English Composition – 10418
23 Feb 2011
Muddlement of the Brilliant Imbecile “…some moral imbeciles are not only seemingly intelligent, but really intelligent. I have met more than one who have engaged me in a battle of wits, in which I did not win every round” (Mercier 303).
How can someone be smart and dumb at the same time? I am not asking how someone can be smart, but occasionally make a dumb decision; that is normal. The question is basically, how can brilliance and stupidity coexist within the same brain? Now imagine what it must feel like to be the person who has to live with this oxymoron. Furthermore, imagine the confusion and frustrations that the person (the afflicted) must feel on a daily basis. Those are the feelings that live within someone who has untreated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, there is a growing population of professionals and parents who believe ADHD is a myth. My goal in this paper is to address the disbelief and provide the tools needed to make a sound judgment with regards to the existence of ADHD. A psychiatrist by the name of Edward Hallowell is diagnosed with ADHD himself, as well as authored a book (along with coauthor John Ratey) titled “Driven From Distraction.” In his book, he wrote “ADHD is very much a severe disorder when left untreated. But with treatment, it is more of a gift” (Hallowell and Ratey “Driven from Distraction” 45).
In order to achieve the aforementioned goal, and to aid the process in providing the education that society needs to have with regards to ADHD, I have broken this paper into four sections. The first section will provide a foundation by not only defining ADHD, but also explain what it means to those who are afflicted with the disorder. The second section contains the history and the few major stepping stones that results in ADHD being as controversial as it is today. The third section is for the opponents of ADHD, which are the many parents, teachers, and doctors who have specific concerns and thoughts that guide them to their belief. Lastly, the fourth section is where the three previous areas join together to support the thought at the end. This paper will not cover the treatments, or the effectiveness of ADHD treatments. I discuss treatments and effectiveness in a two part paper titled “Option Overload” (Part 1 and Part II respectively). With that said, I now move onto establishing what ADHD is, and what it feels like to be ADHD.
What really is ADHD?
ADHD has been a term of ridicule, a punch line of jokes, and a controversial diagnosis of confusion from its formal inception in 1798, by Dr. Alexander Crichton (Palmer and Finger 66). The controversy centers on its validity primarily due to the fact that it is generally diagnosed in children and has the following general publicized symptoms: Hyperactivity, constantly moving, inattentiveness, lack of both impulse and emotional control, and consistently disruptive (see DSM-IV [APA 1994]: 78-85 for a complete listing of the symptoms and requirements for diagnosing ADHD). Does that not describe typical childlike behavior? Why would it not be expected for a parent of a well behaved child to label the afflicted child as a spoiled brat? These are the reasons why ADHD is the most controversial disorder, as well as the most diagnosed among children, in known medical history (Mayes, Bagwell, and Erkulwater 151).
To begin trying to understand what ADHD is, one needs to first understand how it affects the person who is afflicted. But first, instead of trying to understand why a 7 year old boy is bouncing off the walls, observe the following symptoms of a 33 year old male adult with untreated ADHD:
He is twice divorced, with his longest relationship at 2 years
Every year to this point, and since the age of sixteen, he has received
Between 4-6 speeding citations; 1 or 2 reckless driving citations; at least 1 vehicle