Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ADHD and Boys: Pandemic or Over-Reaction?

This story totally pisses me off. More and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD and most have decided it's something environmental and needs to be treated chemically.

Far more boys than girls are diagnosed with the condition, too.

It's all bullshit. Surely, the disease exists. Always has, always will. But when does a child's behavior cross the line from "typical boy" to ADHD-needs-to-be-treated-with-Ritalin?

Seems very soon.

I think the "experts" need to go back in time and examine some of the great leaders and innovators in the world: Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warrent Buffett, to name but a few, and determine whether they had ADHD and then ask one more question (okay, maybe 2): What did it matter and how did they deal with such a debilitating condition (it's a problem, right)?

I think they'll find that part of the increase in cases is due to population growth; some is due to increased pathogens in our environment, food, air, water; and finally, the bulk of it will be heightened attention to the disease itself.

Most of which is due to M-O-N-E-Y.

Drug companies found a money tree. Over the years, they've cultivated it. They've fertilized it. They've pruned it. Now they're harvesting it.

There's a huge amount of money to be made from exploiting parents' concern over their children's health and well-being. Given the chance to right a wrong in your kid's brain, wouldn't you? Do you care about the dollar cost?




It's so sad to see the exploitation of a mortal fear solely for the purpose of squeezing more money out of people. But it's the way the world works.

Therefore, we need to investigate the stakeholders in any and all issues and follow the money. It's our only chance to make sound decisions.

This whole thing is crap. Drugs have their place, but they're way overused. And to use them on our children is a shame.

I'm sure I had (have?) ADHD. So what? I can read, write, do math. I have two degrees, have always held a job, and I've taught hundreds of people how to do things.

Just think how fucked up I'd be if I had taken drugs to "help me" with my disease. Drugs, by the way, that don't have a long-enough history of administration to make meaningful conclusions. Could be that Ritalin, for example, is great at getting kids to concentrate but ever-so-subtly changes the most basic components of a child's body (genes? Mitochodria? Cells? Organs?) that he lives a shorter life, becomes more susceptible to diseases, or affects his offspring?

All of these things are unknown. But wouldn't you feel better about all of this if you just knew that ADHD is, and always has been, more "normal" than we thought? And that the consequences of having it and not treating it aren't so dire?

Only you can choose whether to give your children drugs for ADHD. I hope I've made it clear that it's just not up to your child's teacher or his doctor (who's financed, in large part, by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies).

Why schools are failing boys - Family and health -