

      Too bad the older kids may have been overlooked.

      “I’ve learnt of some situations where children are not allowed to return to school until they are medicated by a doctor. The doctor is then compromised…” A supporter of ant-ADHD rhetoric.

      easterbeilbs responded:
      Are you sure? I’ve read your comment base and you make a lot of excellent well-informed observations. However, in more than 25 years in schools, I’ve never observed what you describe.

      Trixr agrees:
      That’s completely misleading. Teachers do not “diagnose” – they are highlighting a potential issue.
      Only doctors can diagnose, and I’d like to see evidence of schools mandating drugs. I can imagine that a school may want to see evidence that an extremely disruptive child is receiving some kind of therapeutic attention.

      Redgum adds:
      To support the previous poster, I’ve worked more than 20 years in schools (half that time in WA) and I’ve never known another teacher or principal to diagnoses ADHD. I have been asked, by parents, to complete observation forms for the doctor who is deciding on a diagnosis (forms which, to be completely honest, I have found to be unclear and not terribly useful).

      Paul Harvey. Now for the rest of the story/

      It is astonishing how much misinformation is spread around about ADHD. Many latch onto it like Paul said it. Much is taken out of context and framed is the worst possible ways.
      We are encouraged to enjoy our addiction. They hope we enjoy killing innocent kids and forcing them to behave according to our Puritan desires. Restricting them. Punishing them severely for being themselves. Refusing to be open-minded, calling us lazy, clueless, without genuine concern for children. One writer for MIA insists that ADHD is the result of lousy parents.
      I don’t believe I have ever heard a positive comment about a parent who is doing the best she can and reports her child is doing wonderfully on medication.

      Today there is proof that, “CDH2 mutation affecting N-cadherin function causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans and mice” O. S. Birk

      I hope someone will and I invite anyone to explain in detail exactly what this means, “CDH2 mutation affecting N-cadherin function causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans and mice”

  1. “The youngest students in class get diagnosed with ADHD more often and receive more ADHD medication than their older classmates.”

    Nick Kowalenko from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said there was insufficient detail in the research

    Too bad the older kids may have been overlooked.

    “I’ve learnt of some situations where children are not allowed to return to school until they are medicated by a doctor. The doctor is then compromised…” A supporter of ant-ADHD rhetoric.

    easterbeilbs responded:
    Are you sure? I’ve read your comment base and you make a lot of excellent well-informed observations. However, in more than 25 years in schools, I’ve never observed what you describe.

    Trixr agrees:
    That’s completely misleading. Teachers do not “diagnose” – they are highlighting a potential issue.
    Only doctors can diagnose, and I’d like to see evidence of schools mandating drugs. I can imagine that a school may want to see evidence that an extremely disruptive child is receiving some kind of therapeutic attention.

    Redgum adds:
    To support the previous poster, I’ve worked more than 20 years in schools (half that time in WA) and I’ve never known another teacher or principal to diagnoses ADHD. I have been asked, by parents, to complete observation forms for the doctor who is deciding on a diagnosis (forms which, to be completely honest, I have found to be unclear and not terribly useful).

    Paul Harvey. Now for the rest of the story/

    It is astonishing how much misinformation is spread around about ADHD. Many latch onto it like Paul said it. Much is taken out of context and framed is the worst possible ways.
    We are encouraged to enjoy our addiction. They hope we enjoy killing innocent kids and forcing them to behave according to our Puritan desires. Restricting them. Punishing them severely for being themselves. Refusing to be open-minded, calling us lazy, clueless, without genuine concern for children. One writer for MIA insists that ADHD is the result of lousy parents.
    I don’t believe I have ever heard a positive comment about a parent who is doing the best she can and reports her child is doing wonderfully on medication.

    Today there is proof that, “CDH2 mutation affecting N-cadherin function causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans and mice” O. S. Birk

    I hope someone will and I invite anyone to explain in detail exactly what this means, “CDH2 mutation affecting N-cadherin function causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans and mice”

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