Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"I Can't Concentrate, Like... I Totally have ADHD..."

Sometimes common sense is better than eight years of medical school.

This ADHD and ADD shit is getting out of control.  Rarely do I meet a person who doesn't inform me that they have one of the two, and I can usually tell it's a self-diagnosis.  How?  Because neither disorder turns itself on and off at will.  You either always have a hard time paying attention, or you don't.  Sure, everyone gets distracted, but most people can learn to tune those things out over time (depending on the annoyance).

I am not, in any way, saying that ADHD isn't real.  It is.  But I am sick of people saying that they have it just because they find learning boring (I say learning as most of the time I hear it, it is/was at school).  News Flash: If I have a hard time paying attention to a shitty movie, it doesn't mean I have ADHD.  It means it's not interesting to me, and that I'd rather spend my time watching the skin on the back of my hand age.  

Here is my personal opinion on the matter, broken down as usual:

Diagnosis in Children:
-In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, kids need to see a doctor about it before the age of seven, and the troubling behavior must continue for more than six months.  My only issue with this is that most kids are hyper around this age to begin with.  So while the terms of the diagnosis are specific, it still leaves a lot of children getting medication for something they don't really have.  

Mass Diagnosis:
-Another issue is that doctors are quick to jump to the diagnosis of ADHD when faced with a misbehaving kid.  They seem to have them pegged from the moment the parent calls to set up an appointment.  It's too bad that the doctor is willing to run Mom's and Dad's through health insurance hoops and medicinal treatments instead of just saying the obvious: "Mr. and Mrs. Turner, have you ever considered that maybe little Lucy here is just a school hating asshole?"  

-If you have the attention span to self-diagnose yourself, as well as look up the symptoms on the internet without getting distracted once, you probably don't have ADHD.  By the way, the H stands for "hyper", so if you don't act like you're on speed every once and awhile, it's going to be hard to believe you.   

Some people, mostly the older generation, believe that the cure for ADHD isn't medication and counseling sessions, but a good ol' fashion ass kicking.  Most older adults and grandparents will tell you that they were beaten in school, usually by the principal, whenever they misbehaved, and that when they got back to class, they sure as shit wasn't going to continue misbehaving.  Am I an advocate for hitting kids in school?  Of course not- I'm studying to be a teacher and I've learned that rewarding students has a better payoff than punishing them.  Not to mention the fact that I have a personal moral issue about hitting kids.  Still, I can't deny that it seemed to work.  Check out this short, less-than-a-minute clip from the ADHD episode of South Park that aired several years ago.  It still has me laughing today.

"...You can either calm down, or I can pop you in the mouth again."

What I am really trying to say is, ADHD isn't something to joke about.  It really is a learning disorder, and saying you have it when you don't will not get you out school work.  It would be like pretending you have a form of autism so you can get out of homework a few nights a week.  So unless you are on medication for it- medication that was prescribed from a doctor (in other words, not weed)- don't go around saying that you have ADHD, or apologizing for your rude behavior and blaming it on a nonexistent medical condition.  

"Oh, sorry, I wasn't listening to what you were saying.  While I tell everyone that I have ADHD, what I really mean to say is that I'm a bad friend and a shitty listener.  In my defense, whatever you were saying was incredibly goddamn boring." 


Hannah Kramer said...

This is awesome...I'm glad someone finally wrote about this whole ADD/ADHD "epidemic."

Shaun said...

Thanks, Hannah! I actually had this post typed up for about a week, and decided it was time for it to be seen by the world this morning. Glad you liked it!