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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Neurologist Richard Saul says ADHD does not exist

POP quiz: Is the proportion of American children suffering from the disease known as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder ...
a) Less than 5%, as we believed before the early 1990s?
b) More than 11%, and rising, as suggested by CDC statistics?
c) Zero?

The correct answer is (c), says neurologist Richard Saul in his forthcoming book, ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, which is sure to cause controversy when it hits the shelves in February.

After a long career treating patients complaining of such problems as short attention spans and an inability to focus, Saul is convinced ADHD is a collection of symptoms, not a disease, and shouldn't be listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Treating ADHD as a disease is a huge mistake, according to Saul. Imagine walking into a doctor's office with severe abdominal pains and simply being prescribed painkillers. Then you walk away, pain-free. Later you die of appendicitis.

Patients show up at the clinic with their own ADHD diagnoses these days, simply because ADHD is in the air all around us - and because they want to score some delightful drugs like Adderall or Ritalin, or because their parents want an easy way to get them to sit down and shut up....

I figured this out in high school. I babysat for a neighbor kid who was supposedly "hyperactive", the didn't call it ADHD back then. The kid ran through the house like a nut and would not listen to anything or anyone. He was like 3 or 4 years old. After about an hour of this kid acting like an animal, I had enough. I grabbed him sat down on the couch and held him on my lap and told him that I would not let him go until he agreed to behave. He fought me for over an hour and then calmed down. I let him go and played and behaved like a normal kid and did so every time I babysat him from then on, but still acted like an animal around everyone else. ADHD is not a problem with the child - it is a problem with the adults in his or her life that allow the child to behave in that manner. It is a discipline issue, not a disease!

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