ADHD ...... or just a bit of an asshole?

I've been wanting to write this post for some time, but haven't been able to decide how to approach it. It's a potentially sensitive subject for some people, and I think my own opinions will potentially annoy or incite hatred from some people I know. But a recent article shared by a Facebook friend has spurred me on to actually write something about this modern-world annoyance of mine. What I write isn't based on any person or people I know. In fact, I'm not aware of anyone I know that's directly affected by this issue (but I'm sure there will be someone). So, anyway, it's time to share my opinion.

Now, I don't agree 100% with the aforementioned article. I do believe ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) does exist and that are genuinely children and adults out there with psychological and behavioural issues. What I don't believe, and become infuriated by, is the vast number of children around the world we now label with it and, in a lot of cases, pump full of medication in order to control a disorder they don't actually have.

Based on my own experience, knowledge and opinion, I'll go out on a limb and say that the majority of kids diagnosed with ADHD (or very similar disorders), don't actually have it. What they have is a bad personality or an issue with the way they have been raised and their surrounding environment.

We live in a politically correct age these days. This can be a good thing, but it also makes people scared to talk about actual issues and to say the hard truth where others may not want to hear it. And this, I fear, is the problem we have here in most cases. We have a route out for the likes of doctors and teachers who do not want to offend. Instead of saying "I'm sorry, your child's upbringing has affected their personality and they're just a bit of a shit", we try to diagnose and categorise it. "Oh, it must be a 'disorder' of some kind". The truth of the matter is some people just have shit personalities. For every lovely and kind person in the world, there's an asshole. But people are too afraid to say this - especially when said asshole is a child. Those 'nice' and 'normal' people believe that all personalities should be this way and, therefore, if you have a bad personality there must be something physically wrong.

Take all the kids under 16 that have been diagnosed with this disorder and I'll bet that 80-90% of them are from a certain 'social class' and background. They'll live in rough areas, hang around with certain social groups. A lot of the time they will have been bought up in not great circumstances - living on a diet of Coke, chips and fish fingers, and with questionable parenting / supervision / discipline.

We also have drug companies who push and incentivise doctors to buy and prescribe medications such as Ritalin. The global cost of mental health issues in 2010 was approximately 2.5 trillion USD, and is predicted to reach 6 trillion USD by 2030. Pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs such as Ritalin and similar behavioural-effecting drugs make a lot of money from this space.

Now instead of dealing with the actual issue(s) - the child's upbringing, environment, social circle etc, the kids are just given medication which numbs their brains. It's also a cop-out for lazy parents. They can 'justify' things like bad behaviour with a simple excuse - "Oh, he/she has ADHD and that's why they're misbehaving".

I've been in shopping centres and have seen young children running amok and have genuinely seen parents ignore the behaviour of the child and actually say "They've got ADHD" when they're told off or questioned, as if that's some kind of excuse or justifies the bad behaviour.

I'm the father of a 3-year-old. I'm lucky that he's been bought up well as is very well-mannered and behaved. But if he started acting up on a regular basis, was rude, causing trouble and generally behaving badly, I wouldn't be carting him off to the nearest doctors for some tablets to calm him down! I'd be looking at what I'm doing with him, his other home environment (as he lives with his mother) and his school life, and would be looking for actual tangible reasons as to why he was being like this. In todays fast-paced, but still slightly lazy world, people are happy with a quick answer and fix.

As I mentioned at the start, I do believe there are lots of people in the world with actual problems such as ADHD. But I'm also of the belief that not everyone who is either badly behaved or has issues has some kind of 'mental health' problem, which could/should be solved by prescribing mind-altering medication. If a large proportion of this money was spent on educating parents, socioeconomic issues, schooling and regenerating certain environments, the world would be a much better and happier place!