Is Adult ADHD Real? Are You Kidding?

I was surprised to find that the British Medical Journal recently published a ‘head to head’ commentary on whether Adult ADHD was a valid diagnosis.
They had one paper written to say ‘Yes’ – Adult ADHD is a valid diagnosis, and then a second paper written to say that ‘No’ Adult ADHD is NOT a valid diagnosis.


Pinch me for a second…
I just double checked – it wasn’t published on ‘April Fools’.

Is this a real publication?

Yes it is.
The British Medical Journal is publishing a debate on the existence of Adult ADHD in 2010.

I find this shocking and very concerning.
The fact that stigma still exists in our society at large about ADHD makes sense when the medical community itself can’t seem to agree on the existence of Adult ADHD.

Now, let me be clear:

The diagnosis of ADHD can have its problems. And there certainly are issues with how the DSM-IV-TR ADHD diagnostic criteria are applied to Adult ADHD (which will hopefully be addressed in the new edition of the DSM-V).

I’m very comfortable with the scholarly discussion and debate on the issues and problems in the diagnosis and treatment of Adult ADHD (and child/teen ADHD for that matter).We all know that there are issues, and scholarly discussion and debate helps to clarify issues and propel the field forward.

I am not comfortable with the concept that a leading medical journal is publishing a debate on something like the validity of Adult ADHD. This inhibits growth and pulls us backwards.

I see this as an insult and ‘slap in the face’ to our field, and more importantly to all of the people who are bravely fighting against many odds to bring success to their lives despite their Adult ADHD.

I have checked, and I haven’t seen any scholarly debate about whether: breast cancer is a valid diagnosis in elderly women, or whether heart disease is valid in children. I wonder when the BMJ will look at these issues? I won’t hold my breath for those ‘scholarly debates’.

Please share your thoughts and comments below.


Dr. Kenny

Technorati Tags: , , ,


  1. To all of you calling Adderall and Ritalin “meth”, you are simply wrong. Adderall is composed to two types of dextroamphetamine and Ritalin is composed of methylphenidate. These chemical compounds are entirely different from each other. Oh, and Cocaine is not an amphetamine AT ALL. Cocaine is a serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor. For those of you that are going to say “meth” is in a few of these…the prefix “meth” means one carbon atom. Many harmless substances have “meth” in their name. People need to pick up a science book every now and then. If some of you trailer dwellers were to take my 10MG adderall, you would just focus a little more intently on Jerry Springer. It does not cause a high at prescription doses. Drug abusers will abuse anything. Some people even sniff glue. The “giving kicks coke” or “meth” arguement is futile to the educated.

  2. Let me preface this by saying I’m not a doctor or medical professional of any kind, I’m an officer in the Army.

    After reading your post here, I started to question the validity of adult ADHD, if only on the basis that you compared it to the validity of breast cancer? After reading the article you referenced on the Huffington post about the 15 symptoms or signs that an individual might have adult ADHD, I seriously question your professional competence. The symptoms in the Huffington article sound like issues any person might have, but how do they add up to a diagnosable condition? Statistically, lower income individuals are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies, are more likely to smoke. withdrawal symptoms from smoking (or heavy drinking) can also lead to irritability.

    To me this sounds like another “disability” to blame our inadequacies and lack of judgement or lack of control or self mastery on. We are already over medicated and this is just another example of that.

    • brother, I totally understand your statement and how easy of course it can be even most of the time, when it comes to looking at ADD in the basic form, but please..

      keeping it simple and brief.

      #1. it was just one article. not even a full markup in detail conclusion on that particular aspect.

      #2: of course there are and I see it everywhere, good or bad, accurate or just theories, comparing symptoms, asking the possibility that if YES, that could be attitrbuted with another disorder etc ..

      #3: regardless of the first two, we never just go by these anyway for in the least using it as any basis for aiding our comprehesion about the basic fundamentals and then ALSO the real great detail about the ADD ITSELF, and all the FULL official researched data , along with every news and new findings beside the research that is often added to the full diganostic spectrum of the full ADD science..

      THAT is what you really should be focused on FIRST, hehehe.

      I mean before worrying about any of these little articles that may reference to it from symptoms .. sure , we can play that game all day long with any type of ailment really .. but … first to actually know the full sceience on the entire ADD disorder strucuture and how it has really grown immensely in our understanding now better than ever compared to 10 years ago .

      Trust me, once you know that ….. and take the time to properly research in the right areas.. you will see :) – there most likely will be a lot of information, but if it is the proper information in the right place, it will all be worth your while, ..

      so THEN .. you really would not have to care so much about little articles such as this …

      ESPECIALLY as for someone who is looking at this as another tidbit to be used to base your unfullfiled knowledge and “specktacism” about the true nature about how REAL ADD affects the Brain and everything else included . lol . wow.

      but is true, and it goes for many others so, let this just be perhaps another great thinking to try spread and follow for not only you but all any others out there as well :)

      Anyway, Good luck brother.

      P./S , best articles .. been around since the 90s. worth your time if you want articles, lol

      Take Care =-)

  3. Friends,

    I just created a petition: Director NIMH: Meaningful NIMH recognition of ADHD as a lifelong disorder, because I care deeply about this very important issue.

    I’m trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!


  4. I think the cost to the NHS to prescribe ADHD medicines is a big part of things like this. Some health trusts will not prescribe Concerta XL, which I use, luckily my local trust does. I actually got my diagnosis aged 25 from a private psychiatrist as after 4-5 years of seeing various NHS psychologists as a teenager, they came up with a “we don’t know” verdict, they never even tested me for ADHD. My late diagnosis, years of living undiagnosed has led to further issues, depression, social anxiety etc, unfortunately I think that until the NHS has less money problems, things like this will continue, as private psychologists, where patients pay for the medication themselves, seem to have less cases of denying the existence of ADHD. As a sufferer of the condition, i know its real, I know the help medication has had. I also understand that people who don’t suffer might find it hard to understand, not helped by the UK media, who mention ADHD in every story involving a naughty under 18 year old. In my experience most people are surprised when I explain what ADHD actually is, as most think its just kids who can’t control their temper or behave and like to run about and be hyperactive.

Leave a Reply