So I was having a bit of a really annoying internet fight on facebook with a friend of a friend (of a friend, incidentally) over whether or not ADD is a “real thing.” (it was sparked by this article claiming that children in France do not have ADD like they do in America because blah blah blah let’s all treat things without medication, Americans over medicate hahahaha). Anyways, cue the bitter internet discussion.
I have ADD; I’ve also had some experience working within the foster care/social services system, as well as some experience working in the pediatric healthcare field.
One of the biggest issues that people with ADD face is the public misconception that it is
a) not a real thing
c) just the modern world’s way of dealing with youngsters obsessed with social media websites like twitter and facebook and youtube when they should be READING LES BOOKS AND DOING LES MATHEMATICS (let’s call this the “back in my day” argument).
All of which are all big stinking piles of bullshit. Most of this stems from the fact that there are high functioning people with ADD and low functioning, so people tend to think that unless you have the MOST SEVERE CASE EVER you’re not actually ADD; you’re faking. This is also complete bullshit. Look, even if you’re not completely blind, you could need glasses. Is the person who has a less extreme prescription faking it? NO. They just aren’t as extreme a case as a blind person.
So anyways, as I was reading through this and doing some research on my own, I stumbled across this fantastic article on the NIH website (sidenote: the FDA website is down due to the shutdown, the NIH medical library is still up. Uhhhh……let’s starve to death and do research, guys!).
Particularly, this quote made my mind explode a little:
he contemporary concept of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as defined in the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association 2000) is relatively new. Excessive hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive children have been described in the literature since the nineteenth century. Some of the early depictions and etiological theories of hyperactivity were similar to current descriptions of ADHD. Detailed studies of the behavior of hyperactive children and increasing knowledge of brain function have changed the concepts of the fundamental behavioral and neuropathological deficits underlying the disorder. This article presents an overview of the conceptual history of modern-day ADHD.
Other choicy choice bits of the article:
However, an analysis of historical literature suggests that children presenting with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity have previously been described by several authors during the last 200 years. The clinical characterizations, underlying concepts, and nomenclature of the described dysfunctions have changed over the time.
The first example of a disorder that appears to be similar to ADHD was given by Sir Alexander Crichton in 1798….
In this short description of the first alteration of attention, Crichton gives several indications that he was depicting the same disorder as defined in the current DSM-IV-TR criteria of ADHD. His characterization of the disorder as “the incapacity of attending with a necessary degree of constancy to any one object” is consistent with the second symptom of criterion A1, Inattention: the “difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities” (American Psychiatric Association 2000). Crichton further describes that “this faculty is incessantly withdrawn from one impression to another”, which fits with a second DSM-IV-TR symptom of inattention, namely the circumstance that the patient “is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli” (American Psychiatric Association 2000). The American Psychiatric Association (2000) furthermore determines that for the diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms have to be present before the age of seven. Crichton also reports that the disorder can be “born with a person” and “when born with a person it becomes evident at a very early period of life” (Crichton 1798).
Click through the link to read all about Fidgety Phil and the modern definitions of ADD/ADHD (as well as the distinctions between the two! SURPRISE! THEY AREN’T THE SAME THING!)
but honestly…more people should read things like this.