What an interesting question, eh? In truth, I don’t hear this question much any more. I’m more likely to hear blatant statements like “They tried to tell me I had ADHD, but I didn’t want to go through all that.”
And my first thought is “I’d rather you’d actually asked me if ADHD was real.” At least there’s room for discussion in that conversation.
But maybe I’m being hasty here. Perhaps I should examine the situation a little closer.
Let’s start with the title question, Is ADHD a real medical disorder? My gut reaction is to say “Yes!” unequivocally and without reservation. But let’s consider the details of the question. And let’s do that by removing the word “real” which is a little insulting anyway.
Now the question becomes “Is ADHD a medical disorder?” And lets further simplify it by removing the adjective “medical.”
Now we have the question “Is ADHD a disorder?” Well that’s an easy one to answer. Hellz yes it’s a disorder! An annoying one at the best of times, and a real debilitating one most of the time.
And that very existence puts paid to the insulting word “real.” Would you ask if Cancer is real? The flu? A cold? A broken bone? Of course they’re all real.
But the fact is that, while any one of those things could have a detrimental impact on a life they also have a resolution. They either end in being fatal or they just end.
Perhaps the confusion over ADHD is because no such resolution exists in the progress of this disorder. There is medical intervention available (there’s that word “medical”), but there is no remediation.
ADHD can be made better while on medication but the impact of that medication is only during the treatment. When treatment is withdrawn the advantage is withdrawn at the same time.
So now the question is, if a course of medication can’t fix it permanently and must be continued for the person with ADHD to continue to experience the benefit, is it actually a “medical” disorder?
Let me ask you this, is Diabetes a medical disorder? Is Hyper tension? What about organ rejection? Just because we can’t remediate a problem medically and must continue treatment in order to realize a benefit does not mean a problem is not medical. In fact, I’d say that somehow almost makes it more medical.
But since ADHD will not worsen if left untreated (though the negative effects on ones life can certainly accumulate and snowball out of control) is it necessary to accept the diagnosis and the subsequent treatment?
That is a personal choice, but I like to think of it like one other type of medical issue, and you might appreciate the similarity. Having ADHD and ignoring it is kind of like having a rash that won’t stay conveniently hidden under your clothes. Every now and then others can see it, and they may or may not find it offensive. But you can feel it all the time. Now, do you accept the diagnosis, and get the cream to apply to it? Or do you just … pretend it’s not really there?
And oh, could you just scratch right over here? Thanks.