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ADHD Philosophy

Finding a unified cause for ADHD is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. There are many causes, and therefore ADHD is not a single condition or disorder, and therefore there is no single cause for ADHD. There are so many widely different theories about ADHD and that shows us the complexity where the “consensus” scientists and physicians are looking for simplicity.

The ADHD theories are discussed under ADHD philosophy, because much of the debate is about what is evidence, and how do we interpret this evidence. This is not pure science, but philosophy. If we can discuss it from a philosophical perspective, we don’t get into a knot mixing pseudo facts with facts.

The philosophy of science rather than “pure” science can shine a light through the confusing ADD-ADHD information fog. Throughout the millennia, science has progressed through a step-by-step process. An insight leads to a hypothesis, which after successful testing becomes a theory. This theory is then in its turn subjected to further testing. What we consider as facts are usually theories that have stood the test of time.

All our beliefs and knowledge start with an unsubstantiated presuppositional assumption. That is an unprovable basic assumption. To understand a subject with so many ADHD theories it is necessary to look at the assumptions from which each different ADHD theory originates.

The diagnostic criteria for ADHD are found in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th revision) and the World Health Organization’s ICD-10. These criteria are descriptions of observable behavior. What makes a behavior a deficit and not a talent is the context, situation or environment. ADD ADHD is a situational condition. Change the situation and the ADHD is not a problem.

The idea that ADHD behavior is a disorder is an historic artifact. The first mentions of it were as Morbid Defect of Moral Control, Morbid Moral Defect and Minimal Brain Damage. This attitude persists to this day. While there are good arguments for the necessity of the "peer-review" process in science, the negative side is that an entrenched paradigm is very difficult to change.

This resistence to change is evident in the ADHD debate. In the peer review process there is a strong peer pressure to conform, making it difficult to get critical ideas and alternative perspectives published in select scientific journals. Only those, whose work has gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. Any challenges from critics outside this “peer group” are dismissed as irrelevant or unscientific.

One example of this is that we can regenerate new brain cells. This peer review process has suppressed this for over a century, despite proof having been presented over the years. Only in the last ten years has this become accepted, yet the idea that we cannot regenerate brain cell is still out there being mentioned in articles in peer-review scientific journals.

The accepted standard diagnoses today are the DSM-IV and ICD-10, which are based on subjective assessments of behaviour; there is no objective clinical test of anything biological causing ADHD. Many different disorders have similar symptoms, like flu and hay fever, and therefore ADHD misdiagnoses are common. A DSM-IV diagnosis is a guide, not a disease and since there are no objective criteria (as with flu and hay fever) other serious disorders blended in with ADHD confuse the diagnosis.

To find the treatment which is the best for each individual requires an acceptance that behaviors do have many causes, especially the ADD-ADHD collection of behavior patterns.

We go further into the different theories in ADHD theories.

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