*ADHD is most studied childhood ‘disorder’
*ADHD is a label describing a cluster of behaviors
*ADHD is a hypothetical social construct
*ADHD cannot be diagnosed by any tests
*There is NO credible scientific evidence that ADHD is due to chemical imbalance, brain deficit, or genetics.
We help provide perspectives based on scientific research on challenging questions like:
- What exactly is meant by “ADHD”?
- Is it really a “mental disorder”? A "medical condition"?
- Does stimulant treatment make things better or worse in the long term?
- What else can be done to help our active, intense and adventurous children to thrive?
WHAT IS ADD/ADHD?
Lydia Furman, MD , J Child Neurol. 2005;20(12):994-1003. ©2005 BC Decker, Inc., Posted 02/02/2006
Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is described as the most common "neurobehavioral condition" of childhood, and Dr. Furman raises the concern that ADHD is not a disease per se but rather a group of symptoms (thoughts, feelings and behaviors) representing a final common behavioral pathway for a gamut of emotional, psychological, and/or learning problems. A methodical review of the literature raises concerns, and "Core" ADHD symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity are not unique to ADHD. Rates of "comorbid" psychiatric (labels) and learning problems, including depression and anxiety, range from 12 to 60%, with significant symptom overlap with ADHD...thus, making it very difficult to diagnosis or label a child with any sort of validity. No neuropsychologic test result is pathognomic for ADHD, and structural and functional neuroimaging studies have not identified a unique etiology for ADHD. No genetic marker has ever been consistently identified, and heritability studies are confounded by familial environmental factors.
“Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of times, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems . . . to date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships, or behavior problems, the very things we would want most to improve . . . The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth.”
--Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota (Source: New York Times, “Ritalin Gone Wrong,” January 28, 2012)