ADHD, A “Fictitious Disease?”

By Doctor Patrick Flynn

Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when teachers had problems with me. And it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me until I met my wife.

My teachers labelled me as “troubled and hyper,” what would now be called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even then, almost three decades ago, the doctor’s first suggestion was to put me on a pharmaceutical cocktail. Understand what that means; they wanted to further alter my chemical physiology in response to a behavioral issue.

Now I’ll tell you something that you don’t hear often enough.

I’m throwing the BS flag. ADHD doesn’t exist. There is no such thing.

Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe the words of Leon Eisenberg, the “scientific father of ADHD.” In an interview, shortly before his death in 2009, Eisenberg said, “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.”

Psychiatric News pointed out that Eisenberg received the “Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research. He has been a leader in child psychiatry for more than 40 years through his work with pharmacological trials, research, teaching, and social policy and for his theories of autism and social medicine.”

Read that again if you must. It’s very telling that they call his life’s work “theories.”

(I once heard someone question the veracity of a theory by saying, “It’s only a theory.” The retort was, “Just because it’s a theory doesn’t mean that it’s not a proven fact.” Actually that is precisely what a theory is).

Psychiatric News is also saying that Eisenberg is a leader in the field that Eisenberg himself admits is bunk. Is anybody else smelling a rat here? A multi-billion-dollar rat. The Ruane Prize winner himself made a healthy living from his “fictitious disease.

Does that bother anyone else?

In 2013 one out of ten boys, aged 10, were taking medication for ADHD on a daily basis. Those numbers have not gone down in the years since then.

Back in the day, when I received my Scarlet Letter, some of these drugs existed but they weren’t as quick to prescribe them, which is fortunate for me. Some of the listed side effects of the drugs are worse than my condition ever could have been. Suicidal ideation? Delusions? Homicidal ideation? Alcohol abuse? Hallucinations? Loss of consciousness?

No thank you.

I know my case is unusual, but it can be informative, and I encourage you to consider it. What I chose to do is educate myself. Those initial studies, which weren’t easy, lead me to the career path that I’ve been on for the better part of the last two decades. For millions of other kids, it was a different story.

That’s a big leap to take for a disease that the man who popularized it called “fictitious.”

Pretty crazy when you think of it. Is it a plot for pharmaceutical companies to make a few more billion dollars or something more insidious that we’re doing to our children?

Or is it both?