A lot is written about ADHD, which makes it sometimes difficult to get concrete tools from it. The aim of this article is to shed light on all sides and to give each vision a place within my own framework.
At a scientific level, research has been done into ADHD via a brain scan (EEG). This is in different groups of people with ADHD and without. The differences in brain activity and size were looked at. With ADHD it is said that there is an abnormality in the brain. This is also learned from the DSM.
Research has shown that the measured differences are so minimal that no conclusion can be drawn from ADHD. This indicates that there is no underlying brain abnormality. In other words, ADHD has no scientific basis, only subjective characteristics.
The following characteristics are often mentioned:
- Attention and concentration:
They find it difficult to permanently focus their attention on a task and not to be distracted by all kinds of stimuli from the environment;
They are constantly in motion, especially at a younger age. They are often easily excited and frustrated. They often feel a great unrested inside. Sitting still and being calm takes an unusual amount of energy;
They act before they think. They are not (even unconsciously) concerned with the consequences of their behaviour; the ‘brake function’ is missing;
- Regulatory Functions:
They find it difficult to plan, regulate their emotions, motivation, and alertness, and let past experiences factor into decisions and expectations about the future. They also react differently to reward and punishment.
ADHD and society
Just because there is no scientific evidence for ADHD doesn’t mean it isn’t a signal to society. ADHD can certainly be experienced as “difficult” by the person himself and the environment. Much research has been done on the environment of the ADHD labeled person. This shows that today’s society does not know how to deal with all types of persons.
A “default” behavior is expected. Since we are all different, “standard” is quite difficult to assess and fill in. We do, however, see a shift in this. This shift has to do with the fact that more and more people are “waking up”. By “wake up” I mean in this case being highly sensitive. Society expects a certain behavior until we all wake up. Then it could just be that everyone who is “normal” is considered “abnormal”.
ADHD and high sensitivity
High sensitivity is one of the hallmarks of ADHD. We all receive stimuli that we have to process. We all just do not receive the same amount of stimuli and also react differently to each stimulus. If we receive too many stimuli, we can react a bit more “extremely”.
Not everyone has this more extreme behavior because we are not all highly sensitive. But this quickly leads to the label of ADHD because it fits the “symptoms”. In this context, there are many more “symptoms” that require a different approach to that person.
ADHD and symptoms
If only we wouldn’t condemn this “behaviour” but value it and learn from it. At the moment, we see “symptoms” as behaviors that we do not tolerate in society. You cannot sit still and or have a poor concentration and therefore you do not meet our requirement.
Of course, there are a number of behaviors and “symptoms” that are troublesome for the person. Does this mean there is a defect in the brain? As stated before, there is no evidence for this, so let’s look further.
ADHD and visual thinking
I recently read a piece about visual thinking and how this can lead to learning problems in the current school system. As a visual thinker you process the subject matter differently. You have to create images in your head to absorb the material. The subject matter is often presented in a very textual and numerical way,
which many children can still deal with well. But there are also more and more children who can do very little with it. We throw this quite easily on the big pile of not being able to learn well, so we only put a pill in it because then you can concentrate on the subject matter. This pill is therefore no longer necessary if the subject matter is offered differently. This is just one example of many.
ADHD as an abnormality
Why do we want to treat every child the same way and make it a deviation when the child would like to learn and/or be treated differently? Wouldn’t it be a lesson for the school and the parents that their method doesn’t always work? A number of times I even read that people longed for the time of the corrective tap.
I wonder how they would like it if they got it themselves because they are not good the way they are. Spanking brings fear and many future problems and really not a positive change in behavior, if at all. Why is being “different” so wrong?
ADHD as a talent
If only we could recognize everyone with the ADHD label as a talent. When we highlight the qualities that show the talent of the person, we suddenly get a completely different picture. Think, for example, of being able to hyperfocus.
The total devotion to a particular activity with full dedication. Some people dream of being able to do this! I myself am convinced that if you bring out the talents, the lesser sides can find a place automatically or with support. Increase the talent, reduce the disadvantages.
Every advantage has a disadvantage. At the moment we are increasing the disadvantage and we are working on it so that we actually increase it even more. It is not surprising that you are put on medication because behavioral therapy does not work or is not even tried.
