ADHD does not exist

Dr. Richard Saul, a behavioral neurologist, uses his five decades of experience treating thousands of patients diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), one of the most rapidly growing and widely diagnosed conditions today, to argue that ADHD is actually a cluster of symptoms resulting from over 20 other conditions and disorders.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6.4 million children aged four to seventeen have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While many doubters feel that ADHD is a product of pharmaceutical firms and the medical establishment, the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity are all too real for millions of people who are unable to function without medication. What is generating these terrible symptoms if ADHD does not exist?

Richard Saul, a psychiatrist, has dealt with thousands of patients with ADHD symptoms over the last half-century. He draws a startling conclusion based on his experiences: ADHD is a symptom complex caused by over twenty unique illnesses, ranging from poor eyesight to giftedness to bipolar disorder and despair, each requiring its own treatment. ADHD Does Not Exist synthesizes Dr. Saul's discoveries and offers simple counsel for everyone seeking answers, based on in-depth scientific study and real-life tales from his numerous patients.

I was excited when I initially learned that a neurologist had authored a book called ADHD Does Not Exist. However, after reading yesterday's New Republic piece by the book's author, Dr. Rchard Saul, I realized that my optimism was misplaced.

Despite decades of research, no biological basis for ADHD has been identified, and stimulant medicines for youngsters have drawbacks and are over-prescribed in general, as Saul correctly points out. The diagnostic and therapy Saul suggests for a young kid in The New Republic, on the other hand, are far worse than the typical stimulant "solution" for ADHD.

Saul narrates the account of one of his patients, William, a sixth-grader. William was clever but forgetful, with typical adolescent issues such as forgetting to bring home his homework assignments and throwing rage tantrums. William's parents sought medicinal options after becoming frustrated with their son's "underperformance" at school. They took him to several psychiatrists, each of whom prescribed different stimulants and antidepressants for the youngster without prescribing any type of treatment.

William's parents saw that the drugs made him worse. Rather than seeking for explanations in William's social milieu or attempting family therapy, school initiatives, parenting classes, or tutoring, his parents turned to another medical solution—with far more disastrous repercussions.

Saul diagnosed William with bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that no edition of the DSM has ever applied to minors under the age of eighteen. The FDA has not authorized any medications for children that are licensed for adults with bipolar disorder. Despite this, some psychiatrists continue to diagnose bipolar disorder in youngsters and treat them with harsh antipsychotic medicines "off label."