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ADHD Philosophy – Inconsistency of Science

If there is one thing that science is consistent in, it is changing facts and theories regularly. The ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) diagnosis is long overdue for a thorough revamp. Much of what we learned at school and at university has changed.

That is what we need to keep in mind that when science tells us something is fact, when it really is the present state of knowledge. This is especially important with conditions such as ADHD.

Science works with generalities, but our health, the health of our children, our spouses, other family and friends are not generalities, but specifics. We live in a complicated world and need to educate ourselves in areas that affect us directly. We need to be able to decide what to believe in the mass of facts we drown in these days and not be intimidated by anything presented in the guise of science.

Facts such as the age, size and mass of the universe, have different figures attached to them than I remember from school. The mass of the universe is now 20 (twenty) times that, which I was taught at university, that’s including the mass of “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which makes up 95% of the mass of the universe, even though we still cannot detect it and do not know what it is. When I was at school dark matter was not even know to exist. A few things like the speed of light and gravity are still the same, which helps me to keep my sanity.

Now scientists have discovered that our own home galaxy is 50% heavier and 75,000 miles per hour (120,000 km per hour) faster than we thought at New Year 2009. Then the fact books said we were only doing 495,000 miles per hour (800,000 km per hour). That is 253 kilometres per second, up from 220 km/s. But before we tear up our old astronomy books, we need to consider how accurate science is today, as opposed to tomorrow. Other researchers have come forward with a variety of speeds between 180 km/s to 270 km/s. That’s quite a spread.

Now, with our greater speed and added mass, our galaxy is more likely to collide with the Andromeda galaxy, from the greater gravitational pull we now know our galaxy has. We are hurtling towards each other at 100 Kilometres per second. That’s if the astronomers have calculated our trajectories correctly. Maybe tomorrow we will be told our galaxies will merely pass by each other in the darkness of space.

What has this to do with ADHD? In spite of what many, who are considered mainstream or consensus experts on ADHD say, in the DSM-IV (Diagnostics and Statistics Manual 4th Revision) there is no absolute scientific explanation in it for what ADHD is or what the causes of ADHD are. However, they talk and write as if this is the final word in solid science.

In the spring of 2012 a new version of the DSM, the DSM-V, is due. There will be some radical changes in the ADHD specifications. Even though there have been great leaps in understanding ADHD since 1994, when the DSM-IV was released, we are still stuck with the now archaic DSM-IV standard.

As a retired chemist with recently diagnosed adult attention disorder(sic) I personally find it frustrating that many psychiatrists and doctors I meet have no idea of the research in the subject over the last 20 years. These are licensed health professionals, but they cling doggedly to the DSM-IV and questionnaires. Maybe that is what they learned when they were at Med School, whenever that was.

Unraveling the ADHD mystery is complex and no one individual or one branch of science can find the answers. Researching the different aspects and facets of ADHD involve disciplines as varied as psychology, neurology and biochemistry with philosophy as a guide.

Our understanding of ADHD is still in the research stage, and is as yet far from established truth. The debates are not only taking place in the popular press, but are ongoing in scientific journals. These debates cover topics from what constitutes a diagnosis, through reviews of the different treatments, to what ADHD actually is. To understand the main theories behind ADHD we need to look at them from a philosophical perspective.

These are covered in the following articles:

The theory of ADHD as the disorder. This is the consensus position. This theory has followers from many fields, such as, biochemistry, neurobiology, psychiatry and psychology.

The theory of ADHD as an over diagnosed condition, base on subjective attitudes. This theory states that individual doctors, psychologists and teachers decide if a child has ADHD or not, based on subjective behavioral critera, since there are no medical or physical tests, such as blood tests, chemical imbalances, brain scans or neurological signs to verify and diagnose ADHD.

The theory of ADHD as a fraud developed by certain companies within the pharmaceutical industry such as Ciba-Geigy, now Novartis. ADHD medication is a hugely profitable business.

The theory that ADHD is normal childhood behavior. This theory criticizes the DSM diagnosis as a haphazard collection of disorganized and inconsistent criteria, which are symptoms of other disorders, which are not normal childhood behavior.

The theory that the need for classroom discipline led to the invention of ADHD disorder to regulate conduct in the classroom and make nonconformist children to conform. This regulation of behavior focuses mainly on hyperactivity and the controlling the hyperactive child.

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