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Misunderstanding and misdiagnosis

We often hear stories about people being told they can’t possibly have ADHD for an assortment of reasons that quite simply indicate the person making the diagnosis is ignorant or prejudiced.

First of all we must add the proviso that we understand that mistakes can be made and there are some people diagnosed with ADHD that may not have it, but our examples here are people who we have actually met in person.

Ms E. was told she didn’t have ADHD by a clinic that had, only a few months before refused to see her because they didn’t have anybody there that was qualified to treat it. There hadn’t been a change in staff so let us hope that someone there had done a lot of learning in a short time. The report said:

Ms E. does not have ADHD because she can focus sometimes.

Obviously whoever had done the learning had been away the day that hyperfocus had been dealt with. ADHD is slightly misnamed (but an expert would know that) as it doesn’t always come with the H – hyperactivity – and it isn’t so much a lack of focus as poor voluntary control over focus. Dopamine, prefrontal cortex yadah yadah yadah, if you are an expert you should know all this, if you don’t know this then you should pass the patient on to someone who does.

Mr B. was told he couldn’t have ADHD because there had been an article in The Times suggesting there was no such thing. This was by a qualified medical doctor. It is a little below the standard of modern evidence based medicine to be getting your information from opinion pieces in newspapers.

But there is some hope. A person with ADHD who clearly can focus sometimes told us:

I managed to get 3 degrees without treatment although I had serious problems because of ADHD. Getting qualifications wasn’t one of them but there were many others. Don’t worry, it is a very different story now after treatment.

He asked to remain anonymous so we’ll call him Dr S. Yes, Doctor, he’s a fully qualified medical doctor and not only that, a psychiatrist and he’s out there using the knowledge he has to help others. And there are a lot of people who do know about ADHD. So come one, let’s stick together and seriously, we can make a change.

 

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