For what it's worth
"Some critics wonder if the multiplication of mental disorders has gone too far, with the realm of the abnormal encroaching on areas that were once the province of individual choice, habit, eccentricity, or lifestyle."
- Erica Goode, Sick or Just Quirky?
Vol. IV Number 4
Once Considered Rebellious, Now Suffering ADHD
by Ed Note
The Harvard Mental Health Letter (Vol. 21 Number 7 January 2005) entitled, A Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder: New Evidence, in my opinion, re-confirms old evidence, not exposes new. Old evidence? The entire psychological community has no clue how to treat this disorder or any other. But since I've found this particular article, I will use ADD as my catalyst to expound upon. As with everything I've read concerning the DSM or other means for the APA to 'diagnose' people, the article further fails to answer the question of whether Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD and ADD respectively) are in fact mental disorders at all.
Yes, these alleged mental disorders and their admission into the 'bible' of diagnostic classification known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) where both ADHD and ADD are classified, was done by periodical vote and/or presidential proclamation. Toxic Psychology, by Peter Breggin states, "Only in psychology is the existence of a physical disease determined by APA presidential proclamation, by committee decisions, and even at times by a vote of the members of the APA not to mention the courts." [See: Intoxicating Power of the DSM]
Bolstering my argument that there is no scientific proof that either ADHD or ADD diagnosis were anything other than diagnoses of convenience or popular demand when they were included in the DSM. Nor has there ever been any proof that there is anything other than a lack of communications between two generations, and God knows this is nothing new. So, isn't it very possible that there is no disorder? "Some critics wonder if the multiplication of mental disorders has gone too far, with the realm of the abnormal encroaching on areas that were once the province of individual choice, habit, eccentricity, or lifestyle." - Erica Goode, Sick or Just Quirky?
Let's move away from my passionate decry of the DSM and my opposition to the APA’s desire to drug our children and society in mass for a minute to note a positive point made in the article, although not given satisfactory attention. That point being, there were children in all the test groups who, after the first year of the two-year study, were able to function appropriately without drugs. Without going into another dissertation about what is appropriate functioning for a child, this point shows achievement for these children. Had this achievement been emphasized, a message would have been sent noting it is possible to function without medication. Quite possibly none of these children ever needed the drugs in the first place. It would like to have read how those children, who were no longer on prescription drugs, felt about the difference in their lives once they were allowed to function drug free.
It is very possible that had all the children been afforded continued interventions by parents, teachers, and therapists for longer than just two years, maybe more children would have been seen as able to function without drugs. Not that this was the reason for no longer having a need for drugs, but it is something to consider. Maybe, with communications and continued interventions by parents and peers, all the children would have functioned on a level that would have been less a focus of such intense attention. Some things take more time than others. Isn't it possible that more children - given time - could be taken off drugs? Sometimes quick fixes are not discoverable for everything. Sometimes there are no quick fixes, and then again sometimes there is nothing that needs to be fixed.
My original supposition is that ADD/ADHD may not even be a disorder. Maybe these children have little desire to stay focused on their surroundings, because their surroundings are very contrary to what goals they believe are important to them. There were children in the test groups during this two-year study who had individual therapy sessions. It was never said just what these sessions entailed, so I have to wonder if they were actually afforded the chance to express their personal desires and/or belief systems. Or were they just lead by the therapists in a direction the particular therapist chose to direct their sessions?
Some studies on therapists concerning individual as well as group therapy sessions, especially when children are concerned, show that therapists usually have a predisposed concept of the 'problem' or 'situation' and that is the way the therapist directs the rest of the session. In The Daubert Decision and Its Effects on Expert Testimony, author T. W. Campbell states that therapists are, "… more inclined to embrace unverified theory and judge patients ... by whatever symptoms the patient displays that coincide with particular diagnostic criteria for some preferred disorder. Doing so affords therapists to frequently find evidence of a disorder, not because it really exists, but because they wanted to find it."
