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Reply To: The issue of who to tell and who not to tell about my ADHD

Reply To: The issue of who to tell and who not to tell about my ADHD2014-09-24T12:58:11+00:00

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I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, BabaD… I don’t see much improvement in perception among the general public, because the mainstream media continues to misrepresent ADHD and there are many more stories about over-diagnosing or disagreement between “experts” and skeptics as to what medication works and what causes it. Stories about how people’s lives can change when they get the diagnosis and are then treated don’t rank. And there isn’t enough consensus on what the causes are because the research is still coming in on that, and medical professionals don’t follow these developments as closely as we’d wish them to.

Why does getting it right concern me so much? I have a niece who is introverted, has very inconsistent grades in school and depression with no hyperactivity. She daydreams and cannot stay organized or finish her homework without major struggles. She is 18 and no one, including her parents, teachers, counselors or her doctor understands she probably has ADHD, though her issues point directly to this condition. I have to answer to management at my job if I I am late to work because I forgot where I last placed my keys or completely lost track of time. Since I work in a job where focus, timeliness and caution are absolutely mandatory (I drive a bus for a living) there is low tolerance for making mistakes. If I tell them too much or they misunderstand what medical problem I have, I could easily be out of a job.
Disarming or charming most people isn’t my goal, since this is something that runs in my family and started at least 2 generations before I was born. My goal is to educate and get as many of my relatives into some form of treatment as soon as possible, since I see the unfortunate consequences of their disorder and how much their lives could improve if a.) they did get treatment and b.) society stopped stigmatizing those of us with this disorder as immoral, lazy, stupid, etc…

Epilepsy was once call “grand mal” and demonic possession before that, and Bipolar Disorder was once called Manic-Depressive illness. Mental retardation has now been re-categorized into varying forms of cognitive disabilities or learning disorders. The medical world didn’t fall apart as a result of using a more accurate term for those conditions, nor did any fallout affect those who needed help with their disability. The terms merely changed as more information was discovered about how these disorders actually affected the brain. As a result more effective treatments could be administered based on the new research.

Overall, comprehensive and comparative studies on brain functioning are a relatively recent phenomenon, since recent computer technology advances have given scientists more tools for their research. More types of scans provide a better map of the brain. Substantial discoveries in the growth of human brains from age three months to the age of fifteen have been made due to the creation of high-resolution brain maps and technology to analyze these maps over various periods of time and growth (MRI and a CT scan provides more information).

I see nothing wrong with reclassifying or renaming something we have better, more accurate information about. If it reduces confusion, more people who suffer from undiagnosed ADHD will see they have a medically-recognized problem more clearly, as will their loved ones and doctors. I see it as a win-win for everyone.

And it won’t change your identity or the fact that you’re okay with it. If anything, more people will accept their condition as a part of who they are, just as you have.