If you believe the line that was so carefully crafted by the drug industry, which can obviously recognize a good cash cow when they see one, there is really only one explanation for ADHD. This is that there is something inherently wrong with in the brain of a person diagnosed with the condition. The only way, according to them, that this can be put right is through the administration of powerful psycho stimulant medication. It just so happens that they stand ready to provide this medication at exorbitant prices! The creation of this consensus and the recruitment of teachers and medical professionals to perpetuate it was a very lucrative move by the drugs companies.
The problem is, however, that this way of looking at ADHD is positively dangerous for our children. The almost automatic prescription of medicine messes with their brains in profound ways that can negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. It also leads to powerful side-effects and the creation of underground prescription drug trading networks at schools and colleges up-and-down our nation. Any development that challenges the reigning consensus by pointing to social factors as contributing to ADHD diagnoses should therefore be welcomed. Simply put if we can point to causes that are not purely biomedical it would be logical to also propose treatment methods that do not simply rely on drugs.
Over the past few years research pointing to social factors as a major contributing cause to ADHD increased from a trickle to something resembling a deluge. There is therefore a growing understanding that ADHD is a complex condition that cannot simply be addressed by drugging people into submission. One of the most exciting studies in this regard was published in the past week. It is significant because the number of children included in the study is massive. More than 8000 in fact!
The study was conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden) and was published in the latest issue of Acta Paediatrica. Researchers sifted through data on 1.16 million school children and examined the health histories of nearly 8,000 Swedish-born kids, aged six to 19, who had taken ADHD medication. They did this through examining almost every scrap of information that they could find on the medical and behavioral history of these children from a variety of sources. A detailed investigation was also launched into the family background of these children.
They found that the following factors, among others, correlated positively with a high incidence of ADHD:
- The educational level of parents – Children of parents with a better education were less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.
- The makeup of households – Children from single-parent households were more likely to receive a positive ADHD diagnosis
- The welfare status of families - Children from families on welfare benefits had much higher diagnosis rates.
Lead Researcher Anders Hein summarized the implications of these findings as follows: “Almost half of the cases could be explained by the socioeconomic factors included in our analysis, clearly demonstrating that these are potent predictors of ADHD-medication in Swedish school children.” The implication of this is that in about half of all Swedish ADHD cases you could predict that a diagnosis would be made simply by looking at the social and economic background of the child. This would not be the case if ADHD was a purely biomedical phenomenon, since it would then presumably affect children across the board, regardless of social factors. What seems to happen is that ‘normal’ behavioral problems associated with certain social factors gets ‘medicalized’ and then treated with drugs. It also seems to be the case that people in the named demographics are less able and/or willing to resist the almost unrelenting pressure to go down this route.
A much better approach would be if these social factors could be recognized and their behavioral consequences be dealt with in non-medical ways. This is exactly the approach that I have been advocating all along and that is at the heart of the ‘3 Steps ADD’ philosophy. My message is essentially one of hope. Yes there are some environmental factors that will make behavioral problems more likely to occur. This does not mean, however, that you have to give in to the strong arm tactics of those who want to push you towards very radical and potentially harmful ‘solutions’. You can instead identify the factors and deal with them in positive and constructive ways. It is my passion to help you to do exactly this. Thank you for turning your back on the lies and joining me on this exciting journey!