Is ADHD A Disorder? — ADD Tip O the Day 647

I found this on the net.  The link is below if you want to watch it.  I didn’t.

“ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU”

Well, it is a difference.  It’s a difference that is not “normal” – ie it’s not very common – and it causes a lot of dysfunction – that’s in the definition of ADD ADHD. Isn’t normal and causes dysfunction.  How is that different from a disorder?

Does this kind of misinformation cause harm or does it not matter?

Could it-

  • cause people to not get help?
  • cause insurance companies to not cover treatment?
  • cause more stigma?
  • cause less stigma?
  • have any other effects?

Disorder, Disease, Normal

I was surprised to find that these terms have no commonly accepted medical definitions.

Or can someone correct me on this?

clik for the you tube talk – if you do watch it please comment.

Important note:

Ram watched it.  Be sure to read Ram’s comment below.  Thank you Ram.


add,adhd,adult add,adult adhd,attention deficit,disorder,dysfunction,disfunction,brain,imaging,normal,abnormal,cognition,different,difference

Is ADD ADHD a disorder?

Bonus Links:

from Melissa Orlov on marriage, but applies to more

Terms and Definitions Related to ADD ADHD

Note O the Day:

The Santa Fe New Mexican published an edited version of my letter about the Rosemond piece on diet.  They cut out that he is not a psychologist and that he has been in trouble for misrepresenting his credentials.  They publish his column.

Also one of the two pediatricians he misquotes is not a pediatrician but a nurse practicioner.

@addstrategies @dougmkpdp #add #adhd

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.
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10 Responses to Is ADHD A Disorder? — ADD Tip O the Day 647

  1. rammkatze says:

    Doug, I love how you later added the mention “Ram watched it.” It feels almost like I’ve done something almost unachievable for us ADD/ADHDers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicki says:

    I watched the video, and was glad for Ram’s summary. I was overwhelmed by the guy so had trouble figuring out his message. Thank you, Doug, for sharing it. It’s helpful to recognize some of the other points of view that can derail one’s understanding of ADHD, when relatively new to it, and perhaps not a great digester of research.

    Liked by 2 people

    • doug says:

      vicki – thank you for your kind note. unfortunately, there’s a lot of crap on the net and some of it is seductive. That’s probably true of most topics, but the damage it can cause for people with ADD ADHD is troubling. just keep educating yourself – that’s a major strategy.
      thank you for commenting – you are contributing


  3. rammkatze says:

    Hi Doug!
    I had actually tried watching this video last week, but he couldn’t peak my interest. I gave it another go today and listened to it twice. So it’s the old “we’re special, like a positive kind of special” story with the addition of “not everyone should take the meds”. Let’s see if I can sum up all my mixed feelings about the message ASAP (As Shortly As Possible ;-P ).

    1. I don’t quite get/like what he means with “withrawl” in this case because the ADHD meds aren’t supposed to cause withdrawl. It bugs me that he classifies going back to his erratic ADHD behaviour in the summer (while off meds) as withrawl – correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re the doctor: withdrawl is the presentation of symptoms not present before taking the meds >after< stopping the meds.

    2. I think it's a bit unfair of him, having been medicated throughout his childood, to present the use of ADHD medication in terms of (paraphrasing) "you should only take the meds if you're at an age where you can deal with the withdrawl effects". Dealing with ahem…"withdrawl" comes from firsthand experience, I think. There won't be a magical age when we can deal with it. I started medication at 32 (!) and I had a hard time dealing when the effect of the meds wasn't cutting it for me. Took me a while and I eventually started new meds.

    3. and finally, I allways was and allways will be part of the group of people who sees ADD/ADHD as a disorder or a deffcit – yes, even if we hyperfocus, we don't choose on what and when we hyperfocus. Even if it is enjoyable for us, it's hardly a superpower! I can't be for the rights of the disabled and mentally ill and at the same time try to act like I'm just like everyone else, as if being different or impaired in any way were indeed something bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ram – thank you for the excellent report on the Ted post.
      Actually, i think there may sometimes be a withdrawal, not often, and more linked with abuse and high doses. It sounds like your guy is confusing a return of symptoms with withdrawal?
      hyperfocus – exactly, it would be great if we had some control over it.
      as always, thank you for commenting, and especially for reporting on this

      “Withdrawal from Stimulants (Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Amphetamines and Methamphetamines

      The two most commonly abused stimulants are cocaine and methamphetamine. Intermittent binge use of both substances is common. While the withdrawal symptoms that occur after a 2- to 3-day binge are different in intensity than those that occur after chronic, high-dose use, they are similar.

      Signs and Symptoms of withdrawal from stimulants are:

      dysphoria (depression)
      difficulty sleeping
      intense dreaming”

      “Interestingly, the DSM-IV-TR criteria (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) for amphetamine withdrawal are exactly the same as those for cocaine withdrawal and while sleep disturbance is included, it is not critical for a diagnosis:

      The cessation of, or reduction in, heavy or prolonged amphetamine (or a related substance) use.
      Dysphoric mood plus two (or more) of the following, developing within a few hours or several days after A:
      insomnia or hypersomnia;
      psychomotor agitation or retardation;
      increased appetite; and
      vivid, unpleasant dreams.”


  4. Gina says:

    Good try on Rosemond, Doug.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Martha Puryear says:

    Consider writing to the New Mexican & mentioning that they left out the facts re to the supposed Psychologist & Pediatrician who is really a NP.

    Liked by 1 person

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