There’s a picture, a current reality in several parts of the world where diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (or ADHD) is done in a way that is dangerous to the patient and every aspect of their life. The masses (at least in North America, and other parts of the world, increasingly) are being sold a story that is leaving a lot of the bigger truth out. That’s why I decided to create this series of posts. I’m one of (I firmly believe) millions of kids and adults collectively diagnosed incorrectly with ADHD or ADD (a variation slightly different from the traditional, as far as we’ve been taught).
First, let me mention a few key points about why millions are wrongly diagnosed with ADHD:
- Trauma isn’t screened for in millions of assessments, since the resources often aren’t available due to the sheer cost required
- The DSM is subjective as far as checklists are concerned. This means that many assessments are based solely on behaviors and next to no science at all, relying on potentially biased interpretation of results
- Upwards of 100 things are easily misdiagnosed as ADHD or ADD (here’s a starter list)
- Schools are a huge reason for a lot of diagnoses, and articles such as this one begin to explain one of the several reasons why
We live in a rapidly-changing world when it comes to mental health, though psychiatry hasn’t evolved all that much in the area I deal in (ADHD). Sure, there have been regular advances in the DSM manual, but medications and actually getting into the neuroscience of biology playing a key role in behaviors is overlooked by most, I dare say, even in 2016.
I don’t blame doctors – I blame the lack of investment toward innovation that could surely be made by those in high positions. That’s a simple answer, but the blind lead the blind in so many ways when it comes to what ADHD is and what it isn’t.
We’re all learning, myself included, but damn it – my misdiagnosis, though heaven-sent at first since it seemed to make sense, was a band-aid covering up the actual issues and reasons for the symptoms themselves – I had to dig deep in therapy of several types and look at a MUCH bigger picture than the one a basic ADHD diagnosis gave.
My point? I’m one of millions given that diagnosis without digging deeper into personal history, nervous system measurements, heart rate variability, advanced (not given in most basic eye exams) vision issues I discovered last year with the help of a globally-recognized PhD (Dr. Patrick Quaid) and childhood trauma in a violent home. The list could go on and on.
Identity, self-worth and stigma from mental health labels/diagnoses is rampant, so we’d better be damn sure we’re doing each and every human being justice when we assess for things such as ADHD, children and adults alike. I was horrified to discover my own misdiagnosis, having been on stimulant medication for a couple months before going off of it (I’m already on blood-pressure medication).
This is nothing to be taken lightly, and I’ve got a lot more to share here, so stay tuned for the next post.
Yours in purpose,