Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is very trendy. If you search on Google, you will see that there are 34,800,000 hits for it (this is today, but I am sure tomorrow it there will be more, if only because I am adding this post…). It is amazing that as the years goes by, the percentage of kids and people with ADHD goes up.
Do you have an explanation to this?
In this post, let me try to give you some explanation to this inflation in the diagnosis of ADHD. You are welcome to choose the one that you like most.
Why it may not be ADHD
- The first explanation of this overuse of ADHD I described a few weeks ago in The ADHD Myth. In short, the definition of ADHD is so broad that almost every person in the world can be described as having attention deficit disorder at a certain stage in life.
- ADHD is genetic. All people carry the gene and it is recessive (it does not manifest itself) until someone finds it too hard to handle you.
- ADHD is contagious. We get it from the people around us through their attitude, so watch who you spend time with.
- Is easier to handle people if you give them a label and put them in a box. ADHD seems like a good label. It is even an acronym. Actually, it is even a 4-letter word.
- It is easier to get funding from governments and organizations if you present a growing need.
- ADHD is a business. There is a lot of money in ADHD for the pharmaceutical companies, so they have a great interest in promoting it.
- Parents prefer a diagnosis because it helps them with guilt feelings. Many parents with kids that are different and do not follow the “normal” definition of behavior (oh, that horrible word, “normal”) feel that they are blamed by society for “making” their kids like that. If someone diagnoses them as having ADHD, it takes the blame away.
- Being diagnosed with ADHD has many benefits for the child. It can be used as a great excuse to misbehave, be irresponsible and unsuccessful. I know many people who are desperately looking for such a great excuse.
- If you have had a chance to read about kids’ communication styles, you know by now that there are 4 different kinds of kids – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Digital.
Many kinesthetic children need movement in order to think properly. If we limit their movements, they will find unconventional ways to “move”. Consider how kids are limited in their movement in daycare centers and schools and even at home. Just go to the playground at each school or kindergarten and hear what they say to the kids – “Don’t run! Don’t jump, don’t throw the ball”. I sometimes wonder if people remember what a playground is for… Kids rock in their chairs, click their pens, fidget, talk to the person next to them and invent many other creative ways to keep their brains functioning. Along the way, they use up much of their energy and lose their concentration.
As you can see from the length of this option, I believe that this is the main reason for the inflation in ADHD diagnoses. During my 22 years in education, I have worked with many children diagnosed with hyperactive behavior, ADD or ADHD. Actually, they were all kinesthetic. I allowed them to move and in fact introduced them to activities that required them to move and, surprise, surprise, the problem disappeared.
No medication, no brain surgery, no punishment and definitely not a feeling that something is wrong with them, so the “brain malfunction” disappeared.
When I get kids for assessment with the suspicion of ADHD, I ask about their abilities in other areas. Brain malfunctions are consistent and affect the child in all areas. If a kid can concentrate one hour while doing something they love, but only 30 seconds doing something they hate, they do not have a concentration problem.
To be clear, ADD and ADHD are real. Some children, and some adults, suffer from them. I just think many doctors misdiagnose way too many children these days, because it’s easier and more profitable than finding the actual problem(s).
Please explore every other option before giving your child a label and/or medication.
I would love to know what you think. Please post your comments below.