The prevalence of the ADD/ADHD diagnosis does not definitely indicate that something is dreadfully wrong with the nation’s children, but rather that something has definitely changed. Although some cases of out-of-control children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are most likely due to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies as well as allergies and sensitivities, a good number of cases are likely due to the fact that childrearing has changed.
Many supposed disorders are due to factors that influence the social, emotional, and environmental development of children. It is because of these factors that ADD/ADHD landed in the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a psychiatric disorder. In truth, it is likely that ADD/ADHD is not best described as a psychiatric disorder at all, but rather as more of a personality type.
Some experts insist that many conditions which are currently classified as psychiatric disorders shouldn’t even be in the DSM. Certainly, individuals who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD do not feel as if they suffer from a psychiatric condition. And, like many conditions which have been classified as having psychiatric roots, there is no overwhelming evidence that ADD/ADHD falls into the psychiatric category.
Are individuals who suffer from ADD/ADHD just different?
It is obvious that an individual suffering from asthma would not be classified as having a psychiatric condition. It’s also obvious that someone with diabetes would not be classified according to DSM criteria. In the same manner, individuals diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD should avoid a psychiatric diagnosis.
There’s no real evidence to support a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD
In the rush to diagnose and medicate individuals to fit into the mold that society creates for the majority of people, the medical community has labeled an entire generation of children as unmanageable. And in that rush, millions of children are being medicated on a daily basis. But some evidence suggests that the problem is not with those who suffer from ADD/ADHD, but rather the problem is with a society that feels these individuals must be suppressed.
Changes that have been made in parenting, education, and the rules of society may be more responsible for an ADD/ADHD diagnosis than any actual psychiatric disorder. Individuals who have ADD/ADHD often feel that there is nothing wrong with them at all other than the fact that they process, perceive, and react to internal and external stimuli.
Once upon a time, children were allowed to interact with their environment. Children were encouraged to run and jump and play at will. But, increasingly, children are not responding to such restrictions. The demands of conformity along with the stresses of modern life may have a significant effect on people who cannot manage to fit into the mold.
Yet, this is not necessarily the fault of the unruly individual. They may be just wired differently than most other people. Being different doesn’t mean being defective; it merely means that concessions need to be made.
Is ADD/ADHD a warning that something is wrong with parenting, society, and the environment?
It could be that ADD/ADHD, a condition in which individuals just can’t slow down, is a signal to do just that… slow down! Children who were once raised by stay-at-home moms, allowed to sleep in, and encouraged to explore life like a child are now roused from sleep at all hours to be shuffled off to daycare and preschool, fed prepackaged convenience foods for breakfast lunch and dinner by busy parents, and placed in front of the television to revel in the antics of Sponge Bob and Family Guy.
But, before the blame for ADD/ADHD, Autism, Tourette’s, and a host of other psychiatric disorders is placed squarely on the shoulders of mom and dad, it’s important to realize that the problem is with a society that forces people into a position where childcare and education is so expensive that warehousing children is the only affordable option, where a two-income family is no longer a choice but a necessity, and where children are forced into regulated, narrowly focused, and task-oriented behavior far earlier than they once were. Just like the child with asthma is not well-suited for outside play, and the child with diabetes is not well-suited for a “regular” diet, the ADD/ADHD child is just not well-suited to this type of lifestyle.
And before parents ride the waves of a guilt tsunami, they must realize that most people do what they are think is right. There has been nothing, until relatively recently, that encouraged parents to think for themselves when selecting options for their children. The FDA labeled food additives safe and the medical community failed to keep people informed of alternative methods of treating ADD/ADHD and many other disorders and illnesses.
The trend toward natural, non-medicinal, alternatives for treating such health conditions as Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and even ADD/ADHD indicates that people are beginning to realize that the medical community and the health industry took the wrong path in opting for the quick, pharmaceutical, cure, and that other options are not only available, but preferred.