“ADHD is a difference in cognition, not a disorder, we are attention different, not attention deficit”-Stephen Tonti


Why must we insist that every human behavior that is not shared by everyone must be named officially as a disease and must be medicated? The rise of people who are diagnosed with mental illnesses, especially children, has been unprecedented. One of them is known as Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and according to the National Institute of Mental Health it is defined as: ” a brain disorder marked by an outgoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”. Thirty years ago, ADHD was a relatively small problem in the United States, while today it is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral problem in children. The problem is that ADHD is not diagnosed by any tests but on the basis of the occurrence of certain behavioral problems and observation of them. Then Furthermore, if ADHD is a disease then how can children with ADHD be distinguished from those who are naturally outgoing and rambunctious?

Is ADHD a disorder?

It’s normal for children to could not sit at one place for a long time, to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, or act without thinking. Yet, there’s still debate whether ADHD is a mental disorder or not. Stephen Tonti, for instance, was rejected from middle school when he was only eight years old because he couldn’t sit still on the chair. ADHD is understood as the inability to focus (being inattentive) but it’s much stranger than that, it’s not a lack of focus period, it’s that they have a hard time selecting something and giving their full attention. Something has to grab their attention, pick their curiosity, and then they definitely will hyper-focus. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s bad because they have a hard time to complete things that do not excite them. “Big textbooks with no pictures frighten me, but when something picks my curiosity, I become obsessed and I become hyper-focus” says Stephen Tonti, an individual with ADHD and he adds: “Hierarchy of flair spies have asked me to conform to society’s means and I propose the opposite, I propose let the society conform to me, I implore you to do the same.”

Something has to grab their attention, pick their curiosity, and then they definitely will hyper-focus.

Treatment drugs for ADHD reduce academic performance.

In addition to the treatment of the ADHD, it is about $1 billion a year spending on drugs, and drug manufacturers spend about $2.5 billion on marketing. The money spent on this drugs not only are going to the power-hungry greedy people, they also do have side effects that may include loss of appetite and problems with sleeping. Critics also warn that these drugs (e.g. Ritalin) may reduce activity but it may also fail to improve academic performance in grade-school children. This means that those drugs can lead to decreased intelligence. The parents of ADHD children using these certain drugs also agree: “Ritalin doesn’t take away the problems at all. It just helps him focus on what he’s doing. You can talk to him; he can get his school work done. It still takes him a long time to get things done. He’s still behind, emotionally and socially” (San Diego Tribune, November 27, 1989).

Call them ‘different’ not ‘mentally ill’

ADHD, ADD, bipolar, depression are some of the current labels we put on people who don’t quite fit our standards. It is quite obvious that it is societies that determine where the line between normal and abnormal behavior is. Then why not call these people as ‘different’ instead of someone with ‘disability’ or having a ‘disorder’. We should develop a better attitude towards people with specific abilities, especially children. Imagine a child being labeled as having specific ‘mental disorder’, he or she would think himself as someone outside of the normal society and this may lead to low social skills, low self-esteem, self-confidence and even bringing up new mental or physical problems with himself. Labeling people as who is ‘normal’ and who is ‘abnormal’ are not facts, but just interpretations. I would like to conclude with the saying of Stephan Tonti: “ADHD is a difference in cognition, not a disorder, we are attention different, not attention deficit”


Copyright: Dream Humanity