Errors About ADD ADHD? — ADD Tip o the Day 486

Re recent outburst of sensationalized articles against the diagnosis and the treatment of ADD ADHD:

“Kids are being given medicines to control their behavior.”

No, kids are given medicines so that they can control their behavior – not get in trouble for blurting out or being unable to stay in their seat; turning in their homework instead of losing it, not forgetting the assignment, or just not being able to do it at all; not losing their books, not failing because they can’t pay attention in class, not having trouble on the playground because they can’t follow the rules of the game, not being an outcast because they are too different and inappropriate, etc.  If a child prefers to have these kind of problems, there is no medicine that will make them do differently, but few children want to be like this.

“The medicines constrict them so they can’t climb trees or enjoy sports.” 

I remember sadly watching my son Duane in a soccer game, standing in the middle of the field watching the birds or the clouds and maybe sticking out a foot if he noticed the other boys running past him with the ball. How great it was later to watch him when he seemed to understand the concept and actually participated in the game.

“You are diagnosing boys who are just being boys.”

Most boys are not in trouble all the time and are able to focus enough to do their work and pass to the next grade.”

“Everyone has some ADHD.”

I just addressed this  (see link below).  “Maybe, but we have a lot of it all of the time.”

“Children are being drugged.” 

Maybe it’s just semantics, but to me drugged means being given something sedating, becoming zombie like.  Being given a stimulant or antidepressant that allows us to focus and function just doesn’t seem like “drugging”.

“You are trying to ‘normalize’ them.” 

To turn them all into cookie cutter identical robots, right?  Or rather, to allow them to choose to be themselves and function in any normal ways that they would choose to?

Esquire’s pieceThe Drugging of the American Boy

Have you read the article?  What do you think?

If you will please give your opinion, please also indicate whether you or your child has ADHD or not.


comment from andrew kinsella MD

My personal note:

Personally, I had few problems in school except for fights and social inadequacy (somehow got away with blurting out a lot) until I hit the brick wall of college – never had to study before, didn’t know how and couldn’t focus.  I finally learned how to study, but still had trouble focusing.  If only I had had some Ritalin, or the Daytrana that I use now.

More links:

ADD does not exist

ADD myths 

add,adhd,medicine,drugs,drugging,controversy,ritalin, daytrana



About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
This entry was posted in add, ADD problems or symptoms, adhd, attitudes, controversies, dysfunctions, educate yourself, medication and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Errors About ADD ADHD? — ADD Tip o the Day 486

  1. gina says:

    Hi Doug,

    Pieces such as those in Esquire are so transparent. Do a Google search, and you’ll find that egregious title repeated ad infinitum. Sensation sells on the Internet, and nothing sells it better than a “drugged” piece on ADHD.

    No matter if it’s poorly researched and cherry-picked, full of fear-mongering hyperbole.

    Esquire’s editor in chief should be ashamed of himself. The magazine’s mercenary nature tells us there is no compassion or even science-savvy in those offices.

    A pity. It used to be one of the great magazines.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well put! “kids are given medicines so that they can control their behavior” You are wise sir. this was remarkable insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail B says:

    I was in my late 40’s when I was diagnosed with ADHD. Taking medicine has changed my life for the better. I’m not sedated; just awake and focused. Like Baby Darling, I wish I had the drugs in the early years. One sad thing for me is that several of my friends I have shared this with are certain that this is just a fad and that I have joined the band wagon. Five years after being diagnosed, I know for certain my life is better now because of the medication and the continuous education about learning strategies to benefit from my ADHD.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. busydarling says:

    Diagnosing boys for being boys…. So I’m a girl who got diagnosed with being a boy?
    And, I wish I WAS drugged as a child, it would have made such a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    • busy-
      i wish i was too. I’m guessing you were one of the quiet daydreaming ones, not the hyperactive troublemakers (like me, for example)?
      thanks for the comment


      • busydarling says:

        No, actually, I have the combined type. The boy type. Girls are often daydreamers.
        I was always fidgety, but as a kid I was unable to show gross motor hyperactivity: I also have joint hypermobility, making simple skills harder. Like walking on jelly legs. And my ADHD didn’t help. But I was fidgety, always half asleep it seemed, had one hell of a temper and was impulsive. And very chatty, unless I was very uncomfortable.
        It was suspected that I may turn into an ADHD kid when I was 3, but I was a girl and combined type girls aren’t always as obvious as boys. My parents mistook hyper focus for normal concentration.
        The only time school decided my behaviour was different, they threw it on me being ‘highly gifted’ and let me skip the year I was held back when we emigrated. I wasn’t acting the way I did because I was ‘bored’ with the ‘easy’ schoolwork, I was simply being me. (Though, I may be ‘highly gifted’, so I never ran into academic trouble as long as I could catch bits of info. I did run into trouble for unfinished homework and such.).
        I spent most of my teens being grounded, and I was nr 3 in the school’s early morning detention list. (That school was brilliant. Made you get up earlier as punishment rather than have teachers stay late!). I had a special place in math detention because I always failed to keep up. Yet, I somehow graduated in the top 10% of my year group. My average was 7.8, 8.0 meant direct access to med school.

        And I went to a problem based learning uni. Trust me, nothing triggers hyper focus in a gifted ADHD student like PBL with early patient exposure.

        So I actually only got formally diagnosed when I decided to get tested at age 25, recovering from a depression resulting from me exhausting myself.


  5. homemakersdaily says:

    I have ADD and so do my kids. Fortunately I homeschooled them so I was able to work with it in a way that school can’t. They didn’t ever take medicine, only because I never took them to the doctor for it. We didn’t have insurance that allowed that so we worked with what we had. Anyway, there are a lot of kids probably being given drugs that don’t need them. But for those who do, it can be life changing. My daughter just told me today that she had a meltdown last night (she’s 28 and married now) because she’s one of those people who has to write everything down. She modified her routine at her job last week, didn’t write the change down, and forgot something really important. She felt so, so, so bad because she forgot and because she has to write everything down. Does she need medicine? I don’t know. But if she needed it or was struggling constantly, I would certainly encourage her to check on it. Why struggle if you don’t have to. And with ADD, we certainly do struggle. People who don’t have it just don’t understand what it’s like.


    • homey – ” And with ADD, we certainly do struggle. People who don’t have it just don’t understand what it’s like.”
      Boy, you got that right!!
      Some people do fine just with strategies and and no meds; some of us need the meds to be able to use the strategies. Writing everything down is an important strategy.
      thanks for commenting


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