Does ADHD Really Exist!? This Is Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD

At what point did boredom become a mental disorder? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) seems to have become an epidemic in the United States, with roughly 19% of Americans diagnosed.

Meanwhile, in France, the diagnosis rate is only .5%. So what explains such a wide disparity?

Well, first and foremost, one must recognize that ADHD is an extremely questionable “disorder.” A few decades ago, ADHD would have just been called “boredom.”

In fact, even Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn of the Royal College of General Practitioners stated, “ADHD is fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction.”

adhd-drug-concerta-methylphenidate

Confessing before his death, Leon Eisenberg—one of the “founding fathers” of ADHD as a psychiatric disorder—said, “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.”

In France, there are numerous cultural differences compared to the U.S. Generally, the French discourage the consumption of chemical/processed foods much more than in America. This is especially true for children in school, who often eat meals that are prepared by chefs-in-training using ingredients from local produce and livestock.

With all the high fructose corn syrup, GMO foods, stimulants, allergens, etc. in our children’s diets, no wonder they cannot focus or stay calm. Plus they are children!

Children naturally tend to be active and energetic, which is why constraining them to an assigned seat in a prison-like classroom provokes misbehavior.

Do schoolchildren have a “deficit in attention”, or are they just bored out of their minds?

When you cannot pay attention to a boring film, do you assume it is because you have a mental disorder that inhibits your ability to focus?

Of course not!

You walk out of the theater and demand a refund!

Instead of questioning what we feed our kids or the schools we put them in, our default assumption is that there’s something inherently wrong with our children.

This mentality not only justifies poor dieting and schooling environments, but it also defends the mainstream pharmaceutical industry that profits from selling “treatments” for what are often overblown or overdiagnosed mental “disorders.”

Ritalin-SR-20mg-1000x1000

Contrarily, in France, ADHD is preferably treated with socializing and talk therapy, rather than harmful chemicals that come with numerous side-effects and create addictions.

As Paul Fassa of RealFarmacy.com describes it:

“Psychiatrists traded in their note pads used in talk therapy for prescription pads as their professional stature diminished a few decades ago…So then psychiatrists could have patients visit for 15 minutes then prescribe them pharmaceuticals.”

Even more disturbing is the fact that Ritalin is a stimulant that is chemically similar to cocaine in molecular structure. We “stimulate” kids with “stimulants” because school is not “stimulating” enough for them.

While the “war on drugs” targets non-violent pot smokers, it completely ignores the toxic, and unnecessary drugs pushed onto children by Big Pharma.

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95 comments
Pam Arnold - November 4, 2015

You covered this in your article, but at the same time that is were the focus needed to be. The US is bombarded with processed food and chemical pollution in everything we are exposed to. Our children are eating crap in schools. They eat BPA lined fruit and vegetables in cans, milk and cheese with anti-biotics, meat from industrial sized processing, and cattle, chickens and pork raised in crowded filthy conditions. They are pumping chemtrails in the air to control the weather and our water supply is full of chemicals. It is no wonder there is such a high rate of ADHD in this country. Many European countries are blocking our crap from being imported over there.

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EJS - November 4, 2015

This isn’t about it existing, this is about it being treated poorly. It exists. I knowb3 people who have it. Only one of them is on medication, because he cannot focus on anything without it. There are levels to everything. To say it doesn’t exist because there are people who say they have it but dont, is false. What needs to be worked on is treatment.

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    verheek - November 4, 2015

    He didn’t say it doesn’t exist.

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      EJS - November 5, 2015

      Not in so many words. The article very strongly is suggesting it isn’t a true disorder. Which is bunk.

      Reply
        verheek - November 5, 2015

        How would you know if it was a disorder? I would say if it was a genetic issue but even then disorder implies outside the norm. I don’t know what that is.

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          Spacialist - November 5, 2015

          try consulting research that isn’t thirty to forty years old!

          Reply
TheSandraS - November 4, 2015

Funny but I eat very very healthy and yet I still have ADHD. No, it’s not about being bored. As an example, how about you try to forget something you know off by heart. like your email address..ok go ahead, forget it. can you do it? nope. That’s the same for me. IT’s not cause i’m bored that i can’t remember or be aware.

Of course Leon Eisenberg “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease” because it’s NOT A DISEASE. It’s a mental disorder / condition . You’d think someone who uses words everyday would have comprehended that bit of difference.

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Dee Kvasnak - November 4, 2015

My niece is a daycare worker, and I AM amazed with how these young kids are coddled and pampred. I am older than dirt, but I sure don’t remember kids biting each other all of the time when I was young. Kids, get frustrated easily. They are not taught to use their imaginations. I was an only child and had to entertain myself. Kids nowadays can’t do that.

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    verheek - November 4, 2015

    Too much screen time coupled with processed food.

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Amanda Thomas - November 4, 2015

My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was around 7. His therapist wanted him to be on some sort of drug. I told his therapist,” no, we will find a better solution for my son”. In the end all it took was to say one simple word,”focus”. Something triggered inside my sons brain ,and he was able to focus. Which helps his teachers and my son in school. He is a constant honor roll student. I try and keep him active. Right now he runs cross country ,and plays soccer. When he is not in a sport ,he hangs out at the gym. With his eating habits, I am not with him 24/7. He is 13 years old right now, his choices of what he eats are not the greatest. As a parent, I took him to classes, we watch documents, we read articles, we listen to lectures together about food. What it comes down to is what his friends are eating. I am blessed with the fact that he has good friends. They are 13/14 year old kids, and they are going to eat what is in front of them. As a parent one day I hope he gets it. Oh, he is in therapy ,because his dad, and I got divorce. It is still hard for him emotionally. We are blessed with a great therapist. My point to my spew is that it is the parents responsibility to make sure that they raise there kids to be productive adults. I feel like if a parent feels like shoving pills down there kids throats is the easiest solution to a “problem” they are failing there children.

