I have studied the diagnosis criteria for ADHD for some time now.
I’ve also looked into past criteria, did you know it changes from time to time? Yep, it does.
And the reason it changes is not that they can’t make up their minds … well, maybe it is, sort of, but it’s really more about the fact that they’re learning more about this insidious disorder all the time.
Learning is good, right?
By learning more, I don’t mean the natural health nuts observing the placebo effects of their latest mystical potion and declaring that they’ve learned the cause and cure of ADHD.
I mean that the medical community and the CDC are constantly trying to solve the riddle of what causes ADHD and what helps mitigate the symptoms and possibly, some time in the distant future, what will actually remediate it.
But what’s the stupid part?
Yeah, see, I’m not sure that there will be agreement here, but hear me out, won’t you?
My problem is that, in order for a diagnosis to be made, a number of symptoms have to be present, but that’s not all. They have to have been present in childhood, or it isn’t ADHD.
Imagine being told this, “Yes, you seem to have all the symptoms of ADHD, but you have no history of those symptoms in the past, so we can’t diagnose you with ADHD, you have mental health issues of an indeterminate type. Oh, and without a diagnosis, we can’t prescribe treatment … sorry.”
Now maybe that seems okay for some, but I think that’s utterly ridiculous.
And that’s not all …
There’s another issue I have a problem with. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD these symptoms must be impacting your life in a negative way.
And I have two problems with that criterion.
First, who decides what a negative impact is. I spent fifty years of my life making excuses for my bad luck, blaming everything that went wrong in my life of timing and other factors. I was so proficient at it that if you had told me everything that was going wrong in my life was because of me before I figured out the whole ADHD thing, I’d have laughed at you.
So is it possible to have these negative impacts be dismissed between the minimizing of them by the reporter and the potential misunderstanding by the diagnoser? Of course it is.
And the other problem is …
What if the impact isn’t considered negative by anyone? What if there is no negative impact? What if Joe Trust Fund manages to make his way through university, goes to work at dad’s company that is set up to run itself, and he just never needs to do anything that could be sabotaged by his symptoms?
Yet, he still has those symptoms
So then what?
My gut reaction is to say, “Ha, don’t give him the diagnosis! He doesn’t deserve it.” And then I remember that none of us deserve it. It’s neither a reward nor an award.
And I remember that the diagnosis is help, and everyone deserves help.
And who’s to say that he might not become a philanthropist who helps people with ADHD? Who’s to say his life and his community wouldn’t be better with treatment for ADHD.
… oh, right, someone decided he didn’t have it, only the symptoms.