If you as an ADHD person do not see the talent, it seems like a big burden and you want to get rid of it because it affects you and your environment too. Very understandable that you then reach for medication.
I’d say it’s a waste of talent you’re wasting. There are other ways to deal with the lesser side. You’re not taking a pill because you’re arguing, are you? This is just part of life and the learning process. Learning to resolve an argument the right way is a better alternative. Getting angry once in a while isn’t bad at all.
Why do we often not see ADHD as a talent? Because the talent is often not yet clearly visible and we only see the negative side.
In my experience, you dull the talent if you start working with medicines, for example. In my opinion it would be better to guide the person in discovering the talent. In this way, the focus is on the positive and the negative side will no longer be experienced as negatively.
Need ADHD label?
Many individuals labeled ADHD feel heard and understood after a long search for recognition. Of course, recognition is nice and you could experience the label as pleasant in that way. We find it difficult to do something we don’t understand.
And if you have a well-known label, you can at least say when someone points out your behavior: “That’s because I have ADHD.” You might wonder why that person rejects your behavior?
In addition, Ritalin is often prescribed to suppress the less pleasant sides of ADHD. Because you no longer have to worry about what is going on in your head, it seems to give you peace of mind. But remember that you are pushing something away from yourself.
If you really have a brain abnormality and have to take medication for it, that would make sense. But because this is not the case, you do not recognize yourself. Do you find it annoying that you are/react like this? Then you can be guided in the process to see how you can deal with it. And this really doesn’t have to be on the basis of medicines and in my opinion just falls under your personal development.
The disadvantage of the label is that you are looked at differently. You have ADHD so there is something wrong with you. Do you think there is something wrong with your personality? Can’t you be who you are? Why do you think the other is better than you? Think about this if you like the label.
Does ADHD exist?
When I put everything together, the questions arise whether ADHD even exists. ADHD is a label used to name a group of symptoms together.
We humans find it useful to name everything because then you have an explanation and you don’t have to blame anyone. That is a logical thought, but you still have to take the responsibility yourself however you fill it in and society deals with it. Now I wonder if those “symptoms” are really symptoms. In the sense of “waking up” I would definitely go along with this. Not in the sense of a deviation. Why not? Because we all change.
We are being lifted to a higher frequency level. The persons who experience this very clearly but have yet to find their way in this could fit into the picture of ADHD. In this case, you could see ADHD as a transition phase. If we look at the statistics, we see an 800% increase in diagnosis since the start of the label. Something in me says that soon everyone will have ADHD, only then we will no longer label.
In the sense of an “abnormality”, I don’t think ADHD exists. In the sense of a transition phase in you as a person, you could use the label. But what does it actually do you? In this day and age I would say that it can be beneficial in the school system because it pays attention to the phenomenon that you learn differently.
If I look at it this way, ADHD could be a perfect label for a new school system, although it doesn’t cover the whole load. Unfortunately, of course, the abbreviation stands for something else.
My personal conclusion
ADHD has not been scientifically proven as an abnormality and therefore a psychological term. This interpretation is very broad and therefore the label is quickly attached. Do we need the label to discover our talent and make the negative side more positive? You could say that you can use a name to guide this process and therefore use a label. But yes, everyone is different and with each person you have a different approach.
In addition, the question is what do you want to treat and why? Can’t sit still at school. Do we need to adapt all these children to fit into our current school system?
Or are we going to learn from them and perhaps adapt something to the school system itself? If there are so many children who cannot comply with the school system, it seems more logical to me to do something about it.
We have to learn to listen again to the needs of children and ourselves. Don’t punish the traits because we’re used to a certain straightjacket. If the needs are clear and we behave after that, then there is no more ADHD because we don’t have to scream with our needs in any way.
I see a treatment for ADHD as personality and talent development in today’s society. Not as treating an abnormality. If I were to use the label ADHD then. ADHD as a label will remain as long as society does not change and we are not all on a higher frequency yet.
If someone asks me if I have ADHD, my answer is: “If it existed, I would fit in perfectly, but I have discovered my talents in the meantime.” or “Yes, we’ll all have that later, right?”