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    Jennifer - November 5, 2015

    Agreed

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    Jenny - November 5, 2015

    screw you. how is it my parents fault that my brain functions differently?! it isn’t. someone simply telling me to “focus” isn’t going to do anything at all. medication was the only thing that ever worked for me! so get off your high horse and stop thinking you’re the worlds greatest parent.

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    John Doe - November 6, 2015

    Saying “focus” doesn’t work. You make it sound like people give Ritalin to their kids so they can shut up and do good in school. You really must not know what happens when a normal person take a dose…

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    STUDIOBREGÓN - November 12, 2015

    There is no magic word that suddenly triggers children to overcome a brain synapses issue. Many children of ADHD grow out of their condition as their brain further develops or as a result of behavioral mods and talk therapy, but that’s not to say it’s the only treatment. Meds often enable the child to work through their home/school focusing issues long enough to get through it so that can move on. It’s not like they’re being sent off on a lifetime supply of drugs, necessarily. Ask any teacher who has dealt with ADHD and children on and off meds and they’ll be the first ones to tell you that the meds WORK! They work to the advantage of the children not failing in school and consequently, causing permanent damage to their educational & social trajectory.

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    KDM - October 31, 2016

    Like you, I have an issue with a therapist telling ANYONE to put their kid on meds because they suspect ADHD. That kind of diagnosis needs a full, complete educational and psychiatric workup, including a physical to rule out any other possible issues. Only then should a diagnosis be made. Clearly your child does not have ADHD. Simply telling someone with ADHD to “focus” does not work. It’s not that simple. I wish it were. To act as if those of us with kids who have ADHD WANT to “shove pills down their kids throats” is insulting and belies your complete ignorance to what people with ADHD are truly dealing with. It can be debilitating.

    It seems that your son had some emotional issues that were impairing his ability to do what he needs to do, and you dealt with them. Great. Be GRATEFUL. Stop judging what you do not understand. The willingness to judge others when you have no clue what they truly face is not only short sighted, it’s ignorant. I am so glad that my son is in our family- surrounded by those who accept him for who he is and are unafraid to help him face his unique challenges. Since his diagnosis and then beginning his treatment plan (therapy, lots of exercise, and medication) he is thriving. He is able to be the best “him” he can be. That’s what effective treatment for ADHD does for people who get it. It doesn’t make them zombies or their parents “pill pushers”.

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Katie - November 4, 2015

I was diagnosed in college with ADHD and it had nothing to do with boredom or food. It had everything for which it stands for, I couldn’t take exams in class and finish because I have severe anxiety issues. I took the testing and sure enough I was flunking every test because I could never finish or if I finished I guessed. So putting me in a room with extra time and alone with no clocks I Aced my exams. Then I became a straight A student. So before blaming food and boredom as a reason know facts about actual mental illness. I had no issue with food or being bored. I have mental disabilities that in return made me fear tests. I also have a Masters degree. And never had to use my ADHD because my school was online and tests were assigned at the beginning of the week and we had to finish at the end of the week. So some people have mental disabilities to have to fall in the category of actually having ADHD and it is a real mental illness.

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    Jennifer - November 5, 2015

    Im sorry but it sounds to me u have social dysfunction just needing to get a grip. Its a fear u CAN OVERCOME. Not medicate.

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      Katie - November 5, 2015

      Definitely not a social dysfunction. If that would be the case my mom would have medicated me as a kid but instead I was a nobody getting D’s. You may not understand how America works but before blaming try understanding first. And if you are from America same thing goes. Don’t act like a snob acting like I have a dysfunction without even knowing me.

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        verheek - November 7, 2015

        Well I hope America doesn’t work with just pills. Sounds to me like performance anxiety.

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          Katie - November 7, 2015

          People from other countries can say whatever the F* you all want and you do not understand American schools or family situations and I refuse for you to take away the person I am just because I take medication when needed. I got straight A’student after being diagnosed so call it whatever you want but get off us As Americans fighting for a purpose that these so called articles come out to downplay American society and try to take away our identity because we have to fight our own demons here.

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          verheek - November 8, 2015

          I’m not saying anything negative about your treatment. I’m glad it worked out. Maybe there is something you can learn from other countries though too.

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          Katie - November 9, 2015

          Other countries need to learn more about America than I learning from other countries. I am very well diverted but it sounds like you guys are not since you guys think ADHD IS MAKE BELIEVE.

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          sharon flinn - November 10, 2015

          My husband has add my daughter has it , his mother and dad have it but my son from a previous marriage doesnt . I believe after living with and being caretaker of people with this disorder iam going to call it a disorder of the brain . Are predisposed through genetics. My husband takes ritalin daily hes 61 has been taking it for over 20 years. Their are parts of the brain that are not working correctly and the stimulants bring them up to speed so they can work better it is not a cure only a treatment usually life long. thats my two cents

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          Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

          Yes, there’s something we can learn.

          Be VERY CAREUL about putting politicians in charge of a national health system.

          That’s when conditions such as ADHD are not treated, because it costs money and it involves making physicians and other care providers keep up with the science.

          No single-payer! Universal coverage yes, but NO single-payer. Unless we want to end up like France and UK when it comes to adult ADHD.

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          Ragnar Dragonfyre - November 8, 2015

          I’m sure just about anybody could get straight A’s if they essentially had unlimited time to do tests.

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          Katie - November 9, 2015

          I didn’t have unlimited time just an actual 30 minutes so stop jumping to conclusions.

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          Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

          Go Katie.

          These ignorant strangers are attempting to bully you, and by association, the very legitimacy of ADHD.

          Reply
      Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

      Maybe you should practice psychiatry in France. I hear the standards are very low there. ;-)

      Reply
Chris - November 4, 2015

ADHD does not equate to boredom. Please do your research before adding to the misinformation already out there about ADHD that further stigmatizes those that are affected by it.

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    verheek - November 5, 2015

    But what does it equate to? Is it a true genetic disorder or rooted on our food and excess screen time or our idea that everyone conforms?

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      Allison Landy - November 7, 2015

      It’s a biological, not genetic disorder. It’s a neurological misfiring of synapses in the brain. To say not to treat ADHD with medication is akin to saying don’t treat diabetes with insulin. Sure, sometimes changing diet will help, but that doesn’t mean you remove the medication or claim the disease is fictitious.

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        verheek - November 7, 2015

        What he’s saying us that the diagnosis is more common here than France. I’m wondering if it’s the feminized society that requires boys to be like girls and fit the class without bring allowed any risky physical activity outside at recess. What defines ADHD? A busy kid that doesn’t fit society? Maybe we need less structure and carpet time for some.

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          Allison Landy - November 7, 2015

          Have you ever read the DSM? That has a pretty clear definition of the disorder – and it says nothing of the “kid not fitting society.” For the record, kids with ADHD aren’t necessarily active either. It’s not about too much structure, or not playing outside enough. These are all ideas from people who know nothing about the actual disorder. Again, it’s a BRAIN dysfunction. The brain’s synapsis do not fire in the same way as a brain without ADHD. The brain goes dark. That’s WHY stimulants actually WORK for people with ADHD… because it stimulates the brain to fire like a healthy brain.

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        Justmom - November 7, 2015

        Are you saying that the disease is caused by a deficiency of Ritalin?

        Interestingly, you use the diabetes analogy. Diabetes 2 is a condition of insulin resistance. Yet, doctors routinely prescribe insulin. Has administration of insulin ever cured diabetes? No, it can’t and never will because it doesn’t address the issue of insulin resistance.

        In order to properly address any condition which is actually only a sympton, the underlying cause must be known. Obviously, there is no such thing as a Ritalin deficiency. So whether adhd is a disease or a sympton, what we know absolutely is that there is no condition that is caused by a Ritalin deficiency.

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          Allison Landy - November 7, 2015

          I’m not sure how you twisted my statement into me saying that ADHD is a ritalin deficiency. It was a simple analogy – diabetes is a medical condition for which we prescribe medication. ADHD is a medical condition for which we prescribe medication. I also never stated that insulin cured diabetes or that medication (and there are many others other than ritalin) cures ADHD. In both cases, the medication makes something in the body work more effectively. I clearly stated that ADHD is a brain dysfunction – which is the ‘underlying cause” in your scenario. ADHD is the diagnosis, not a symptom. The medication prescribed for ADHD is a stimulant, because the brain needs stimulation to wake up and work. All this can be seen in brain scans. It’s not a big unknown. ADHD isn’t cured, it’s treated… many disorders aren’t cured, but they are treated… diabetes is one of them, bipolar disorder and depression are others as are various seizure disorders, the list of analogous examples goes on. People who are neither psychiatrists, psychologists nor doctors (i.e., the author) should not be considered credible sources of information regarding medical and mental health conditions.

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          verheek - November 7, 2015

          This doesn’t equate with the article nor comments relating to hyper-activity. The question is whether one really needs a diagnosis for this or there needs to just be room for these people to function who are not on the extreme end of the scale.

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kiapet - November 5, 2015

I lived with undiagnosed ADHD for 19 years. I knew that there was something that made me different from the other kids, that made it harder for me, but it was always written off because I was smart and got straight A’s. Never mind that it took me all day to do work that took my sister two to three hours, never mind that I chronically forgot things, which got me in trouble with my parents and teachers regularly, never mind that I zoned out when people were talking to me and then accidentally interrupted them, making me look inconsiderate and hurting social interactions. No, these were all personality quirks, and the fact that I had to work twice as hard as my classmates to get the same work done was a sign of my irresponsibility and lack of time management. When I was diagnosed with ADHD, it validated the struggles I had been facing for my entire life.
And then I read articles like this, which try to invalidate me and my identity, which try to tell me that all along I’ve just been bored and lazy after all. The recent increase in diagnoses is just that: an increase in diagnoses. It means that people like me are finally getting the help we need, not that we’re suddenly springing up like daisies. There could very well be large numbers of people living with ADHD in France who were never diagnosed. If I hadn’t been, I could still have mostly functioned like a “normal” adult; it’s not something that is obvious to the casual observer. Stop spreading misinformation, because it does more harm to people like me than you will ever know.

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    Jennifer - November 5, 2015

    No conventional medicine is terrible. Tell me why way back this never existed. If it did they overcame it so Im not buying. U just became dependant after so long of taking it. Terrible thing.

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      Michael Crowdes - November 5, 2015

      On what do you base the assertion that “way back this never existed”? Because something didn’t have a name doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, and maybe instead of overcoming it, people’s lives were less than they could have been. “Way back” we treated cancer according to the theory of humors – things progress.

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      Todd Woodell - November 7, 2015

      Jennifer, you are so wrong. I went to grade school in the late 60’s early 70’s and ADD/ADHD didn’t have a name, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. I was that kid that always scored top 10% in standardized tests, but couldn’t focus (“Day dreamer, Doesn’t apply himself” were my labels) because I couldn’t. Got on meds for ADD in my 50’s and everyone around me notices what a different it makes!

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        Ragnar Dragonfyre - November 8, 2015

        Of course they notice a difference.

        Take some meth and see how well you concentrate. You’ll get everything done in no time.

        Doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

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      Ad Lib - November 13, 2015

      ADHD meds have been around since the 1960s and there are medical references and studies for the disorder as early as the late 19th century. In fact, look to the term “idiot savant” and consider what person that term is actually describing. ADHD is not new. Our understanding of it has become much better because our ability to map brain activity has improved to a state where we can now see what is happening and hopefully find the answers as to why. But the conclusions discussed in this article are correlation equaling to causation. Present studies suggest this much more complex than diet and excercise.

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      Gina Pera - May 13, 2016

      ADHD has been in the human genome for centuries, perhaps longer.

      The earliest description of what today we call ADHD was in a German medical textbook of the late 1700s.

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    Katie - November 6, 2015

    Don’t ever fear your identity will be taken away. I’ve come to accept my identity and I have many issues. Other countries don’t understand American ways especially schools and how there no activity for 8 hours while you are in school. I had a mom who didn’t care. When my step-dad came and like you 19 years later I was diagnosed with it but prior to that I was diagnosed with PTSD along with a bunch of other stuff. Never ever feel like your identity is taken away especially by people like her. They don’t understand. Be happy you are unique and be proud that you can say that I have this or this but stand your point say your name or better yet scream it and say this is who I am and no on will take that away from me. God bless. I hoped that helped.

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    Georgia - November 7, 2015

    Perfect response. Everyone should read this.

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    Eva Vince - November 7, 2015

    I have a question, and please don’t all jump all over me I really am just asking to learn something not to criticise or anything. You say these articles ‘invalidate me and my identity’ could you please elaborate on that? Do you see yourself as your illness? I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for many years but have always treated them as simply illnesses I have had to live with, you know like arthritis that flares up etc. I’ve always resisted seeing them as part of my personality or being identified as a depressive anxious person, which the medical profession often does, you often become nothing but a label in the system. I believe I am still me and any dreams or goals I might have or have had were achieved despite these problems. But there have been times I’ve thought yeah you know what maybe they have molded my personality through the years. Maybe the interests I’ve had and things I’ve done were guided by the issues I’ve had rather than natural inclination. It really does make me wonder too about cultural differences and how one set of behaviour will be considered part of a mental illness in one culture and not in another culture. I don’t know what to think these days, but hoping for some intelligent discussion.

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      verheek - November 8, 2015

      Me too!

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      Jaimy de Bok - November 15, 2015

      I have been diagnosed with add myself and i can see the reason kiapet sees it as invalidation, I don’t know whether or not its smart to completely merge the identity of the disease and urself. But when you act different compared to others, are more or less happy than them, have more troubles learning. It has always been an impact to my confidence. Being diagnosed with a reason covers these confidence issues in a way that i think nothing else could have. If people then start telling you you are just bored and the reason for your problems dont exist reacting like kiapat does is understandable to me ^^.

      As for the molding. I am sure that these diagnoses do also get you to make different choices in life. While one person could challenge him or herself more to ” beat the disease” I think there will be another one that says, fuck it i cant do it i have “insert disease” and I therefore have the right not to try. Not sure if there are any scientific papers about it but i think the impact of having a diagnose on life is not small.
      For myself ! I believe ! still distancing my identity from ADD partly and always trying to look into ways to overcome it while accepting that it does not always work out as you want seems more healthy than fully accepting it as a part of me.

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      Gina Pera - May 13, 2016

      The difference between anxiety/depression and ADHD is that ADHD is considered the most impairing outpatient condition.

      Generally speaking…..You can be depressed and anxious and still do your laundry, still do your job, still manage your money. In fact, people with depression are typically hyper-responsible. They “make the trains run on time.”

      Quite the opposite with ADHD. It can pervade every aspect of one’s life, from reading and listening to writing, driving, parenting, managing money, earning degrees, staying employed, etc.

      You don’t have “bouts” of ADHD. It is omnipresent.

      This is not to minimize anxiety or depression, which indeed can be crippling in their extreme forms. Perhaps you have only a mild form and you know very little about ADHD. Those two factors together mean you have little understanding or empathy for what many folks with ADHD are up against, minute by minute.

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    Ragnar Dragonfyre - November 8, 2015

    I had the opposite experience that aligns with the articles findings.

    I was a smart, high energy kid that had difficulty concentrating on subjects that didn’t engage me. Math especially. Instead of trying to find new and better ways to keep me engaged (English teachers let me read materials well above my level) they called my parents in and asked that they have me diagnosed with ADD.

    My parents told them to fuck off and I’m glad they did.

    I didn’t have ADD, I just had a lot of energy and a low tolerance for subjects that bore me. That is not a disorder, that’s simply a boring school curriculum. It’s time that the curriculum change and recognize that not all kids should be educated in the exact same way. Some need to be allowed to skip grades while others need to be held back however “no child left behind” doesn’t allow for this to happen. Everyone gets pushed forward at the same rate for better or for worse.

    Luckily my parents knew this as well and didn’t start me off early on a life of pharmaceutical addiction.

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      ShePlays2Win - November 8, 2015

      My nephew was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. He had all kinds of exemptions and accommodations in school. My daughter showed some of the same traits and I was concerned that she might be bi-polar, too. My sister kept urging me to have her tested for it and I refused. I made her push to succeed. My nephew graduated high school not being able to hold a job, read a tape measure or multiply. My daughter, though she struggles with some subjects, went on to attend college and is in her 4th year, working on a music education degree. I think that we let our children give up too often. If we tell them they are disabled and make excuses for their behavior because of it, they use that crutch that we have handed to them. Some of us have to work a little harder than someone else to accomplish things, but if you do work harder, you can succeed. For some, things just come easy. Deal with what you have to work with and don’t ask for handouts to accommodate your hardships and you will be successful too. That’s not to say that there are some that truly have a disability that cannot be overcome without medication and accommodations, but I think ADD, ADHD and bi-polar are way over-diagnosed and our kids are over-medicated because of it!

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      Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

      So, how old are you now? Have you been able to meet your goals in life?

      Do you have domestic obligations — a mortage/rent, children, a partner?

      Reply
    Marm - November 11, 2015

    Your story is mine, except, I am older. I could not agree with you more. Misinformation like this can lead parents away from getting proper treatment for their children. At the very least, it may give their children a difficult life-long struggle and at the worst it may lead to total despair and even death. To all readers please get a proper diagnosis and don’t cheat your children because of misinformation and your fears of ADHD medication.

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    Ad Lib - November 13, 2015

    Well said Kiapet!

    Too often the complexities of ADHD are ignored, and as does this article, people only look at the hyperactivity aspect but are ignorant to the several hundred details that go into making a diagnosis. Hyperactivity is the last aspect of an ADHD diagnosis, because it’s the most common to be shared with other issues. Articles like this, are harmful because someone somewhere will read this and will ignore the good advice of their paediatric specialist for child spectrum disorders and deny their child treatment.

    If a child has poor eyesight, you wouldn’t deny them glasses and instead insist they squint to see better. Why would you ask the same of your child when their brain cannot focus?

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      Jaimy de Bok - November 15, 2015

      Thank you :)

      Reply
Neuromancer - November 5, 2015

What you have asserted in this article is NOT that ADHD is not a real disorder, but that it IS a real disorder caused by a toxic diet.

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    Jennifer - November 5, 2015

    Thank u…agreed

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      Frances - November 6, 2015

      As a parent of 3 ADHD boys who eat healthy diets I can assure you that toxic diets are not the cause, nor is boredom, lack of exercise, pampering and other, quite frankly insulting, factors I have read here. Moreover I have not read here anything that indicates that ADHD, like some other disorders, covers a spectrum of difficulties including impulsivity, hyperactivity, oppositional and compulsive behaviours. No two individuals are likely to have the same indicators to the same degree. ADHD children need understanding and encouragement. My boys are bright and engaging with much to offer society. Boys like them were probably considered the ‘naughty’ ones of classrooms of times past but consider that many girls too are on the ADHD spectrum and are probably the ones gazing out the window. So I agree with TonyXL that ideally schools should meet the needs of these children rather than trying to forcing them into situations that are difficult for them to cope with. I am not a doctor but my observation in that ADHD is in all likelihood a genetic condition rather than situational, a very real brain configuration. Medication has made a huge difference to my boys; it has enabled them to stay in mainstream classrooms. I don’t like them taking it but there is little alternative and there are side effects – it suppresses appetite and affects sleep patterns. I have managed that my giving them breaks from it. Their ADHD might be a handicap in some respects but it also makes them highly social, engaging and energetic individuals.

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AnotherVoice2 - November 5, 2015

I’m not saying that it’s never appropriate to prescribe medication; there are children and adults who may benefit from it. I am saying that, unlike my parents, and most definitely my grandparents (two born in the late 1880’s), our work — and/or our chore list at home — isn’t physically demanding. And our children spend way too much time sitting. We’ve got FitBit and gyms, but, really, exercise for the sake of exercise? A few people like to do that, but most of us would rather play. I ran because I had to run when I was a high school and college athlete, but, if you see me running now, you probably want to run, too, because something/somebody is chasing me.

Before you medicate your children, please try playing with them. Ride bikes to the park and teach them how to launch out of a swing. Go to the pool and toss coins for them to swim and dive for. Go bowling as a family. Build a snowman. If you come home and just park it in the Lazy-Boy, and encourage your children to not make noise and/or bug you? Not only will they not succeed, you won’t, either.

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    verheek - November 7, 2015

    Yes I know one family where a couple of the kids became runners because of this “excess” physical energy. Some people just aren’t cut out to sit still and focus in class. I know a few of various ages.

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    Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

    We’re not on the farms or in factories or sweat shops.

    We are using our BRAINS.

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Meghan Deppenschmidt - November 5, 2015

So some 2 bit clean eating hippie is saying that feeding your children bad food is the cause of ADHD? Did anyone else notice the article was all over the place? It went from ADHD really being boredom, to clean eating, to classroom behavior, and ended with the war on drugs. ADHD is not boredom. ADHD is watching your child struggle to focus despite diet changes, counseling, behavior modification, and classroom segregation. ADHD is seeing a child who is brilliant being told they are going to be put in a special ed class because the can’t focus and told to their face at a young age they are not normal. How is it that 2-3 weeks on a small pill can change that behavior but 2 years on a selective diet couldn’t. I constantly see posts from people saying ADHD is a fictitious disease, that kids are supposed to be rambunctious and act out. No, that is your kid being a little asshole and misbehaving. There are times and places to be rowdy and have fun, and there are times and places to behave. Ironically, many of the people that preach that ADHD does not exist and that medicating children is not the answer are the ones that practice so called “clean eating” and have the most misbehaved children I know. So where does that leave things? How about the truth, ADHD is a real mental disorder. Sure diet, exercise, and behavior modification can help it but don’t all of those things help heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, cancer, GI issues? I suppose they don’t exist either and are just made up diseases too.

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    Miranda Pennington - November 5, 2015

    I’d say it’s only a disorder in relationship to the capitalist environment we live in. In other words, it’s relative. I think of it as personality type. Most ADHD people can focus to the exclusion of all else when they are extremely engaged in an activity. Such people make brilliant musicians, artists, and inventors and more. If you have ADHD and can’t focus on your job, you are probably not well suited to it.

    One thing the article fails to mention is that the French are strict disciplinarians. 85% of French families spank their children and the French believe that children should be required to adhere to specific, culturally universal, expectations.They believe in strictly structured time as well. Many experts posit that French children don’t get ADHD because they are conditioned from birth to behave a certain way, which effects brain development.

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      Meghan Deppenschmidt - November 6, 2015

      I agree with what you are saying to an extent. My son absolutely loves dancing. He has a passion for it. He wants to be on Broadway, and wants to major in dance in college so he can open his own studio. He studies at a world renowned ballet school and also at another local dance school. He pays attention during class and focuses. However, you can tell if he does not have his one of his doses of Ritalin on any given day and you can tell when it is wearing off. My son is 10 and has slowly had to increase his dosage of Ritalin over the years.

      He currently takes 30mg of Ritalin XR upon waking (usually somewhere between 0430-0530) and then takes a 20mg dose of Ritalin after lunch. During the summers if he is not participating in his choice of dance intensives I give him an afternoon medication holiday. My son dances anywhere from 20-35 hours a week. He has a sleep disorder that prevents him from going into nonREM sleep. He sleeps 4-5 hours a day.

      I am as strict as they come, being as I was raised in a military family and I was in the Marine Corps myself. We have a structured schedule.
      I pulled my son out of regular public school and put him in online school after his first grade teacher said he was getting too far ahead in math and reading. Apparently first graders reading books such as “Harry Potter” and “Peter and the Starcatchers” was not appropriate nor was a child in that level learning multiplication and division. He was also getting done his work too fast. These are the things parents of children with ADHD face. Some people with ADHD are bored, some get done their work too fast, others truly can’t focus long enough.

      Maybe it isn’t diagnosed as much in France because their education system isn’t as broken as ours is. Maybe their education system isn’t based on a “one size fits all model” or “no child left behind” like it is here in the United States. No child left behind to me is another way of saying push them through by any means necessary. There are thousands of maybes we could touch on. But to totally dismiss an actual disease that effects so many people, why doesn’t this health nut go ahead and say ebola and chicken pox, and schizophrenia don’t exist because they aren’t as predominant certain countries? It is a slap in the face to someone with the disease or family members caring for those who have it and deal with them everyday. I would like to see any of you try to handle my child for a week without his meds and tell me ADHD doesn’t exist. I can guarantee you wouldn’t make it through the first day before giving up.

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        Miranda Pennington - November 7, 2015

        This is definitely a poorly written article. Another thing the article fails to mention is that they do, in fact, diagnose children with ADHD in France, just not as many. They also only medicate children after every other treatment has failed. The article also fails to mention that artificial food colors are banned in France. I think ADHD is real, but whether it actually hinders a person’s ability to function depends on a lot of variables, including the intensity of the ADHD. When we took my daughter off food colors, we saw a huge improvement in her ability to concentrate and manage frustrations, but she’s only five and only time will tell if measures like that and behavioral support will make the difference she needs to grow up to be a balanced and self sufficient adult. I applaud you for doing so much to support your child! You are amazing and obviously a really engaged parent. I can see why this article would be offensive to you and many others in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing your story!

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        verheek - November 8, 2015

        It’s still a question of degrees. How come we call this disease? Is it anything besides a requirement to fit into society? Were there ADD people in history and what did they do?

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          Ad Lib - November 13, 2015

          It’s not a disease, it’s a disorder. The difference being you cannot contract it, but are born with it. It’s in your genes. And there is 50+ years of long term medical treatment for it. As with many disorders there are non-medical options to help a person cope, but strategies have their limits.

          As a person who is born with a glue ear might need a tube implant, or someone with enlarged adenoids could have elective surgery to reduce its size so they can breathe easier, a type one diabetic will need insulin, or astigmatism of the eyes, someone would wear glasses or possibly have laser eye surgery. These are genetic, and for them we have treatment. The difference between these and ADHD, is you can see them either outside the body or by a blood test.

          ADHD is complex, which is why several hundred details go into making a diagnosis. Hyperactivity is the last aspect of an ADHD diagnosis, because it’s the most common to be shared with other issues.

          Regarding treatment, if a child has poor eyesight, you wouldn’t deny them glasses and instead insist they squint to see better. Why would you ask the same of your child when their brain cannot focus?

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          Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

          ADHD is not unusual in being a syndrome.

          There are also degrees of hypertension. We don’t celebrate hypertension as a gift. We recognize it and take steps to mitigate its health risks.

          The genes associated with ADHD are in the human genome. In short, people with ADHD are not a separate species. ;-)

          Rather, people with ADHD are on the extreme end of the traits associated with ADHD, such as hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity, etc. The same as with height. The is a “normal” range for human height, with extremes at either end.

          People with ADHD are individuals who grapple with varying degrees of this variable syndrome. No cookie cutters. ;-)

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        Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

        Meghan, I bet your boy is a heck of a dancer!

        You know, ADHD itself is associated with a higher rate of sleep disorders. The same regulatory challenges it presents during the daytime are often present at night.

        Some will find their sleep normalized from 24-7 stimulant dosage (lower at night). Or a second medication, such as Strattera.

        Good luck!

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      Suzanne Rojek - March 16, 2016

      What a moron you are. I lived in France for yers. No-one smacks their kids!! They are not conditioned at all. Americans ARE, with your indoctrinated patriotism and pledge of allegiance. It’s like North Korea!

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    verheek - November 8, 2015

    Like others have said, it’s probably where on the scale the kid fits. We pulled ours because he was busy, impulsive and not listening which had him in trouble a lot. Groups and sitting still are key factors. Sugar too.

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Al Dente - November 5, 2015

I grew up with ADHD. I also grew up on a farm where we grew most of what we ate and there were no pesticides and usually fertilized with just manure. We only had sweets and deserts on special occasions and only had soda at partys. You can’t blame my ADHD on a crappy diet. Every teacher until 5th grade wanted to hold me back. Some kids were considered hyperactive but they weren’t diagnosing the primarily inattentive version of ADHD yet. My lack of focus was treated as a discipline problem so I was always in trouble and having to stay in during recess and stay late. My mom was a teacher herself and knew my reading and math skills were good and stood firm that I not be held back since she didn’t see how it would help me. In 4th grade I was put in Special Ed. Here I did better because it was individually paced and we only had 6 students in the class. After finishing the work there I was put back into my class where I daydreamed all day. I did eventually learn to manage my ADHD well enough to excel in High School and my grades and ACT scores were high enough to get into any college I was interested in. I knew I probably had ADHD but never got evaluated because I didn’t want to be labeled as having a deficit and I thought I learned to manage it well enough to get by. Eventually my professional and personal demands got so great that I could no longer manage. I was becoming a marginal employee and a distant uninvolved husband and father. At 51 I got help and finally got on medication. Now work is going better and I’m a much better husband and father. In my case my life would have gone much better if I understood the extra challenges I faced and if I got on medication a lot sooner. It may be true that ADHD is overdiagnosed and it also may be true that it is overmediated but it does exist and medication can help a lot of people.

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    Dallas McMillan - November 6, 2015

    Thanks for sharing – valuable story

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    Hiram Martinez - April 6, 2016

    With all due respect. If ADHD, that is, minimal brain damage, as Eisenberg described it, does exist, and you were able to write this compelling argument, most likely you don’t have it.

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      Al Dente - April 8, 2016

      Lots of conditions present like ADHD. Since the diagnostic criteria for ADHD is that it presents in childhood, someone who acquires symptoms later from TBI does not have ADHD. More properly ADHD is an innate property. To me ADHD is is misnamed. I believe it to neither be a deficit nor a disorder but a personality type. Some things other people do easily are very hard for those with ADHD but somethings other people find daunting are exciting to people with ADHD. I first learned about ADHD when two of my employees told me that they had it. I read books and noticed that it sounded like me. Not only that but it sounded like everyone I worked with. It turns out this wasn’t a coincidence. It has been estimated that 85% of IS/IT workers have ADHD. In my experience it is closer to 100%. Our ability to hyperfocus on hard technical problems gives us an advantage over cognitive normals. At the same time we struggle to take care of all of our mundane job requirements. In the past people with ADHD eventually learned to manage it and eventually found a niche where they could succeed. The problem now is that educators expect kids to learn in lock step while preparing for standardized tests. We are also pushing kids earlier and assigning a lot more homework. The increased demands make it harder for ADHD kids to get by.

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        Hiram Martinez - April 8, 2016

        Yes. I agree with you when you say it is rather a personality type. We do hyperfucus, and yes, school is very standardized and shaped under the paradigm of the industrial revolution, like Ken Robinson says on his Ted Talk and on his RSA animate. We need a change of paradigm in our education system. We are all different, but school is as standardized as an assembly line factory.

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          Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

          Ken Robinson is a demagogue, not a neuroscientist.

          The truth is, the world is getting more complex. It is demanding more of the reasoning part of our brain. Schools are but a reflection of this.

          If you have ADHD, you’d do well to avail yourself of evidence-based strategies rather than railing at the schools.

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          Al Dente - May 13, 2016

          I do agree with Mr. Robinson about giving schools greater autonomy. When I look back over my education I had a few teachers who were truly pivotal to me. In any group of educators most are mediocre (which means average when you come down to it), some good ones, some bad ones, a few excellent educators and a few terrible ones. An excellent teacher can change your life while a terrible teacher is only a temporary setback. I’m all for letting some terrible teachers slip through the cracks as long as we give the excellent teachers freedom to ply their craft.

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        Anna Björkman - September 20, 2016

        See my reply once its approved by david..

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      Laura Kime - September 1, 2016

      That’s because he’s ON the medication….it does help people who actually suffer from this disease to focus. But I agree that it is much overdiagnosed

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    2broke4 her - May 9, 2016

    I was so far ahead intellectually in my classes that I was bored to death and the teachers thought something was wrong with me.. one teacher suggested in 4th grade they moved me to the 5th in the middle of the school year.. the 5th grade science teacher ignored my questions and when i asked for assistance, the teacher told Admin and my parents that I wasnt smart enough to be moved up one grade.. I explained to my parents, the teacher wont answer my questions and work with me! I was sent back to the 4th grade.. we moved 50 miles to another city where the teachers basically told us to keep our mouths shut.. again more boredom. when I got to 7th grade, the teachers thought I was dumb because i was bored and didnt care.. they got together and told my parents I need to see a doctor, because I’m not mentally right! so off to the doctor, blood/urine tests… the doctors asked me a bunch of Q&A’s they seemed confused until one doctor asked me how are the teachers… the first one was a History teacher, he like to pretend he is in the military, calls kids out by a seat name/number other than their real name.. when he would ask a question to a student he would say Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Echo or Fox Trot 5, 6, 8, 10, or whatever number.. the he loved pretending he was an E.T. landed on earth, where we had to describes things when called upon, As in a record player, a car or Baseball.. the English teacher played a game where if the student sticks the door open when giving it a shove, the student gets bubble gum.. During class the teacher would ask a question if we got it right we got some bubble gum, same with a spelling test, 100% we got 2 pieces of gum.. the doctors wrote letters stating their findings that the teachers need help not me, I am above normal in intellect and suggest I be moved up a grade or 2, nothing happened! In high school I was graded down on Algebra tests because I can envision the answers, I didnt write down the work.. so the teacher gave me tests not the same as everyone else and watched me, again I wrote only the answers.. still graded me down.. instead of moving me up to higher math he held me back! all the way school it was like this.. I had to dumb down to please the teachers..

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TonyXL - November 5, 2015

One problem is one size fits all public schools. If there was a free market in schools, you’d have schools with standing desks, more frequent breaks, more engaging instruction, etc.

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CanadaGoose1 - November 7, 2015

Tell that to the mother who has to stay home with their hyperactive child who messes up the house all the time. The medication makes a real difference but you have to get the right dosage and then adjust everything as you get close to puberty.
My son is not hyperactive but a day dreamer and disorganized who ended up flunking out of junior college. He has himself asked to be analyzed and is now starting to take a medication. Since he has been diagnosed the college would let him have more time for exams and he could take fewer courses.

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Betty Fourness - November 7, 2015

In defense of Mr. Wolfe’s article, I lived this, personally, in my family. I am not saying that ADHD is not a real thing. All I can say is that I lived with the experience of being misdiagnosed through the stories my Mother told about “Being put on drugs for being too hyper” (sounds like she felt punished by that statement, to me), and all the fighting with schools in regards to my son’s health and performance. I had to allow them to force my son to take medications that turned him into a drooling nine year old, content to sit in a chair and space off. NO more. I fought with and worked with his teachers, until we got the situation understood and changed. For everyone’s benefit. It was determined he WAS just bored. My son was very intelligent. He could literally sleep through class and still make A’s and B’s. The issue was that he was completing his work sooner than most of his peers, and was doing quite well with it. When he was allowed to perform “teacher helper” tasks, not only did his “troublesome behavior” disappear, but his self-image improved. Funny how that happens when you are not being yelled at all the time. With my son it really was a case of boredom = a desire to play in a normal, healthy Nine year old child.

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Katie - November 7, 2015

Do you guys know that greatest people in history had ADHD among other psychological mental problems and they had created the firsts of everything we have now across the world. They in their day were considered mad because they had no medication or diagnosis. So think before responding from now on. Every person is degrading each othe because science has come so far. But saying this mental illness doesn’t exist or its a social dysfunction or boredom. Just think of our history and the greatest men and if we had them here and now they would be pill poppers too for them to concentrate a little bit more. So stop the name calling and bull crap you do not get it. It had been around for centuries. And saying that a person isn’t fit for their job what about Betoveen was he not meant to produce the best classical music? Common sense people. People from other countries stop DEGRADING AMERICANS!!!!!!

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    Al Dente - November 9, 2015

    I think of ADHD as a personality type rather than a deficit or a disorder. For someone with ADHD some things are much harder than they are for most people but people with ADHD eagerly tackle some things that are daunting for other people. People with ADHD have a very hard time taking care of all the mundane things they have to take care because they have trouble getting motivated for these tasks and upon completion don’t feel the satisfaction that other people do. On the other hand, when someone with ADHD finds something that stimulates them they tenaciously focus on it like a laser. Successful people with ADHD gravitate to fields where it can be an asset. It has been estimated that 85% of IS/IT workers have ADHD but in my experience the percentage is closer to 100%. Here being able to hyper-focus on hard technical problems gives them an advantage over other people. When I was a lad kindergarten was mainly social. Kids went to get used to being away from their parents for hours at a time, learning to listen to their teacher, and to get along with other kids. Now kindergarten covers what used to be covered in 1st grade. In the past a lot of kids with ADHD eventually learned to manage it well enough to get along but now that we are asking more of our kids earlier these borderline cases can no longer squeak by.

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Terry - November 9, 2015

The brain, nervous system and whole body works from good food as the French also stated. Food in this country is fast and lacks nutrition. It is loaded with additives from the farm to processing. So how can children have good brain function? Thanks to the drug companies and their drug pushing doctors we all are suffering. The teacher and principal where my son went to school wanted to put him on Ritalin. We took him to a Pediatrician and he said not to put him on Ritalin. I went to his school. The special ed teacher had all these children mostly boys sitting at semi-circle table touching each other. It was one of the dumbest ways to have these kids sitting. They all needed at least a foot between them.
So anyway my son told me that a few years later the kids on Ritalin were snorting it to get high. So more built in drug addicts that will need prescription drugs to function.
I am 69 years old and probably would have been diagnosed with ADD too. Except schools then still were allowed corporal punishment and you behaved or else. It was used very sparingly but all the kids knew it was used.

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Marm - November 11, 2015

While I agree with the points about diet, the conclusions are false in my opinion. Also I think in the US there may be many misdignosed cases. ADHD is not a situation where one is bored but rather one where the brain has a torrent of ideas rushing through always ready to capture your attention from what others think you should be doing. Yes, when I was a kid 60 years ago, I played, I ran I didn’t have computers or much TV. But my report cards always said, “He is very intelligent but needs, to sit down, quit talking, pay attention, finish what he starts and be punctual.” I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was 55 and I struggled all my life with this disorder. At times I was brutally beaten to get me to conform. It did not help but my determination and another ADHD trait, the abilty to hyperfocus got me through university. When properly diagnosed, medication can be amazing. My life would have been much easier and better, had I been diagnosed and had medication and other treatment options. Don’t cheat your children because of your fear of medications.

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STUDIOBREGÓN - November 12, 2015

This would read with more credibility were it not for the ridiculous ads surrounding this website. So much for “authority”.

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Ad Lib - November 13, 2015

I would stuff this article in the same camp with anti-vaxer nonsense. Every correlation to cause mentioned here is non-applicable to my family. I cook from scratch, we eat local and organic, sugary and processed foods are out of the equation but for the rare treat.

Yet without medical support, my child walks through life in an unceasing claptrap of noise and distraction. Where he spins to the point of endangering himself or others. The only way he hears you is to repeat and raise your voice, so from his point of view every adult and friend is yelling at him. He’s labeled “that kid”. Then one day, I find him curled in a corner crying, wishing he was dead. So I give up the “non medical” solutions. I try medication and it’s like someone pulls back a curtain and says, “there’s your child”. Same person, all those wonderful character traits are still there, but now they can hear you, respond and participate. They can BE PRESENT.

Too often the complexities of ADHD are ignored, and as does this article, people only look at the hyperactivity aspect but are ignorant to the several hundred details that go into making a diagnosis. Hyperactivity is the last aspect of an ADHD diagnosis, because it’s the most common to be shared with other issues. Articles like this, are harmful because someone somewhere will read this and will ignore the good advice of their paediatric specialist for child spectrum disorders and deny their child treatment.

If a child has poor eyesight, you wouldn’t deny them glasses and instead insist they squint to see better. Why would you ask the same of your child when their brain cannot focus?

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Jaimy de Bok - November 15, 2015

Sure a lot of people have been diagnosed with adhd unrightfully, no need to doubt that. Theres more than one reason that people get the problems adhd covers.
But please get the fact in this article that some people actually develop their brains differently than others and have a lack of two substances in their brain. Both resolving into difficulties that are diagnosed as adhd. Theres people that need the medication as its an easy way for them to solve it ( lack of motivation and interest can cause them not to participate well in social treatments.) For others i believe therapy would work as well.
A country’s norm in diagnosing people with a certain disease is not something you can measure the problem by… and concentration and motivational issues of people nowadays are a problem for their own happiness.

Ps: a few decades ago adhd would have been called boredom? Really?
A few decades ago smoking was called healthy and depression was not acknowledged either.
Is this article written to help people or to get money by views. Fuck these kinds of statements. Dont make this a black and white discussion.

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QuantumVirus - November 15, 2015

All I got to say. And I’ll be as nice as possible to the author, but when he tells me ADD is imaginary…. They have fMRI scans between the difference of someone with ADD and someone without. Now author I dare you to go get 20 mg’s of Adderol extended release and try it and let me know what it does to you. If you become super hyped you don’t have ADD. If you chill. you do

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J.B. - March 28, 2016

You lost me when you said redundantly that ADHD is akin to boredom; an ignorant, simplistic viewpoint. While I don’t believe in the all too prevalent medicinal treatment of it, to call it boredom is trivializing what is a real struggle for many people.

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Gina Pera - May 10, 2016

Anyone who would believe that Eisenberg “meme” about ADHD would believe anything.

In short, you’re not going to find helpful information on ADHD here, except in the comments.

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