There are criteria for diagnosis of ADHD.
And they keep changing.
Why? I don’t know specifics, but mostly because we keep learning things.
But there may be some influences on the changing criteria that one could only call political.
For instance …
One cannot be diagnosed with ADHD if there is no indication of childhood affliction.
What indicates childhood affliction? History and verification by family members.
But there’s a problem
There are people who deny the existence of ADHD in their family. And history is very much subjective. If you don’t believe in ADHD’s existence, you will not see it in your child.
I’ve had people tell me that doctors have tried to diagnose their children with ADHD but they wouldn’t let them because their children are too smart to have ADHD.
(Forget about my heartfelt reactive speech on how their child could be the smartest person in the world and still have a parent foolish enough to deny them the advantages that a diagnosis and the understanding of their mind and its workings)
No history, no diagnosis! No diagnosis, no assistance in coping.
But hey, that’s just one person, right? Or is it?
The bigger picture
Since ADHD is a genetically transmitted issue, subsequent generations are starting out with less help than they might have.
Additionally, siblings, aunts and uncles, maybe even cousins might benefit from finding out about the existence of a condition they never previously considered.
But it’s just history, right?
Nope. There is an additional criteria before a diagnosis can be made.
In addition to symptoms, there must be a negative impact on ones life. On the CHADD website we can read, “If the individual exhibits a number of ADHD symptoms but they do not cause significant impairment, s/he may not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with ADHD as a clinical disorder.”
How is significant impairment determined?
Yes!!! Great question!
If you have all the symptoms, but you also have people looking after every aspect of your life that might be negatively impacted by ADHD, do you then not have ADHD?
How does that work?
If you can’t see, but have a job and a life where everything you need to be aware of is communicated to you verbally, does that mean you aren’t blind? No negative impact, no issue.
Yeah, that’s a stretch, but you see what I mean, right?
You have the symptoms and you have the history, but you’ve managed, possibly with the help of friends and family, to learn to cope, so you don’t really have ADHD?
I think …
The criteria should consider the genetic issue.
If I have the ability to pass on the genetic potential for ADHD than I should be diagnosed, if not as someone with ADHD, than at the very least as a carrier.
Does that seem a little silly?
No sillier than the idea that life impact of specific symptoms and history should be part of a diagnosis of a valid medical issue.
That aspect of diagnosis alone is fuel for the fires of those who deny the existence of this disorder.
If we aren’t taking it any more seriously than this, how do we expect others to?