ADHD: A cognitive issue or behavioral problem? A look at how public schools push false diagnoses

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is highly controversial, with some believing it’s a cognitive issue and others insisting it is a behavioral problem. In fact, its very existence as a legitimate illness is questionable, given the fact that diagnosing a person with ADHD does not involve any sort of scientific testing. Even those in the medical community who claim it involves abnormal brain activity must admit that brain scans are not used to diagnose a person with ADHD, and this is a very big problem.

Nowhere is this issue more pressing than in the public school system, where experts have voiced concerns that students are being diagnosed with ADHD simply as a matter of convenience. Children who display behaviors such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are often singled out for assessments. Some would say these are pretty typical behaviors for young people depending on their personality, but many public schools are quick to tell parents to bring their child to a psychiatrist for a diagnosis in the knowledge that the child will be far less disruptive once they’re medicated. It’s easier and faster than teaching them proper behavior, right?

Some public schools will even bring physicians in to the school to observe the child’s behavior in the classroom, effectively cutting the parents right out of the equation. A checklist of symptoms is used to make the diagnosis, and even short observations can end up with schools putting pressure on parents to give their children medication.

There are lots of reasons that parents might comply, whether they simply don’t know enough about the subject to question it, they don’t want to rock the boat with school officials, or they, too, have been conditioned to believe that pills are the answer to everything. ADHD meds might make the child more complacent, and this is something that the stressed parents of particularly energetic kids might find too tempting to pass up.


Children, parents harassed by schools for not getting on board ADHD train

Those who do have the courage to resist can find themselves on the receiving end of harassment from the school. Some parents and children have been treated poorly by teachers and school administrators after refusing to start taking a course of toxic medications.

However, it’s a small price to pay to avoid the risks. ADHD drugs have not shown any evidence of effectiveness over the long term. However, they do seem to suppress spontaneous behavior in the short term, something that can make a teacher’s job easier. At the same time, however, they crush children’s creativity right at a time when they need to be honing such skills and their personalities are still forming.

It goes further than that, too. Neurologist Dr. Amitai Abramovitch points out that studies show ADHD drugs can make obsessive behavior and compulsive thoughts worse or even induce them where they weren’t present before.

Children who take these drugs also find they stop working over time, with doctors increasing their dosages or changing drugs altogether once they stop seeing results. Many of these children end up being perceived differently by teachers and peers, and they often suffer from depression and sleeplessness. How could the public school system be failing our children quite so badly?

One thing parents can do if their child’s teacher is suggesting such a drastic step is take a closer look at what is really going on in the classroom. Is the curriculum challenging and stimulating? Is there time built into the school day for movement through teamwork, stretching, and time outdoors? Are their seats comfortable? Are they eating processed foods that have been linked to behavioral problems?

As a parent, the only person you can really depend on to look out for your child’s best interests is yourself. Many people enter the teaching profession out of a genuine desire to help young people, but the sad reality is that far too many teachers are either misinformed or being pressured into taking the easy way out when it comes to dealing with spirited kids.

Read for more coverage of critical thinking about today’s “disease mongering” drug cartels.

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