In the studies spoken of within the Harvard Mental Health Letter article, it is quite possible, although I am not saying it is what happened just possible, that the therapist, being predisposed that the children were suffering ADHD, directed the sessions accordingly and discounted anything that the children may have attempted to express that was creative or cognitively adverse to the therapist's predisposition. My beliefs are reinforced in that the study, which shows that many of the children who were diagnosed with suffering from ADHD or ADD were in fact very intelligent persons. Intelligence also goes to imply that they would likewise harbor personal desires and goals. Some of their person goals and desires may very well be far from that of the 'normal' idea for a child in the eyes of an adult who had different goals and desires when that adult was a child. What if these children's desires, goals, and understanding of their own desires and goals, are more advanced than those of prior generations of children, (those who are now grown therapists or people who run studies on the new generation)? Those therapists would stand off to the side and claim this new generation of understanding as different even disordered. After all, no adult wants to believe that a "mere child" may be smarter or maybe more spiritually advanced than they are.
There are theories and scholarly beliefs that there are children born from an era beginning in the early 1950s but becoming more prevalent in the 1980s to date who knew they were being born and to what families they were being born into. These "Indigo Children" as they are called because their personal auras are indigo in color, are thought to be a more spiritually advanced and highly intelligent evolutionary stage of the human race. In theory, before birth, these spirits had total understanding and in birth they came with a predisposed purpose and design. For obvious reasons, as a baby, they were not equipped and therefore they could not convey upon their parents to whom they chose to be born, what their purpose was; they had to wait for the time when they could do so, a time past childhood, a time entering adolescence. Being more advanced, these children could not subscribe to the "normal" way of learning, living, or even expressing themselves. Normal of course being that mainstream way of thinking and learning. Before the time came when they could adequately express themselves; their immediate need was for nurturing, protection from harm, and understanding from their families and from their personal environments. These needs were necessary as they were too young and vulnerable to protect themselves on their own as babies and young children. They were trapped into having to wait until when they were mature enough and therefore more than capable of protecting themselves while expressing their cause and reason. At that point of maturity, not necessarily the standard concept of "legal age" but their personal evolution of maturity, they were to progress onward toward whatever the mission or goal was that they had designed from the beginning. Contrariwise it became a time where they were under scrutiny, maybe even put in therapy. Enough of this, Indigo Children is a topic for another dissertation but felt it apropos to bring it up here in passing.
According to certain scholars and theorists, artistically advanced children and children of higher intelligence were let down by their environment and families, who they counted on for protection, nurturing, and understanding in their time of most need. Their supporters failed to give them protection and understanding they so desperately sought; instead gave them misunderstanding, and chaos. And eventually drugs to make them conform to the ways of the past or rather the only way that their family, therapists, and environment understood - the mainstream 'normal'.
Given that theory as a possibility for why so many people born since the 1950s have been diagnosed as suffering from ADHD and/or ADD, isn't it also possible that as more of these children are born into the world, more and more will find themselves faced with the daunting task of having to fit into a society that is totally contrary to their knowledge, purpose, and design? A society that doesn't understand them and by nature, if society doesn’t understand it, it’ll change it, make it fit into their scheme of thinking. If it doesn't change to fit, give it drugs - it will fit then by god.
A step further into this theory is that as these children are growing through the period of time between birth and maturity they are constantly bombarded with the ways of the world as passed on from generation to generation before them. These ways, to them, are very non-productive, slow, backwards even. But they are helpless in an environment where their only protection is from those who are themselves perpetrating the contrariwise lifestyles or 'normal' behavior. They become saturated and lose touch with their personal purpose and goals. They fall into the stagnant way of learning regime and often fail.
In their failure, those who are the strongest hold on to some of their beliefs and purpose yet are unable to
express it because of the exposure to the other ways. They become so troubled by their feelings of alienation and knowing that something just isn't right; yet they just don't 'remember' what it is. They have lost contact with the spiritual reality they had when they chose to be born. They are drunk and hypnotized by the physical experiences that they had up to the point of adolescence or early teen age years. They sometimes become very self-destructive by the chaos that assaults their minds. Suicide is not an unreasonable option in this situation to these poor children who have lost their way. The suicide rate of children diagnosed suffering with ADHD and ADD is high.
