ADHD is fake?????

Hi everyone,

Firstly, my husband has been diagnosed with ADHD as a child. We have also determined that his mother has it, and possibly his father (which has passed away 20 years ago). We have seen another psychiatrist recently to confirm that my husband is still struggling with Adult ADHD.

Since I've finally recognized that ADHD is what is causing so much problems in my marriage, I've embarked on a journey learning about ADHD. I've specially ordered Melissa Orlov's book The ADHD Effect on Marriage, I reside in South Africa. Everything I've read in this book has been SPOT ON. To me, it's been the absolute best investment I could make in my marriage. 

Now, I am very concerned. I've read articles of studies that have been conducted in children that use Ritalin. It has been confirmed that Ritalin stunts development growth by 3 years. I read another recent article that gives the impression ADHD does not really exist, and is a fake and made up theory. Here is the link to this article:

We are looking to find some medication for my husband to help cope with some ADHD symptoms. He is also struggling terribly to sleep. However, most popular ADHD medication ALL has insomnia listed as a side effect (Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, etc.) which is really not going to help at all. He needs his sleep, he works very long hours. Someone also told me that he should try take melatonin, but I've read very concerning views regarding this. 

I'm confused because I have now all this conflicting information, and suddenly ADHD may not even be a reality. Please may I ask what are your thoughts and could you possibly give me sound advice? 

Thank you.

If ONLY ADHD Were Fake!!!

I WISH ADHD was fake!!!!!  It would sure make my life INFINITELY easier.  I would not give that article even a small bit of your time and attention.  When I first started teaching, I thought it was a made-up disorder, as in "This is a disorder representative of Western civilization, and in particular American culture.  Don't feel like paying attention?  Call it a disorder!  Don't feel like following directions or following through?  Do we have the disorder for you!!!"  

About 3 years in, I realized, "Hey, these kids with ADHD are EXACTLY LIKE ME!!!"  What a revelation!!  This also speaks to the utter lack of self-awareness people with ADHD tend to have.  I see all kinds of kids everyday, and trust me, my ADHD kids are different.  ADHD adults are different.  If there was no such thing as ADHD, there wouldn't be posts by non-ADHDers asking whether it's part of ADHD to leave cabinet doors open with a million responses on both sides how yup, we tend to leave cabinets open and our thought process about not noticing.  About how we can register enough to lift our feet over things, but not register appropriately, that maybe, just MAYBE, we ought to pick those things up.  The inconsistently consistent behavior that frustrates the hell out of both sides.  I could go on and on and on...  

Further, there have been many genes identified, and I can tell you it's rampant on my mother's side of the family.  If it didn't exist, I would not be able to say that parent after parent has said to me, "It's nice knowing that there is someone at school who really GETS my child.  You really seem to get inside their brains."  

I had an ADHD student who would always doodle in class.  Now, I could never, ever catch her off-task even though her head was down.  She always knew where we were.  She would draw stars and hearts (simple, doesn't require any concentration).  She LOOKED like she wasn't paying attention.  Finally, I realized she was doodling IN ORDER TO PAY ATTENTION.  I would not have figured that out if I didn't think like that.  I asked her mom about it, and she was amazed that I had noticed that.  No one else had...

Uh, it's because I live there...

Linsy's picture

Dr Christopher Green's Understanding ADHD

I only wish I had read this book when all this started to blow up years ago. My life was absolutely impossible, with what we now know is three of them in the house, and me trying to cope alone with no family support. I am an optimistic person and put it down to experience, but it seems to me that everyone should read this book. I think my husband felt such a comfortable fit, because it is clearly in my family too. 

Oh it's real

Most ADHD prescription treatments are stimulants but Straterra is not. Also, re the sleep issue it is incredibly important to symptom control. He may find it easier to go to sleep once he is being treated but my husband does seem to have trouble going to bed. He sleeps fine once he's made it that far. I think it has more to do with electronic stimulation than the meds tho. If he shuts down his computer an hour before bed he's much more successful. He's been prescribed Ambien for a sleep aid, which is magic when used. As with all treatments, using them is critical.  

There are also other treatments including meditation, diet revamp, exercise, supplements. Finding what's right for your husband may require a lot of trial and error, but it's worth the effort.

It's a real brain disorder

ADHD is a real brain disorder. That is not to say that it can't be mis-diagnosed.  It is as real as epilepsy or short-sightedness, and cannot be cured (as far as we know now), but it can be managed in most cases.

I found Daniel Amen's books 'Change your brain, change your life' and 'Healing ADD' useful, and so did my ADHD husband (and he doesn't like most ADHD books I've tried on him, so that is saying something).  They're particularly useful for the discussion of medications.

The two most common stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) are (in the non-XR versions) fast-acting and don't stay in the system long.  Typically 3-4 hours. So they can be a relatively 'easy' thing to try - don't like the effect then don't take another one, think it's ok then take one more etc.  Response to meds is highly individual and so it's important to find a psychiatrist who does not believe in 'one size fits all' treatment.  Reading about side-effects isn't going to predict how an individual person will respond, they really have to try the med to know. Statistics about effectiveness and side-effects apply to populations studied and not individuals so if you read that x side effect is reported in 98% of cases then you still don't know whether it will occur with any specific person. So it's important with ADHD meds to remain open-minded.  In my husband's case Ritalin made him snappy and irritable, with Adderall he says he doesn't really notice it working (but the people around him do). But your husband could be entirely different.  So far as sleeplessness, it again is hard to say.  My husband also works long hours, also has historically not slept for long and that hasn't really changed with Adderall.  (Though on Saturday he did fall asleep at 10pm and woke at 7.30 am Sunday, so it can be done even on Adderall, usually he is careful not to take a last dose too close to bedtime).  A competent psychiatrist is really key here. Stimulants can be combined with other meds but it's important to know the effects of the current meds before piling on with the next, and changing combinations can result in steps backwards before going forwards again. so again keep an open mind and try to ensure that the doctor gets accurate feedback.

Hope this helps a bit, good luck.

Don't let anyone convince you its fake

The trick to taking ADD meds and not having sleep problems is getting the dosage right and taking your pills early in the day.

My daughter has been on Concerta or Vyvanse since grade school and never had sleeping issues when she took her medicine when she was supposed to, however, on weekends or in the summer when she slept late she would take her meds late and then sometimes still be wired in the evening.

You husband might even find that he sleeps better once he gets the treatment. For many people with untreated ADHD tend to have trouble sleeping because their minds race with all the things they need to do or have forgotten to do during the day. Taking the medication on time, combined with exercise, helps most ADHD people with their insomnia, but if anxiety is also an issue his psychiatrist can prescribe a low dose of anti-anxiety medication to take at the end of the day. I sometimes take Clonazepam, because I was having nightmares and teeth grinding. Because of the timing I can't tell you if the sleep disturbance was a side effect of my Vyvanse or a side effect of the trauma in my life. In either case, the grinding has stopped now and I find I don't need the Clonazepam very often.

I do agree with the poster who mentioned computer use in the hours before bedtime. When I have sleep problems now it generally correlates with not being willing to put down the computer until right before bedtime.