ADHD a myth, get out of here!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ColtCarbine, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The great ADHD myth


    Last updated at 22:34pm on 9th March 2007

    Have hyperactive kids been misdiagnosed with ADD?

    The psychiatrist who identified attention deficit disorder - the condition blamed for the bad behaviour of hundreds of thousands of children - has admitted that many may not really be ill.

    Dr Robert Spitzer said that up to 30 per cent of youngsters classified as suffering from disruptive and hyperactive conditions could have been misdiagnosed.

    They may simply be showing perfectly normal signs of being happy or sad, he said.

    'Many of these conditions might be normal reactions which are not really disorders,' he continued.

    Dr Spitzer developed the bible of mental disorder classification in the 1970s and 1980s, which identified dozens of new conditions including ADD and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Since then hundreds of thousands of children have been diagnosed with ADD, a behavioural disorder linked to poor attention span, and ADHD, which adds an element of hyperactivity.

    The disorders describe disruptive and restless behaviour that results in children having difficulty focusing their attention on specific tasks. ADHD is most commonly noticed at the age of five, and as many as one in 30 British children is said to have it.

    It is often treated with drugs, with Ritalin being the most commonly prescribed.

    Some scientists say ADHD is a genetic disorder that does not disappear with adulthood.

    But sceptics believe the diagnosis is a 'biobabble' label, which has evolved from a soundbite culture that is too prepared to medicalise anti-social human traits.

    Dr Spitzer, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, now says the classification led to many people being diagnosed as medically disordered when their mood swings and behaviour were simply normal feelings of happiness and sadness.

    In a BBC2 documentary series The Trap, which begins on Sunday, he says that between 20 and 30 per cent of mental disorder diagnoses may be incorrect.

    His admission comes as figures show that the amount spent by the Health Service on drugs to treat ADHD and similar disorders in children trebled to £12 million in just five years, from 1999-2003.

    Almost 400,000 British children aged between five and 19 are believed to be on the drugs - despite doctors' fears about side-effects.

    That is the equivalent of every child in Britain each taking more than four doses of the drugs every year.

    NHS guidelines recommend drug treatment for the most severely affected, although there have been reports of cardiovascular disorders, hallucinations and even suicidal thoughts.

    There have been at least nine deaths reported to the UK's Medicinesand Healthcare products Regulatory Agency since Ritalin became available in the early 1990s.

    But Dr Spitzer, who chaired the taskforce that compiled the international Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, said he is less concerned by wrong diagnoses and possible side-effects from drugs, than failing to prescribe them where needed.

    'By and large the treatments for these disorders don't have serious side effects,' he told the Times Educational Supplement.

    'I mean, some do, but they're not that serious, whereas the failure to treat can often be very hard on the child and on the family.'

    He acknowledged that some parents put pressure on doctors to diagnose ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and prescribe drugs.

    'We don't know to what extent that's been happening inappropriately,' he added.

    Ian Graham, headmaster of Slindon College, an independent boys' boarding school near Arundel, West Sussex, has 20 out of 100 pupils diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and a few more with related diagnoses such as oppositional-defiant disorder.

    About 17 of the boys are prescribed drugs including Ritalin, while the remainder have their condition controlled through diets that exclude chocolate, sweets or gluten.

    The school also employs therapy techniques, and the old-fashioned tactic of getting pupils to run off their energy in outdoor activities.

    Mr Graham said: 'I've never met a parent who is happy with the medication. They would all prefer not to use them, but to a man and woman, they all say they can't believe the change in their sons' ability to concentrate in lessons.'

  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    This really burns my buttons!!!

    :mad: Before I "go off", let me say that some children need help. That parents, doctors and teachers working together for the BENEFIT of a child is a good thing. I think that the percentage of these types of children is minute compared to the amount of kids who are medicated.
    [soap] Little Johnny won't sit still in class - he must have ADHD. Johnny has far too much energy for a little boy. Please take him to see his doctor. Johnny blurts out the answer before raising his hand, that's disruptive to class (Johnny has to go sit in the counselor's office).

    I've seen/heard this too many times. Johnny is not sick; he is a BOY. Being active, or wanting to be active, is NOT a disease! Being excited about learning (or having the correct answer) should not be a sign of a child that needs medication nor one that needs to be pulled from class because of his excitement.