Then on the other hand there are those who have likewise lost their way but feel that they are more than they appear yet can't express what it is. They try to communicate yet are met with dissention and lack of tolerance to anything 'out of the ordinary'. At this point they become so confused and contemptuous of how they feel and of how they have been treated by their environment that they become angry and destructive. Often this destructive nature comes out not in suicidal tendencies but in property destruction or other anti-social and disruptive behaviors. They are suffering a disorder imposed by their anger and frustration against what they have no control over, a society whose eyes are wide shut.
Even if you chose not to subscribe to the theory of "Indigo Children" it is not too farfetched to subscribe to the realistic possibility that what happens to these children, those who are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, in their attempts to express their understandings and of course their personal desires and goals in life is they become frustrated by the lack of understanding or by the stagnancy of their environment. Even worse, by the stagnancy and narrow mindedness of those whom they find themselves having to live with and answer to. This would also include the therapists or other people who run studies such as the one in the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
The frustration that these children must endure, remember many of whom are very intelligent, could very logically lead to anger and acting out, which in turn could very easily be perceived as hyperactivity. The cycle strengthens; the anger or perceived hyperactivity causes those who don't understand what is being expressed to them to forcibly prescribe drug therapy which in turn could cause even greater frustration, anger, acting out, hyperactivity, and eventually disassociation or worse - suicide.
If you have ever experienced attempting to explain yourself to someone with little understanding of what you are trying to express to them, you can appreciate this frustration and even the eventual anger. Consider trying to speak with someone who doesn't speak your language, or worse yet imagine being a deaf individual and trying to communicate something very important to someone who didn't know how to speak sign language or write. After a while you either give up or act out in a manner that would be considered anti-social. If you have some strong coping skills you may just give up, smile, and walk away, but you would probably get bored and frustrated with such an environment of misunderstanding. To an extreme, you may disassociate and begin living in your own world, a world where you run and play and think at your own pace, a pace that is contrary to the environment that you have escaped from. To those who have a predisposition of 'how life is', or what is the 'normal' way to react and function, this certainly gives the appearance of someone who is abnormal. How much worse would the world be if not only were you not understood because of your advanced understanding but those who didn't understand, those who are stuck in the old, force you to take drugs to be like them, to forget who you are.
This could very well be the situation that is being faced by so many youths today that are diagnosed as ADD and ADHD. As the studies in the article confirmed, some actually functioned without any drug therapy before the first year of the study was concluded. Some likely became more complacent with their lives and will live appropriately mentally comfortable for years to come. It is inexcusable to so casually prescribe drugs for some different behavior just because it is convenient to do so.
So many cases of ADHD and ADD have been shown to be misdiagnoses. So often Ritalin and other mood-altering drugs are prescribed to children in place of babysitters or because the system does not have the time to deal with the child in a more loving and personally caring manner. This is horrible and a devastating state of affairs that is way too quickly subscribed to - especially in America where lifestyles dictate the microwave generational attitude of hurry up I want it now. Families don't take the adequate time to raise their own children, they pawn them off on schools, nannies, and of course mood-altering drugs.
Whether an "Indigo Child" or not, all children rely on their families and their immediate environment for protection and loving understanding. Are these children getting protection and understanding or are they being made to change to a perceived norm? Are they being drugged into submission?
There was a time when drugs where a cultural norm, but that culture was considered a culture of rebellious and malcontentious youths. However, those rebellious and malcontentious youths are now the adults of today who in turn are so quick to find a drug to 'cure' anything. We have drugs to help you sleep, wake up, deal with depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunctions, and of course if you read the side effects of each, they usually produce other symptoms that there are drugs to counter. The point is that with each new generation we have a new way of perceiving the acceptable and therefore dictating the norm.
Generations have historically been caught in the chasm of misunderstandings, which has been referred to as the generation gap, a gap that has always existed between each generation and the next. When you have the last generation dictating the norms for the next generation, it's no wonder there are major differences in attitudes and considerations of what is "normal." The last generation was considered rebellious, today's generation are considered suffering from ADHD.
For What It’s Worth is the mindset of the author, not necessarily that of TTE, affiliates, staff, or associates.
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