The above photo was taken in 2014 when I was on a break while working as a security guard in a locked mental health unit at a children’s hospital. The below photo was taken in 2013, as I sat waiting to be escorted to the locked adult mental health unit (I committed myself with my wife’s help after a second bout of planning to end my life like my Brother did).
I share both of these private photos to show you that I’ve been on both sides of the mental health system: As a security guard in charge of the safety of others, and (one year prior) a patient in a locked adult ward.
I also lost my brother to suicide after seeing him with three tubes down his neck in the ICU 6 months earlier (Rest In Peace, Ryan), just before he woke up from a coma roughly ten minutes after I poured out my hear to him, talking to him.
I know horror. I know vicious, severe despair and sadness that weighs a ton, like the engine of a car sitting on top of you, making it hard to even breathe, let alone thrive in life.
This is a fitting segue into today’s post. Here’s why:
Well over fifty actual root causes of behavior easily mimic ADHD, from childhood trauma to sleep disorders, to anxiety issues, sensory processing delays, Lyme Disease, even mild exposure to lead in water and many more (read this article on 50 things that mimic ADHD as a starter).
We’ve got to really dig deeper with all this, since according to the book “ADHD: What everyone needs to know,” one in five American boys are diagnosed with ADHD, and the fear is that it may even reach one in three!
This is nuts. Absolutely horrible. There is a lot going on that people don’t realize due to endless media and healthcare advertising misinformation (and a lack of it in the misdiagnosing realm, the elephant in the room). Wrong diagnosing equals damage to the lives of kids and adults. I know from personal experience, since I was misdiagnosed with ADHD by a team of people.
The ADHD Diagnosis is Very Faulty For Millions
I have spoken to countless people about how they were diagnosed, and the responses frighten me more often than they bring me comfort that professionals are doing a thorough job assessing slowly and methodically before rushing to labels (and dangerous assumptions) like ADHD being the “root cause.”
That simply isn’t the case for 95 percent of humans on this planet, as the Chair of the DSM-IV, Dr. Allen Frances himself explains (he says the rate for actual ADHD in kids is 2-3%, and most adults diagnosed later on are wrongly labeled for a number of reasons, and I was one of them! I agree wholeheartedly).
Millions of children (and more and more adults) have been diagnosed in single visits to a general family doctor, for God’s sake! This is a travesty, and I’m not even trying to be dramatic here. Do your homework on how the ADHD diagnosis works today and you’ll quickly see the massive room for error and wrong treatment/labeling/identity as a result. Mark my words, dear reader.
Stimulants Are a Dangerous Scapegoat (and Horribly Abused) For Larger Issues
It’s incredibly well-known that stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall (and others) are horribly abused by students, professionals in various career industries and even housewives who want to “lose weight.” This is causing issues with anxiety, sleep, anger and greater “tunnel vision” in people, since amphetamines stimulate the nervous system. Another piece of misinformation is that “if stimulants appear to work on a child or adult, they likely have actual ADHD.”
That’s (again) dangerously incorrect and misunderstood. You’ll hear from the usual drug ads and “pro-ADHD” folks all about this, but when you look deeper and question things, a new world of awareness emerges. I will address a lot of this in my up-coming book Beyond ADHD. There are many angles to this that we need to be aware of for everyone’s sake.
People “Buy Into” Their ADD / ADHD Diagnosis Way Too Fast
I bought in fast myself, since the symptoms seemed to be so bang-on! I get how that happens. The sad part is that in a society that’s more tech-addicted, distracted, anxious and influenced by drug companies, doctors and others with influence in the psych realm, we’re calling what looks like ADHD or ADD just that – the condition itself, instead of seeing the many other reasons for these behaviors that are right in front of us!
Few things infuriate me more than how the masses seem to simply “go along with” the influence we’re shown constantly in the media, though I realize that such advertising of misinformation and suggestion from perceived “experts” is a very powerful thing.
The whole point to this: I put myself into even more danger by accepting the somewhat half-assed attempt at a diagnosis I was given. Jesus, folks – childhood trauma is easily misdiagnosed as ADHD every single day, just like vision issues are. Years of amphetamines in our bloodstreams (potentially) with a wrong diagnosis should equal lawsuits at some point…..maybe that’s what it has to come down to for actual integrity and due-diligence to be the norm in assessing for “ADHD,” which most do not have.
These are normal symptoms for so many reasons, with nutrition being a bigger and bigger factor to add to the equation, as well as lack of exercise, our social media-crazed culture that lives by the second to second updates, and so on.
Please – I beg of you: Be open to avoiding an incorrect label that can do so much more harm (for many reasons) than it can good. This band-aid approach to make up for failing education systems (yet another piece of the puzzle) must not be allowed to be acceptable. You and I should be furious.
Yours in purpose,