Does ADHD Exist?

May 16, 2006

This is an interesting topic. I have ADD/ADHD. All my life. The question of its existence is not an issue for me, ADHD is a descriptive of a state, not a pathological designation. It may be a disease, but that’s not my issue. [and this is my personal, not professional opinion] That is, you need to recognize it and engage it, not drug it and ‘fix’ it. To me it IS a social construct… no less than genius or all of the descriptions of intellectual impairments; that is we have created these constructs to deal with something that pre-dates the construct. I don’t get why this is a problem to people, but people sometimes seem to want unassailable truths.

Myomancy: Does ADHD Exist?: “This is not as stupid a question as it sounds. We can’t do a blood test or brain scan to diagnoses ADHD so how do we know it exists? Yes some children are more active than others and have worse concentrations but does that mean its a disease, a mental health problem needing billions of tablets to treat? Is a ADHD a social construct?”

2 Responses to “Does ADHD Exist?”

  1. Dear Jason,

    I’m a middle-aged male who has recently begun receiving treatment for ADHD.

    I have no doubt that the condition exists. According to what I’ve read, PET scans and functional MRI’s have shown that persons suffering (and yes, I was suffering until I began treatment) have subnormal glucose uptake in specific areas of the brain. ADHD is a learning disability, and most of those who have it can benefit from treatment.

    My personal experience has been that use of Dexedrine enables me to do things that I’ve never before been able to do. I can pick and choose what I think about, instead of being distracted by and reacting to unimportant background noise. I can set out to do something, and get it done without being sidetracked. I can read on the subway without fear of missing my stop. Dexedrine has even improved my handwriting and keyboarding.

    I believe that ADHD should be diagnosed and treated by trained and experienced professionals, and that the medications should be used with extreme care. Dexedrine has greatly improved my life, and has so far caused no serious side effects.

    I hope you’ll be as lucky at getting effective treatment as I have been.

    There are many useful books on ADHD on the market. I particularly recommend, “Delivered From Distraction.”

  2. I appreciate your comment “I believe that ADHD should be diagnosed and treated by trained and experienced professionals, and that the medications should be used with extreme care” a lot. That is the issue. If someone has had the tests and the MRIs can show a specific problem, and a therapy can be applied, then I’m happy. I feel that ad hoc over application of the term, and the giving of medication without very specific testing on the individual should be considered problematic.

    There’s also that issue with terms. If you said “I have a glucose uptake problem.” people think about one way. But say “I have ADHD”, and people think about it differently. I prefer the accurate description of the actual problem to the nice sounding term. I guess I feel that ADHD is more of a symptom, and I prefer to deal with the underlying problem.