In recent years, the veracity of ADHD has been questioned, especially since the number of diagnosed cases has been increasing. In fact, ADHD has gone from being a rare problem to being one of the most common psychological disorders, affecting up to 10% of children, although other sources claim that the figure increases up to 20%.
This has led some people and even professionals in the sector to wonder if it is a real disorder or is it just an invention. To add fuel to the fire came an article published a few years ago in the German newspaper Der Spiegel , in which it was stated that the famous neurologist Leon Eisenberg, a few months before he died, had confessed: “ADHD is an excellent example of a manufactured disease ” . Although this sentence was later denied, the truth is that there are certain doubts about the veracity of ADHD.
Although ADHD has received different names throughout the history of psychiatry, it has existed as a recognized clinical entity for more than five decades. In fact, in 1998 the American Medical Association referred to ADHD as ” one of the best-studied disorders, whose data on its validity exceed those of many diseases .”
In the now distant 1798, Alexander Crichton, a Scottish physician, described a disorder very similar to ADHD, although it was not until the early 20th century that the first studies on this problem began to appear. In 1952 the DSM-I called it “minimal brain dysfunction”, in the DSM-II it was known as the “hyperkinetic reaction of childhood”, in the DSM-III it was called attention deficit disorder and, finally, in the DSM-IV referred to the different subtypes of ADHD.
The use of stimulants to treat this problem dates back to the 1930s. In fact, in 1934 Benzedrine was the first drug approved in the United States for ADHD. Later, other more effective alternatives with fewer adverse effects would appear.
However, while ADHD is a disorder with a long history, there are many who consider ADHD symptoms to be simply normal manifestations of childhood behavior. These professionals also consider ADHD medication to be doping.
For them, diagnosing ADHD implies pathologizing a normal childhood problem. In addition, they also maintain that there are no objective guidelines for making a diagnosis, they indicate that it has a tautological character and that it is based too much on the perception of the parents.
To conclude, they point out that there are no specific biomarkers that allow ADHD to be diagnosed as a clinical entity. However, we must remember that finding biomarkers in a disorder of a psychological nature is quite complicated and that there are different studies that indicate neurological deficiencies common to people with ADHD.
The debate about the existence of ADHD is still open. However, most psychologists are convinced that it is a real disorder, with its own entity. Still, beyond the diagnosis, the truth is that children with ADHD and their families have a problem that they must face.
Therefore, the most important thing is not to put a label that can limit them and frame them within a category. In addition, medication is not always necessary, in some cases cognitive-behavioral therapy is enough for the child to function normally in the different spheres of his life. After all, ADHD hasn’t stopped people like Steve Jobs, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, and Bill Gates.