Lately I've been seeing this article going around, "ADHD is a FAKE disease invented by Big Pharma to drug children for profit." and since so many of my Facebook friends are sharing it, I feel the need to weigh in on this argument.
In this article, as you can see by the title, the argument is that ADHD is simply made up so that Big Pharma can drug people - children, mostly - and profit from the sales. Now, I'm not arguing that Big Pharma does this, because they most certainly do. Many people are wrongly prescribed medication or even incorrectly diagnosed with diseases just so that Big Pharma can profit from what they're selling. This kind of thing happens every day. It's wrong and I wish there was something to do about it, but ignoring things like ADHD is not the way to solve the problem. Maybe, we just need better ways of addressing what ADHD is, how it affects those who have it, and what we can do to help it other than simply medication.
I do strongly agree that Big Pharma is beyond corrupt, but I don't think we should outright say that ADHD is fake, like this article suggests. The article states that some kids have a hard time paying attention in class, and that this is more indicative of a societal problem than with the child, but I disagree to an extent. I never had any issues paying attention as a child, but my sister on the other hand, couldn't pay attention to save her life. We grew up in the same home, so it couldn't be 100% societal factors. Not to mention, I believe that's kind of a cop-out argument. It's not that simple. While some children can easily pay attention in school, others simply can't seem to focus. This leads to problems later in the childs life, such as how teenagers with ADHD are more likely to be suspended, held back a year, get into a car accident, or even drop out of school, according to Attitude. Reasons like this is why ADHD is such a problem.
At the end of the day, I think the biggest problem is that children are over-diagnosed with diseases such as ADHD instead of parents and care-takers taking reponsibility for their kids and their actions. There are hardly any evidence-based factors when doctors prescribe medication for this disease, and yet it's one of the most popular to be diagnosed. Parents go into the doctors office, and many times the doctor simply takes the word of the parent and prescribes the medication for the child without even trying to make sure that the child actually suffers from ADHD. Then, since ADHD medicine is a stimulant, it's also addictive, which can lead to issues later in the childs life. But, that's another argument. Essentially, parents just need to pay attention to their children and stop just giving them medication without proper diagnoses.
It's a vicious cycle. We need to better diagnose, better prescribe medication, and even find alternate ways of treating this disease. Instead of blowing off the problem by saying it isn't real, the focus needs to be on recognizing what ADHD is and how we can help those who have it.