MSN UK News Editor Laura J. Snook recently wrote an opinion piece on AD/HD entitled “High on life: The biggest health care fraud in history.” Below is CHADD’s response to Ms. Snook’s misinformation, which we posted on the MSN UK Web site.
AD/HD is Real and the Earth is Round
Laura Snook’s piece is a prime example of the types of misinformation that can be disseminated on the Internet through what are otherwise reputable Web sites. Practically all of the assertions that she makes in this story about AD/HD are inaccurate and completely unscientific.
It is worth noting that Ms. Snook chose to reach back several thousand years to quote Hippocrates about AD/HD, when she could have highlighted the mountain of evidence in recent years from government and academic researchers that shows AD/HD is a real neurobiological disorder that can have devastating consequences if left untreated.
In fact, Ms. Snook did not reference one single researcher who has had his or her work on the subject published in a peer-reviewed journal. Instead, she relied on anecdotal information and urban legends (We’re drugging the Tom Sawyers again!) to make her point. It’s quite interesting that even she unwittingly provides numbers in her story that clearly show that a considerable number of people go untreated.
True, many children can at times demonstrate inattentiveness, restlessness, forgetfulness, and hyperactivity. That is not necessarily AD/HD. But for millions of children these symptoms can become so severe that they can lead to, among other things, school failure, car accidents and even incarceration. Later in life they can interfere with employment, relationships, and general well-being.
As the father of a 17-year-old son with AD/HD and co-occurring challenges, I know the disorder can make every day a struggle for happiness and success. Ms. Snook declares that she will never be a parent, but those of us with children want what is best for them. Professional, community, faith-based, family, and peer supports are helpful to us. Ideological declarations about Hippocrates, on the other hand, are not.
The best in scientific research, including recent study findings, shows us that a combination of medication, behavioral management, parent/child education about the disorder, educational adaptations, and parent training are all important to effectively treating the disorder.
Anyone interested in information that is more recent than vague comments from over 2,000 years ago, can visit the Web sites of the following U.S. organizations and government institutions: CHADD, the National Resource Center on AD/HD, a program of CHADD, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the meantime, it is our hope that Ms. Snook will refrain from relying on antiquated information, urban legends, and emotional arguments to address questions that have been answered by recent scientific studies. We’re afraid she will soon be quoting people from the Middle Ages about the shape of the earth!
E. Clarke Ross, DPA
Chief Executive Officer
Children & Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder www.chadd.org