Parenting Tips Newsletter
Letter from the author
9 June 2003
ADHD and the Meaning of Evidenceby BARRY TURNER BA MPhil
There are some people that are denying that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder exists. They are accused of being irresponsible, causing the condition to be under diagnosed, and even causing the sufferers of this disease to "unwittingly self medicate with illegal drugs or alcohol". If it were not for the fact that the explosion in ADHD diagnosis and treatment with stimulants such as Ritalin (Methylphenidate) represents the greatest medical catastrophe since Thalidomide, these statements would be laughable.
Do the makers of such statements really believe that the millions taking Ecstasy (MDMA), and other illegal substances that are closely related to Ritalin (methylphenidate), at thousands of night-clubs every weekend, are "self medicating" because they have not been "properly diagnosed". How can a "medical scientist" say that a "disease" is under diagnosed (based on what data?).
There is absolutely no reason why those opposed to the myth of ADHD as a disease, need to justify that position. The matter is clear. It is for those who maintain the position that ADHD is a disease to adduce evidence of it. That evidence must be in the form of data collected in experimental conditions that can be validated by objective repeat studies.
Evidence is made up of three elements. The autoptic evidence which relates to material or physical evidence such as chemical residues or fingerprints. Direct evidence, which is that proposed by a witness or an expert, and circumstantial evidence, the weakest form of all. What do the proponents of ADHD have in the way of evidence from these sources?
Autoptic evidence is perceived by the senses and is commonly called 'real' evidence. In disease this evidence is always present. In carcinomas, biopsies will reveal evidence of cell mutation. In cardiovascular disease necrotic muscle tissue, arterial plaques or calcified arteries can be observed. In infectious diseases the pathogens causing the infections can be collected and identified. The evidence is there for all medical professionals to see. Not so with ADHD.
Next, ADHD & Evidence Part 2
ADHD-Report.com: The concerned parents' guide to childrens' attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD)