The Blue Pill or the Red Pill: Treating ADHD
Because it has come up, I’ve been looking at the evidence for and against the validity of ADHD as a diagnosis, and, establishing that it is a real mental healthÂ aberration, is the pharmaceutical fix the best way to go with a misbehaving, underachieving, overly-stimulated, disruptive child?
I start with a piece that reflects my own bias against medicating inappropriate behavior, after having raised two children that by today’s control measures, would have, at one point or another in their growing up, have been labeled with “Oppositional Disorder” or some other present-day condition warranting pharmaco-intervention.
What are your thoughts or what has been your experience with dealing with school counselor’s or principals’ or physician’s diagnosis of ADHD of your children or grandchildren? I’d appreciate some different perspectives on this before I attempt to write about it. You can scan some of the links I’ve collected and let us know your response.
Is ADHD a “real” condition? Does it warrant treatment? What alternatives are there to Ritalin and other meds? What are the risks of medicating difficult or maladaptive behavior in young children? Is ADHD a “fad” diagnosis and an “easy out” for parents and teachers?
DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) pathologizes normal behaviors and temperaments:
- Labeling normal behaviors as mental disorders financially and professionally serve psychotherapists of all theoretic orientations. Following are some examples of how the DSM turns normal behaviors and temperaments into mental illness.
- Shyness or normal introversion can be diagnosed as “Social Phobia.”
- The individual process of healthy grief might be diagnosed as “Complicated Grief Reaction,” if it lasts a tad longer that the amount of time specified in the DSM.
- Healthy, strong willed or active children are often diagnosed as having “Oppositional Disorder.”
- Children who are restless, non-compliant or not academically oriented are diagnosed with “ADHD.”
As stated, diagnosis and treatment reflects the changing tides of political, economic and social trends. There is considerable controversy regarding the DSM criteria for ADHD which some refer to as a well-defined condition that lends itself to short-term biological intervention, while others express concerns that the diagnostic evolution of criteria resulted from committee consensus rather than as the result of basic scientific process. Some have called ADHD the fad diagnosis of these times, and many consider the great expansion in the population diagnosed to be a function of a cultural and economic phenomenon that goes beyond the objective reality of the diagnosis. Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, or ADHD, diagnosis is often given without any regard to familial dysfunction and other environmental factors. Stimulant medications for the treatment of ADHD constitutes, by far, the most prescribed medication for pre-schoolers and children under eighteen years of age who are currently being treated with psychotropic medications.
- New ADHD rules could see kids as young as four on drugs (theprovince.com)
- Pediatrician Group Seeks to Boost ADHD Diagnoses (reason.com)
- Should Preschoolers Get ADHD Check? (abcnews.go.com)