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To Another Voice:
In your day, maybe the children who were sent to remedial classes or Vocational Technical School or the dropouts actually had ADHD and people just said they were “dumb” or incorrigible. They didn’t know about ADHD at the time. I’m sure if you talked to many modern day teachers, they would tell you ADHD does exist and they see it often. Perhaps in your day, ADHD didn’t exist and it does now because of something in the environment, food supply, etc. But it does exist. Don’t tell me I just want to drug my child. How incredibly misinformed and rude.
Dr. Berezin’s article is dangerous and just plain wrong. I am the mother of a child with ADHD. I absolutely embrace him as a unique and wonderful human being. He is bright, funny, warm, and compassionate–he also has ADHD. No question. If I ever wonder if my son was misdiagnosed, I only have to observe him without his medication, and it becomes clear to me that he isn’t just “quirky” or “active.”
I resent the idea that parents who medicate their children for ADHD are intolerant, impatient people who are simply medicating a problem away because that’s the easy way out. I would expect such an attitude from people who aren’t familiar with the problem, but from a psychiatrist teaching at Harvard Medical School? How truly sad.
Do you know how much more involved it is for me to treat my son’s ADHD than it is for me to just tell him to “sit still and be quiet” all the time or just embrace his impulsivity? We go to a psychiatrist for med reviews every six weeks, he goes to therapy, his meds cost money, and he has a special IEP at school. If disciplining my son out of his attention disorder were possible, believe me, I’d do it. It would cost me a lot less in time and money. But it wouldn’t be enough. And I love my son way too much to make him struggle constantly with an uphill battle rather than to help him all I can.
Doesn’t Dr. Berezin realize my son would behave if he could? Children want their parents’ love and approval. They don’t want to be yelled at all the time. Even when medicated, my son is still impulsive and has tremendous trouble focusing. The medication he takes simply gives him a fighting chance to attend to things in school and actually learn something. I think not recognizing your child’s ADHD and not medicating it is downright cruel.
Dr. Berezin, listen to parents who know what they’ve experienced firsthand instead of making them feel bad for recognizing and treating their child’s very real problem. What’s next? Are you going to say asthma is psychosomatic (remember that was a pervasive idea years ago?) and that people who use inhalers are weaklings?
If you truly listen to mothers like me and you still question whether or not ADHD exists, I can send my son to your house for the weekend unmedicated. If you then still think there is no such thing as ADHD, your precious medical degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Good luck with your misguided ideas.