There is a cultural trend currently that just drives me nutz. Everyone thinks all their problems are because they have adhd. Doctors reinforce this notion because the DSM5 is based solely on symptomology. If people have 5 symptoms of such and such then they have a disorder. No one asks why or what’s going on in their life. This is silly as common sense would often dictate another explanation besides having a psychiatric disorder but there is no common sense to our culture.
Perfect examples are when we make little kids sit still and pay attention for 6 hrs which is developmentally an incorrect thing to do. Schools adopting multiple recesses (about every 2 hrs) are finding no one meets the criteria for adhd anymore where before it was up to 1 in 4.
Another example is a woman I saw diagnosed with adhd by her family doctor and sent to me for treatment. When you listened to her life’s story it was obvious her meeting ADHD symptoms on the check list was absolutely meaningless. In other words if anyone given the same situation would have the same symptoms then it isn’t a disorder but something called being HUMAN!
She is a 56 year old Hispanic woman who came to the USA as a toddler with parents whom could not speak English and would never learn English. By the time she was 6 she was their main translator for all social interactions outside the family and by 12 she was in charge of the family finances, billing, all mail correspondence to the outside world and anything else requiring English communications. Meanwhile she maintained b/c grades at school but complains she was a bit distracted. She remained throughout life her parent’s caretaker to their deaths from cancer a few years back. She also was caretaker for many years to an alcoholic husband while also working and bringing up 3 successful children and still taking care of increasingly ill parents.
Who, given her life’s situation, wouldn’t meet criteria for adhd ! Upon complaining to her family Dr. that couldn’t focus and that she was having trouble at work and home he gave her an adhd checklist and she had every symptom. He put her on stimulants to which at first she thought really helped but then made her increasingly irritable and aggressive. Of course they helped as would caffeine or any stimulant but not because she was mentally ill. She just hat a lot on her plate and being able to do more of it wasn’t really in actuality good for her. It enabled her to make her life even more complicated.
She didn’t set boundaries in her life, she never said no. Being able to do more just allowed her to agree more to things she could not in reality complete. She shouldn’t have been the only one doing everything in the first place. Enabling her to do more of the same just in the long run was making her situation worse! When this type of person finally reaches their limits they often completely crash. All or nothing. But nothing could take 56 years to reach and by then they interpret their life as a complete failure because they didn’t fix everything for everyone. Their life’s sacrifice didn’t in the long run change anything.
Medicating people but not looking at the big picture only allows us to enable people to continue to make the same mistakes they are already making longer.