The whole subject of ADHD is not short on controversy – some people insist that ADHD is a “manufactured disorder” intended as a ploy to sell more Ritalin; others point out that ADHD is a real disorder with discernable brain wave activity that is correlative to symptoms. Amid all the discussion is the quiet voice that questions the disciplinary practices of some parents with ADHD-positive children.
The “Manufactured Disorder” Approach
There are some who believe that ADHD is not a “real” disorder, and that it’s a manufactured label that was pushed by the pharmaceutical industry to make money. There are those in the medical profession who believe that ADHD is not a true disorder as well, or that it is a condition brought about largely by environment (home and school), and/or unrealistic expectations of children.
Those who believe that ADHD is not “real” point out the potentially harmful and even fatal side effects of Ritalin, the most commonly prescribed drug for this disorder.
Proponents of this “manufactured disorder” approach point to the fact that children with ADHD suddenly “develop” symptoms when they start school. They maintain that this could indicate the presence of a code of behavior that the child can’t live up to, and is therefore diagnosed with ADHD.
Those who believe ADHD is manufactured also lament the fact that medication is given to children with ADHD symptoms while the child’s home environment and his/her parents’ parenting style are not taken into consideration. Some doctors who disbelieve the reality of ADHD maintain that it’s not overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed; they claim it simply does not exist at all.
The “Real Disorder” Approach
Other medical professionals claim adamantly that ADHD is a true disorder, a chemical imbalance and true malfunction of the brain. Those in this camp do not necessarily focus on Ritalin, but instead tend to take a balanced treatment approach, not necessarily shunning medication, but advocating combining it with other forms of therapy to bring about symptom relief.
Because ADHD is a brain disorder, say proponents of the “real disorder” approach, it’s easy to label it as a character defect or the result of poor discipline. They liken this to the frustrations that people with depression undergo as friends, family, and colleagues try to “cheer them up” only to be met with no success.
Those who claim ADHD is a true disorder point out that many kids with symptoms do not exhibit them only at school, but to some degree in all situations. It defines their approach to life.
The Role of Discipline
There are helpful tips for parents as to how best to discipline their ADHD child. But experts note that lack of discipline is probably not implicated in causing ADHD, although some people will insist that more or harsher punishment will “solve” the problem. It may instead be an issue of ineffective discipline – ADHD kids often need specific disciplinary techniques to thrive.
What is your experience with ADHD and discipline? What works for you or your child?