    Give the kids their recess back. Let them run and play in the gym. Let them have dodge ball, tag and an occasional scuffle on the playground. They learn from these "unstructured" activities! Take 10 minutes to explain the to him protocal for raising his hand before saying the answer in class.

    These drugs DO have side effects (all drugs do). I bet most won't be known for a while, because the masses that have been used as guinea pigs haven't reached adulthood yet. That's when they'll be taken off of mom and dad's insurance and won't be able to afford their now-necessary (addiction) medications.

    Let kids be kids! Let them have fun and get dirty and fall down and play games that make no sense at all. Let them live LIFE!
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Amen Tracy!
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup. Chemical discipline, it seems, is sanctioned where a slat to the slats (the way to handle it some years ago) is not.
  5. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Amen Tracy!!!!

    I will agree that our society is getting drugs for everything!! Sad part, is my will sometimes blame her "ADD" for not getting house work done. I usually roll my eyes and turn the TV off and get to work.

    I have ALWAYS felt the labeling a child with ADD or ADHD was just another way to get a kid to sit still with a drug induced coma. Ain't gonna happen in my home!!!

    In fact, I feel that Dr's just prescribe way too many drugs these days. For example with me, personally. I had real bad heart burn and reflux. Got scoped, nothing wrong. I had previously tried changing my diet, but no joy, still had HB. Me with a DR. that believed in more natural remedies, and gave me a new diet to try. It worked!! I stopped taking the Nexium and I have had no (or very little) HB since. I also had a problem with persistant loose bowel movement, yeah, I constitantly had the runs (hehe). Dr checked it out, no problems medically that he could find, but here's another drug. (note: both Nexium and this drug were prescribed at the same time. Side effects for each drug was the reason I was taking the other drug (i.e. nexium's side effect was diarrhea )

    Needless to say, after really evaluating my diet I found some triggers that was causing all of my problems. I now avoid those foods and don't have to send $50+ a month to the drug companies.
  6. RJB

    RJB Monkey+++

    I was an annoyingly hyperactive kid, and the dumbest thing the teachers did to punish me was make me miss recess. The only time I could run off that energy.

    If I was a teacher, I'd make the kid do 20 push-up, 100 jumping jacks or something along those lines.
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    One of the best things I saw was in a grade school. They gave the kids a chance to play BEFORE school. "Wake up Your Brain": They could go walk or run the track (they even got to keep track of laps for the year), play in the gym or on the playground. When the bell rang to start the school day, the kids were ready to sit down and learn. They'd already had play and visit time with their friends. Teachers spoke well of the program and the class improvements.
  8. FalconDance

    FalconDance Neighborhood Witch

    Way back and when I was a kid, we had recess before school. Well, more of a meet and greet, really - but if the weather was even halfway nice, we were outside playing until the whistle blew! Can't remember a single kid being diagnosed as ADD or ADHD. Maybe it didn't exist that long ago. :sneaky:

    The last year our oldest son was in public school - 4th grade, the teachers and admin were pushing hard (as in near harassment) for us to "have him diagnosed as ADD" because he was always done with his work in record time - with good grades - and then he would be "disruptive". I reminded them that his IQ had been tested a couple years earlier at public school (they thought he was 'mentally handicapped') and it showed that contrary to their beliefs, he was actually a great deal smarter than anyone in their system, including all the teachers! With that reminder, I told them to simply give him extra tasks or have him help tutor someone who maybe didn't pick up the material as quickly.

    Know what their answer was? "We can't do that, it wouldn't be fair to everyone else." HOW would it not be fair? One child would have his energies focused into proactive behaviour and another would receive one-on-one help the teacher was apparently incapable of giving. The answer, "the teacher has to teach to the average child. If there are a few under average, then they have to catch up. It's not our responsibility."

    We went round and round all year and finally pulled him out to be privately tutored. Oh, and I did ask the pediatrician about the ADD thing. He said that under no circumstances would he diagnose a child at the behest of a school system. Unethical, immoral and downright stupid. Guess there's ONE good doc around.

    Btw, that boy is now 24 and working for an up-and-coming IT company in CA state. [winkthumb]

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