ADHD: logo with tag Imagine More


Boy playing jenga
Photo Credit: Michal Parzuchowski

There's a rumor going around that ADHD is madeup by Monsanto and big pharma. It could not be further from the truth.

My son was diagnosed with ADHD in 1980. Before his diagnosis, we thought he was accident prone (which is not a real condition! ). By the time he was 5-years-old, he had been to the emergency room several times for head injuries caused by falls. I had mentioned Lance's lack of coordination to our family doctor, but he had brushed aside my concern. "Boys will be boys."

To complicate matters, we found out that Lance also had amblyopia. We thought that was the reason he often ran into doorways instead of through the doors. At the time, ADHD was little known. Most folks thought that learning disabled children - those with ADHD, dyslexia, or autism were mentally deficient.

Then a window fell on Lance's arm. When I brought him to the emergency room, the nurses would not allow me to stay with him during the examination. They x-rayed his arm and determined there was no break. As we were walking out the door, Lance said, "Mama one of those nurses wasn't a nurse."

"What was she?" I asked.

"She was a cop," he replied. "She asked me how I hurt my arm," he continued.

His comment mortified and terrified me. Lance had a pretty active imagination. What he had told her was anyone's guess. "What did you say?" I asked.

He flashed a quizzical look. "I told her the window fell on it."

As a wave of relief washed over me, I thought, "Clearly our boy is more boy than the average boy."

At our next doctor's visit, Lance was spinning on the doctor's stool so fast that he spun right off the stool and into the door. To the doctor's surprise, it happened as he was coming through the door. Finally he saw that Lance's activity was beyond the average range of motion! He sent us to the Mayo Clinic for tests.

Along with confirming the diagnosis of amblyopia, one eye test also pointed to ADHD. Lance could not stay on task. When he had to sit still for even a short time, he would begin to fall asleep. To keep awake, he engaged in physical activity: running, twirling, and/or making noise. He wasn't disruptive on purpose, but his actions often resulted in negative consequences. He ended up either hurt or scolded.

ADHD is the acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Lance's father and I had to go to an advocacy class. The condition was still unfamiliar to most people. Even doctors and teachers had incomplete or erroneous information.

It was an uphill battle to make sure that Lance got the proper medical treatment and education. There was no Ritalin back then. Our doctor first prescribed Dexadrine, which put a hitch in Lance's appetite. Since he was small for his age, we had to make the hard decision to try to help him cope without medication.

One thing for sure, ADHD isn't created by big pharma to sell drugs. Detractors should look at chemical additives and preservatives in our food. Aspertame is one chemical that manufacturers pitched as a miracle sweetener. Herbicides, pesticides, as well as animals fed with a diet rich in growth hormones and antibiotics may also be at fault.

If you have a child who tries to climb the walls, you know that ADHD is a real and horrible condition. Those scoffers, who think they have a cannon in the war against big pharma and big chemical companies, are in the wrong part of the battlefield.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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