Is ADHD a disease, many people ask. They want to know because they have not been able to get to the bottom of what kind of disorder is ADHD and they are ignorant about a lot of facts, partially fuelled by the media and the pharmaceutical lobbies. It is a pity that so few people actually read the facts about ADHD, as outlined in the excellent book here:-
Well, it is not a disease and you cannot catch it as it is not contagious! Seriously, though, it is just a mental disorder in which the brain transmitters are not firing properly. That, in reality means that signals are not getting through and the result is lack of focus when studying or driving, difficulty in concentration and a certain hyperactivity in many cases.
2.Can you inherit ADHD?
Most experts now tell us that it is about 76% inheritable and that is a very high figure. That is why many parents discover that they have this condition when they get their kids tested,. The reason is that very many cases of ADHD are undiagnosed. When we compare the 76% figure with other inheritable traits we find that depression is about 50% while autism is about 90%.
3. Medications for ADHD may help
And they are very often effective. We just need to be aware of a few ADHD facts. One is that side effects may cause about 30% of children to give them up altogether and to look at alternative ways to treat ADHD. Also, that the meds tend to be less and less effective over time so that should also be borne in mind.
Abuse of meds by college students and others (they can study all night) has led to a dramatic increase in the number of admissions to the emergency rooms. Just think – these visits have doubled in a five year period (2005 -2010) and they are mostly students aged 18 and over. While use of these meds is mostly safe for ADHD patients, their illegal use is anything but and is illegal and dangerous as these figures show. These figures are from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
4. There are alternative ways treat ADHD.
These can cover anything from herbal medicine to homeopathy. The latter is highly regarded and extremely popular because there are no side effects at all and there are no health risks either.
5. Parenting skills are a must.
Most children with ADHD will respond to medication but it has to be accompanied by basic parenting skills, behavior therapy when necessary and also putting a structure and routine into place at home.
So, is ADHD a disease is a totally useless question. But many people are in total ignorance and one of the greatest challenges is to inform the public and educate them about what are the best ways of treating what is just a mental disorder.
Robert Locke MBE is a health enthusiast specializing in children’s health and has written extensively on ADHD, parenting and mental health issues.
He is a contributor to Quora, Lifehack, The Good Men Project, Liberal America and How to Learn.
He has written “Facts About ADHD Children – Tips for ADHD Parenting” on Amazon. He has also published children’ s stories (Ziger The Tiger series) , also available on Amazon.
After a long career in Italy in teaching and management with the British Council, he was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding achievement in December 2005. He still lives in Italy where he writes and teaches.