For this Analysis assignment, I decided to choose a topic that was outside of my typical realm. Issue 12, Does ADHD Exist?

The point side given by Russell Barkley and a consortium of international scientists argued for this issue recognizing a few different points. One, they state that all the major medical associations and government health agencies recognize ADHD as a genuine disorder because of the scientific evidence. Two, they later go on to state that ADHD leads to impairments in major life activities. Finally, three, they say that most neurological studies find that as a group, those with ADHD have less brain electrical activity and show less reactivity to stimulation in one or more of these regions.

The counterpoint side given by Sami Timimi et al. argue against ADHD for various reasons as well. First, they state that there is no evidence to support the conclusion that ADHD identifies a group of children who suffer from a common and specific neurobiological disorder. Second, they counter Barkley by saying that a U.S. federal government report concluded that there was no compelling evidence to support ADHD as a biochemical disorder. Third, they explain that neuroimaging research is often cited as “proof,” yet after almost a quarter of a century and more than 30 studies, researchers have yet to do a single comparison of unmedicated children diagnosed with ADHD with an age matched control group.

Although we know in psychology that ADHD is an a true disorder in the DSM IV-TR, and we probably each know someone with ADHD or have been diagnosed ourselves, does it really mean that we are trying to change a person through over medication? Even a friend of mine seven years ago, who as a child had been diagnosed with ADHD and was on ritalin, was a totally different person than when he was off of the medication.

Are doctors and therapists just trying to find a diagnosis to earn an extra kickback from the pharmaceutical companies? Or are they truly seeing an increase in this “rapidly growing” disorder?

Let me know your thoughts, too.