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Thread: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

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    Bronze Member Bartmanhomer's Avatar
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    ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    I heard some people say that ADHD isn't really a mental illness. I should know because I got ADHD and I know it's a mental illness because affects the brain. It loses concentration and you're get hyper like crazy. And when you drink energy drinks your hyperactivity skyrocketed into epic proportions. So yeah I believe ADHD is a mental illness. What's your debate on ADHD, do you think it's a mental illness or not?

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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    It's a mental disorder so I guess it's a mental illness. Kind of the same thing, probably.
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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    I heard some people say that ADHD isn't really a mental illness. I should know because I got ADHD and I know it's a mental illness because affects the brain. It loses concentration and you're get hyper like crazy. And when you drink energy drinks your hyperactivity skyrocketed into epic proportions. So yeah I believe ADHD is a mental illness. What's your debate on ADHD, do you think it's a mental illness or not?
    Everything I'm reading calls ADHD a disorder, not an illness. Which of course makes sense because:
    Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

    Also note:
    ADHD is a behavioural disorder, not an illness or a sign of low intelligence.
    Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/...-disorder-adhd (Emphasis mine)

    So I'm going to go with no it's not a mental illness, yes it's a mental disorder. I have no idea on the meaning behind the semantics. Maybe someone else will look that up.

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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    Illness implies that it is acquired, defined by a lack of one's usual wellness. Whereas disorder implies an intrinsic difference or impairment of function. IMHO.

    To address the point of the OP, ADHD is an actual disorder. Maybe one that is over-diagnosed, but it is definitely something that exists. I've seen the differences in brain scans.
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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    A disorder is a disruption of regular physical or mental functions. And illness is a general state of unhealthiness OR a particular condition where the body does not work "normally". A disorder is a more specific type of illness. And, while we are at it, it also meets the definition for disease--"an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors"


    ADHD is a mental disorder. Specifically, it is a medical disorder with a genetic predisposition and a number of likely environmental triggers. Like all conditions without a magical blood test, it can be incorrectly diagnosed...but more often it is misdiagnosed, because there are a number of conditions that have similar symptoms. I tend to be of the opinion that the perception of overdiagnosis comes from a number of things--the problem of misdiagnosis, as well as a number of lifestyle, environmental, and cultural differences of Americans vs people in other countries (where ADHD rates are lower). Many of the things that are demonstrated to alleviate ADHD symptoms are more prevalent elsewhere--more recess during the school day, more time spend outside, more time in unstructured free play at a younger age, etc; plus, a number of the environmental triggers for ADHD are banned in places like Europe (certain pesticides, for one) vs the US.

    ADHD happens because of a difference in the anatomy and physiology of the prefronal cortex--the area of the brain that controls executive function. ADHD brains make and/or uptake less neurotransmitters (one of the reasons why stimulant medications work for most ADHD patients--they increase the production of neurotransmitters). The complication comes in because there are a number of neurotransmitters at work here, and different medications work on different neurotransmitters. The differences in the affected neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter production, uptake, recycling, and feedback is something that is just really getting to be understood, but its part of the reason why there are different types of ADHD and why combined type is harder to treat (also why ADHD with comorbid disorders like OCD or sensory integration disorder is harder to treat).
    Last edited by thalassa; 20 Apr 2016 at 04:50.
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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    I think the overdiagnosis thing is kind of debatable as well. It's actually widely underdiagnosed in girls and women, because they don't tend to exhibit the stereotypical symptoms associated with the disorder:

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archive...rls-with-adhd/
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb03/adhd.aspx
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...-women/381158/

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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    I don't see how this is a debate. It's classified in the DSM as a disorder. It's called a disorder in its very name (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). So, it's a disorder.

    Also, your assertion that people who have ADHD get "hyper like crazy" is a stereotype, not a consistent. From what I understand, ADD isn't a proper diagnosis anymore: it's all rolled into ADHD, and it's either attention focused or hyperactivity focused. I have the former. I have a lot of trouble concentrating. My thoughts are jumpy. I get agitated if I have to focus on one thing aa time. Alternatively, I get so hyperfocused on things that I don't notice anything else around me. Saying that it has anything to do with increased energy drink consumption is absurd. Just because people are consuming uppers like caffeine, doesn't make them get ADHD any more than consuming alcohol, which is a downer, makes them get clinical depression.
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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    I wanna see everyone's phd please. I can't listen to people on the internet.
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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I wanna see everyone's phd please. I can't listen to people on the internet.
    I think you would mean MD...

    Ain't got one, but I sure have a kid with ADHD, a husband with ADHD, a brother with ADHD, and a all-you-can-read access to medical journals (thanks mom for being a pediatric nurse practitioner).







    The DSM-5 lists 3 types of ADHD--inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined type. Specifically:

    People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:

    1. Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
      • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
      • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
      • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
      • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
      • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
      • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
      • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
      • Is often easily distracted
      • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

    2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
      • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
      • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
      • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
      • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
      • Is often "on the go" acting as if "driven by a motor".
      • Often talks excessively.
      • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
      • Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
      • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

    In addition, the following conditions must be met:


    • Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years.
    • Several symptoms are present in two or more setting, (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
    • There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.
    • The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (such as a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder). The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder.

    Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:

    Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
    Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
    Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention were present for the past six months.
    Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
    Changes in the DSM-5

    The fifth edition of the DSM was released in May 2013 and replaces the previous version, the text revision of the fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR). There were some changes in the DSM-5 for the diagnosis of ADHD:

    • Symptoms can now occur by age 12 rather than by age 6;
    • Several symptoms now need to be present in more than one setting rather than just some impairment in more than one setting;
    • New descriptions were added to show what symptoms might look like at older ages; and
    • For adults and adolescents age 17 or older, only 5 symptoms are needed instead of the 6 needed for younger children.

    Reference

    American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Arlington, VA., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

    source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

    There's also an ICD9 code (314.9) for ADHD-NOS (not otherwise specified)--
    (there's now an ICD10, so I don't know how this may have changed)
    314.9 Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified
    This category is for disorders with prominent symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity impulsivity that do not meet criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
    Examples include:
    1. Individuals whose symptoms and impairment meet the criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type but whose age at onset is 7 years or after
    2. Individuals with clinically significant impairment who present with inattention and whose symptom pattern does not meet the full criteria for the disorder but have a behavioral pattern marked by sluggishness, daydreaming, and hypoactivity

    http://www.psychrights.org/research/...DHDinDSMIV.pdf
    There is also at least one specialist proposes more subtypes than this-- 7 types of ADHD are proposed by the (controversial, and (IMO) rightly criticized) Dr. Daniel Amen...Dr. A claims to be able to diagnose kids (and adults) purely by brain scan---yes, there are brain differences, but not like what he is proposing (its just not that simple), and the brain differences that have been established in rigorous scientific studies don't quite work out the way he claims they do. Also, some of the "7 types" of ADHD (the ones beyond the 3 commonly accepted ones) look an awful lot like ADHD with some of the common comorbid disorders, like ODD/CD, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
    Last edited by thalassa; 21 Apr 2016 at 04:12.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

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    Re: ADHD: Mental Illness Or Not

    Man I love it when you go all techy..makes my whole body go all fuzzy and tingly
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