ADHD is a disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
But what, exactly, is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual?
“Well,” you might say, “It’s the reference work that defines all the disorders and mental health issues currently known.”
To which I might well reply, “Pish tosh!”
Sorry, didn’t mean to be so harsh.
But the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is the current state of our understanding of what we believe are those disorders and issues.
It’s been known to be wrong. Some people currently feel the latest edition is wrong in many ways.
One example of the DSM being wrong is that Asperger’s is no longer considered a disorder, but a subtype of Autism as of the latest issue.
Is that wrong? Or … was it wrong before?
Here’s another one
At one time homosexuality was listed in the DSM. It is no longer there.
In my opinion it should not be there. That’s my opinion, agree or disagree with me, I don’t care and this isn’t a discussion about homosexuality, it’s about the DSM.
Some things in the DSM are new, some are gone when we compare it to earlier versions. So sometimes it’s wrong.
And it is reasonable to assume that in its current form it is likely not entirely correct.
That is to say, if we learn something new that impacts what we thought was true and changes that, the DSM will eventually change to reflect that.
And this is a good thing?
Oh hell yes. There’s a reason that time spent without research and immersed in a blind faith of what is currently thought of as truth with a refusal to change is called dark ages.
Whether the changes are right or wrong is important, but the fact that the DSM changes is by far the more important aspect.
As we learn and as we grow in our knowledge we must never lose sight of the purpose of research and study and even treatment. They are all intended to better our lives, their purpose is to make a more inclusive and less troubled society.
And this applies to ADHD how?
ADHD has changed in the DSM over the years, but continues to improve as more is known about it.
The people with ADHD are among the higher functioning members of society whether they are compared to others with disorders or the people who are referred to as neuro-typical.
But interestingly enough, there seems to be no set way of defining ADHD in the real world, outside the pages of the DSM.
But … but ….
Yes, that’s true of many disorders and mental health issues.
To this day people still think schizophrenia involves multiple personalities. Folks still don’t realize that depression is not feeling down.
The alarming thing about ADHD is that a growing number of people ignore the fact that a diagnosis requires that the symptoms impact the person negatively.
The current thinking that I’m referring to is the belief that ADHD is “just an alternate way of thinking.”
Now understand …
If you have ADHD and this is part of your coping strategy, that’s fine.
But I’m getting tired of people who don’t have ADHD suggesting this idea.
Why? Because it minimizes the impact, undermines the urgency behind research and marginalizes those who suffer the reality of this insidious disorder.
Claiming that ADHD is just a different way of thinking is on a par with suggesting that comas are just a different plane of consciousness.