Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders today. Not surprisingly, it is also among the most controversial. Its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, remedies and even very existence remain highly disputed among many.
While I am certainly no psychologist or neuroscientist, I’ve put a great amount of time into examining this topic while trying to be as open-minded and objective as possible.
I am not going to argue that a real, genetically inherited brain disorder known as ADHD doesn’t exist. Nor will I argue that pharmaceuticals can’t be of potential value for certain cases.
What I will argue, however, is that in the vast majority of supposed ADHD cases:
- someone without ADHD is being diagnosed as having it simply because he exhibit its common symptoms.
- these symptoms are rooted in environment, experience and lifestyle.
Let’s examine why these are reasonable positions to hold.
The Basis for Diagnosing Someone with ADHD
Watch the video below and you will see multiple psychiatrists acknowledge two important points often used against them:
1.) There are no biological tests (e.g. blood tests, biopsies or x-rays) for diagnosing mental illnesses.
2.) Psychiatry can’t cure people of their supposed mental illnesses (more on this later).
ADHD diagnosis is based upon nothing more than a checklist of observable behaviors written down by a group of psychiatrists who get together periodically and decide what officially qualifies someone as being mentally ill. It’s called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. You can read the ADHD version of it word-for-word here.
In short, a child qualifies for having ADHD if he:
- Has a hard time paying attention
- Is easily distracted
- Doesn’t listen when spoken to
- Is disorganized and messy
- Doesn’t like tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Loses things a lot
While these are certainly problems that need to be dealt with, every one of them could be entirely attributed to experiences, lifestyle habits and environment; NOT a genetically inherited brain disorder.
I will briefly touch upon 5 of the most common below:
1.) Neuroplastic brain adaptation to an overstimulating, poorly structured environment
The brain isn’t fixed or hardwired on any one specific setting. Because of its neuroplasticity, its very structure is shaped by what it is regularly exposed to and what thoughts most frequently occupy it.
So, a child who grows up in a dysfunctional, chaotic environment will inevitably be less functional and less focused. Conversely, a child who grows up in a calm and orderly environment will have a more calm and orderly mind. Being diagnosed with a brain disorder (whether legitimately or not) won’t change these fundamental principles.
Consider the fact that television exposure has been shown to lead to subsequent attention problems in children. It only makes sense that a child whose brain has accustomed to the constant rapid pace of what he sees on television will have a hard time slowing down and focusing. Clearly, this is an issue of environment and upbringing, not just genetics.
2.) Hypervigilant/anxious behaviors resulting from trauma
According to numerous studies:
Cognitive and emotional disruptions that occur in response to trauma, such as difficulty concentrating, dysregulated affect, irritability, and hyperarousal, either overlap with ADHD symptomatology or exasperate it.
Once again: environment and experiences, not genetics.
3.) Poor concentration due to dietary deficiencies and/or toxins
Proper nutrition is absolutely essential for a well-functioning brain:
The type of foods we eat impacts the chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) in the brain. Without the right amount of food “fuel” these chemical messengers can either create a sense of focus, and well-being or confusion and despair. (source)
There’s a multitude of opinions regarding what foods should be abstained from and indulged in, but as general rules of thumb, you should either avoid or limit:
- processed foods
- high fructose corn syrup
- artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives
- white flour products
- everything else of poor nutritional value
4.) Inattentiveness as a result of poor sleep
We all know how much harder it is to focus when we aren’t adequately rested. Poor sleep can be caused by a multitude of factors having nothing to do mental disorders. Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can still qualify one for being diagnosed with such.
5.) Poor self-discipline and/or emotional instability resulting from bad parenting
Certainly not all children displaying symptoms typically attributed to ADHD have bad parents. Nonetheless, a poor upbringing will certainly enable and cause a child to act out in such ways.
According to several studies, some of the most common associations found between behavioral characteristics associated with ADHD and parenting/family environments include:
- A negative, critical and commanding style of child management (Campbell, 1990)
- Parental distress, hostility and marital discord (Cameron, 1977)
- Greater familial anger during conflicts, more disengagement from each other and repeated disputes over school issues and issues pertaining to siblings; parents who adhered to rigid beliefs about their teens’ bids for autonomy and who attributed misbehavior to malicious intentions (Robin, Kraus, Koepke and Robin, 1987)
- Parents who use aggressive behavior, indiscriminate aversiveness and submissiveness or acquiescence toward their children during management encounters (Patterson, 1982).
- Disharmony in early mother-child relationships (Battle and Lacy, 1972).
Why So Many People are Misdiagnosed with ADHD
As of 2011, one in nine children (11%) in the US had been diagnosed with ADHD; a number that has risen significantly even just over the past decade. (source)
Considering that ADHD is officially classified as a genetically inherited brain disorder, is it really reasonable to to label that large a portion of the population as having been born mentally ill?
Widely renowned psychologists Dr. Jerome Kagan certainly doesn’t believe so:
Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis. (source)
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the end goal behind slapping the ADHD label on so many people who don’t actually have it is to sell drugs, and dangerous drugs at that.
The Truth about ADHD Medications
ADDitute Magazine’s claim that “the medications used to treat ADHD have been proven safe and effective over more than 50 years of use” is a blatant lie.
One need only examine some of the most common side-effects of frequently prescribed ADHD medications to see through it:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased risk of psychiatric problems
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sleep problems
Keep in mind, the above list only constitutes what the medical establishment is willing to publicly acknowledge. According to American Addiction Centers, an organization dedicated to helping people break free from drug addiction, Adderall (amphetamine) use and abuse can lead to much worse health problems such as:
- Sudden cardiac death
- Panic Attacks
- Heart attack
- Sexual dysfunction
As we can see, these mind and body altering drugs are physiologically detrimental at best and, at worst, deadly. They aren’t the best solutions or the only solutions, and they are far from “safe.”
They don’t even address the underlying cause for emotional upset, behavioral problems or brain disorders. All they do is help people cope with these issues and eventually make people dependent upon them to do so.
So, a child is bombarded with visual and auditory stimuli from the television and videogames for hours on end. His diet is largely composed of soda-pop and sugar snacks (e.g. most commercial cereals advertised to children).
Then, he is forced to sit in a desk and listen to a teacher drone on about things he has no interest in for almost seven hours straight. His recess and gym time have either been reduced to barely anything or cancelled altogether.
If, for whatever strange reason, the kid has a problem sitting still and focusing on his class work, he is labeled ADHD, and then prescribed severe mind-altering drugs to help him cope with his supposed mental disorder.
This is truly absurd, and yet it’s what we’re told to believe.
As you’ve hopefully realized by now, the ADHD industry, like much of Big Pharma, really doesn’t care for the well-being of the general population. No, their primary motive is making money off of it. If they can get away with fallaciously blaming brain chemistry and genetics for what is more often than not a problem of environment, lifestyle and upbringing, they will certainly do so.
Don’t fall for their scam. You can rewire your brain to function effectively without having to destroy it in the long run: