ADHD - Is It A Real Disease?
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
ADHD, as we all have come to understand it, is the most commonly diagnosed neuro-behavioral childhood disorder. It is characterized by three main symptom categories, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Individuals with an ADHD diagnosis are also reported to have substantial functional impairment in academic, family, and social settings.
How prevalent has an ADHD diagnosis become? A survey of 76,000 parents conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) every four years estimates that 1 in 11 children had been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare professional, an increase of 42% between 2003 and 2014.
So, is ADHD a real disease? Many parents believe so, as they deal with out of control children. The vast majority of allopathically trained physicians and public health officials as well believe that it is real. Additionally, teachers, pastors, rabbis, scholars, politicians, and other leaders will all say the same thing. Of course, ADHD is real. It’s a no-brainer! (Pun intended!)
But not so fast. There are more and more of those same people groups now saying the exact opposite, that ADHD is not real, and that the symptoms are the result of what is being done TO our children, not because there is something genetically wrong with them. What we believe is too often determined by what others try and make us believe, many with a self-serving agenda - money and power. What we end up believing may or may not end at the truth. We have seen this throughout history. In the world of healthcare, medical professionals and researchers are too frequently put up on the “Hey, he is so smart, of course I will believe what he says,” pedestal. After all, we trust and depend on others who spend their lives researching what we can’t or won’t take the time to do. So, we believe them to be as honest as we are, and we drink the Kool-Aid. Are we too agreeable to follow the proverbial pied piper of supposedly honest and accurate medical researchers? Is this especially true when it involves telling us who we are, or what we are supposed to believe, and using medications to control and conform our minds because there is something wrong with us, or we just don’t “fit in?”
There are many times over the centuries where the medical professional got it wrong. Medical experts over the centuries have had very different understandings of bacteria and viruses, and diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, and treatments such as bloodletting, morphine as a cough suppressant, and “soothing syrup” for unruly children, mercury for treatment for just about anything, and thalidomide for nausea in pregnant women producing children with missing extremities. We look at these past atrocities and may view them as appalling, but we are also thankful that, through some unfortunate and horrific lessons, we changed and grew from our ignorance. The tragedy is that many people are harmed in the process. Is unbridled collateral damage acceptable? I think we are facing similar challenges with ADHD as a real disease. We know what we are told, but is what we are told based on truth, or what others like the pharmaceutical profiteers and their sponsored research authors want us to believe?
So, do I believe that ADHD is real? No, not as the definition exists today. And there are more and more people who are standing up for the research confirming the fallacy of ADHD as an actual disease that never gets out to the public. Are there over-the-top and way out of control kids? Yes, some, but the reasons for those behaviors may surprise you and the vast majority of the symptoms are resolvable – trashing the lifetime labels, stigma, and drugs.
While various reports over the past 200 years have described a small subset of individuals with behavioral symptoms similar to ADHD, it is commonly understood that ADHD was essentially not even on the radar screen until the 1960s. People growing up then don’t remember ever seeing anything like the classically described ADHD child. Sure, there was a very rare individual that was fidgety and those occasional dreamers that lacked focus - but, really, mostly, they were just bored boys looking for adventure. Not to exclude the girls, but I readily admit they were just more responsible than the boys. Some had more active imaginations than others. I did. (I was a psychology major in college and my “active imagination” status was confirmed after some testing). I had some of those distracting days in school as well. Hormones do that to boys, especially. Instead of sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher doing her best to teach me the ABCs, my mind would drift to playing baseball, or going out into the woods for an adventure. Spring, with the warmer weather and blooming flowers and fragrant smells, was especially distracting. If I were in school today, I probably would be put on Ritalin at the first sign of looking out the window.
Harvard psychologist, Jerome Kagan, one of the world’s leading experts in child development, states: “Let’s go back 50 years. We have a seven-year-old child who is bored in school and disrupts classes. Back then he was called lazy. Today, he is said to suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) . . . Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90% of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.
The Evidence Is Compelling
So, what happened? Did genetics all of a sudden take a turn for the worse and create all these little monsters - most of them boys- that can only be controlled with medications? The evidence against ADHD as a disease is very compelling, and it also reveals another side to the controversy unknown by most. Dr. Leon Eisenberg, a prominent child and social psychiatrist who is considered by many as the scientific father of ADHD, made a jaw-dropping proclamation about seven months before his death. In a 2012 article in the German weekly publication, Der Spiegel, the author gives an account of an interview Eisenberg gave in 2009. It quotes him as saying, “ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disease. The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated.” Instead of prescribing a ‘pill’, Eisenberg said, “Psychiatrists should determine whether there are psychosocial reasons that could lead to behavioral problems.” That statement about ADHD being a “fabricated disease” is so true, but it also pours salt into the wounds of those injured physically and emotionally by the diagnosis, stigma, and medications. Even Eisenberg’s partner Keith Connors said that ADHD misdiagnoses are a “national disaster of dangerous proportions.”
The research and marketing of ADHD have been “appallingly contaminated from its very genesis,” writes Alan Schwarz, an investigative journalist. “Since that $5,000 check from CIBA in 1963 (to Dr. Leon Eisenberg/Dr. Keith Connors) “supporting” their research into ADD(ADHD), the pharmaceutical money has irrigated the channels running through every corner of the ADHD ecosystem, feeding researchers, patient advocacy groups, celebrity spokespeople, and advertisers.”
Many other researchers, doctors, and behavioral clinicians are coming to the same conclusion that there is no such thing as ADHD. There is nothing genetically wrong with the vast majority of these kids! Among them is Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn, a founding member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, who, as far back as 1998 stated: “ADHD is a fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction.” He’s right!! Also Dr. Richard Saul, a behavioral neurologist and author of ADHD Does Not Exist, is convinced that ADHD is not a disease, but a set of symptoms. “[. . .] after 50 years of practicing medicine and seeing thousands of patients demonstrating symptoms of ADHD, I have reached the conclusion there is no such thing as ADHD. Improving diet, exercising, and sleeping more can alleviate symptoms.” I agree and would add, be a student of your child’s personality, strength, and weaknesses. The diagnosis of ADHD is mostly made in boys that are full of energy, they are adventurous, and are extremely smart.
Other researchers are now connecting the dots as well that ADHD has more to do with behaviors associated with environmental intoxication, and/or nutritional deficiency. Treating “ADHD as a disease is a huge mistake,” according to Saul. Instead improving your diet, exercising, and sleeping more can alleviate symptoms. “The ADHD diagnosis and the stimulants have masked the real problem, as is so often the case.” Instead, he argues, this represents a cluster of symptoms stemming from 20 other conditions and disorders ranging from poor eyesight to bipolar disorder to giftedness.
Even a vitamin B folate gene mutation mentioned in a previous post and now very common, can cause ADHD, depression, bipolar symptoms, autism and a whole host of other chronic disease symptoms. Give some methylated bioactive folate and poof, the symptoms can subside or completely resolve. Simple, yes, but it generally involves additional nutritional supplementation and identification of other possible gene mutations such as COMT to complete the picture.
I cover ADHD is much greater detail in my new book, Your Health Has Been Hijacked.
You can purchase it here on this website. Click on the link below.