According to the 2013 statistics, the diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has skyrocketed, as more people than ever are being diagnosed with the mental disorder. The condition, which is associated with impulsive and hyperactive behavior, has been diagnosed to approximately three to seven percent of children in the United Kingdom. Such a high percentage equates to approximately 400,000 children annually, and the numbers are steadily increasing.
However, the New York Post reports that pediatric neurologist Dr. Richard Saul is actually questioning the full existence of the condition. In his new book, ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Dr. Saul shares his perspective of the condition, as his theory focuses on the belief that ADHD is a ‘collection of symptoms’ as opposed to a disease that shouldn’t be classified in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
Dr. Saul expresses his concern about treating the condition as a disease. The New York Post shares one of his examples to shed light on the comparison between treating symptoms and diseases. For instance, if a person with severe abdominal pain simply received painkillers to numb the pain, it doesn’t necessarily cure a problem that could actually be fixed. However, if those severe abdominal pains are not treated, they can evolve into appendicitis, which can be fatal.
He then touches on the use of Adderall and Ritalin as treatment for ADHD. Both drugs are classified as stimulants. However, Dr. Saul goes on to classify the use of the drug as a means for parent to calm children. The publication also shared that some parents have been known to become dependent on such drugs for their children because they “want an easy way to get them to sit down and shut up.” While some may find this alleged claim beyond convention, it’s not unheard of.
“ADHD makes a great excuse,” Saul notes. “The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults — it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”
The attention deficit disorder medical term was categorized as a health condition in 1980. The United States statistical breakdown is as follows:
In 2003, an estimated 7.8% of children were diagnosed with ADHD. However in 2011, that percentage spiked to approximately 11%. The notable increase equates to one out of nine children, with boys two-thirds of those diagnosed. Two thirds of children diagnosed with the condition are prescribed medication.
According to the statistics, a vast number of children suffer from the condition. Do you agree or disagree with Dr. Saul’s theorem?