There are a wide range of publicly available “tests” and lists of symptoms for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD and nearly as many opinions about the malady. I remember vividly, while preparing to interview a physician who was stirring controversy for his belief that ADHD was a bunch of hooey, I worked my way through the list of ten common signs and symptoms of ADHD. As a card carrying talk show host, I had to admit that while I had NEVER been diagnosed, that I did have signs of 7 of the 10 symptoms on the list. I think the same can be said for my co-host at the time and most radio guys!
That being said, I was never a big believer in the diagnosis and as a parent pushed back hard when teachers suggested that my son was a likely candidate for the diagnosis. It was and remains my belief that ADHD became a quick and easy catchall for the education establishment who didn’t know how to handle kids who clearly showed overwhelming signs of boredom with the classroom.
Inherent with that diagnosis was the quick reach for the prescription pad and the laundry list of meds utilized to “combat” ADHD. The problem with the collection of psychotropic drugs prescribed for ADHD even physicians admit to not knowing what impact that they have on the brain long term. The fact that many of the so-called school yard shooters were known to be on these meds at the time of their crimes, including the shooters at Columbine.
So it was with great interest that I approached Dr. Dale Archer’s new book, The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength. Like any topic that has to do with our children, I knew that Dr. Archer would find himself firmly in the cross hairs of not only parents of children with the diagnosis, but also the diagno-sees.
Archer does not disappoint as he flies boldly into the face of the multi-billion dollar industry the sprung up in response to the ADHD diagnosis with his bold claim that it is not beyond reasonable to think that it all boils down to boredom. The numbers are staggering with 10% of children and nearly half that number of adults on the receiving end of an ADHD diagnosis.
Archer counts himself among those in the group and has clearly managed to have not only a successful career and practice as a board certified psychiatrist. He makes the case and spells out the details that training is the answer, not drugs to driving the brain to new levels of success. It is a case that needs to be driven home to the education establishment to alter their current path.