Friday, May 5, 2017

ADHD is really not a thing?

This morning, I watched part of a video by Canadian actress Nicole Arbour, who asserts that ADHD and ADD are not "things".  I'm not going to link to the video because it's pretty easy to find it if you Google.  Suffice to say that her take on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder left me puzzled.  If you go to her Facebook page, where the video is currently pinned, you'll see that she says you can't trust doctors because they sold out to big pharma.

Here is a direct quote from her page...

Intelligent people automatically discredit doctors the second they accepted money from the drug companies to push their drugs. You can't trust them as unbiased experts when they are paid to be biased.

First off, until this morning, I had never even heard of Nicole Arbour.  A look at Wikipedia tells me that she's a former cheerleader turned into an actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, etc.  None of the things she does for money have anything to do with healthcare.  Why anyone is listening to her opinions about ADHD or ADD is beyond me.  But her video has gone viral and I see that quite a few people have penned rebuttals, including this excellent response from a mother whose daughter and husband both have ADHD.  Naturally, this lady who deals with ADHD up close and personal has little regard for Nicole Arbour's ignorant opinions on the subject.

I don't have any kids myself and am not practicing the profession for which I was trained.  I don't really have a dog in this fight.  All I can do is offer my opinions.  I have known people with ADHD and I used to see an excellent and compassionate therapist whose speciality was working with children suffering from the disorder.  I know from those experiences that ADHD is most definitely a "thing".  

What I might agree with is that some people may be too quick to seek drug treatment for their naturally energetic children.  And perhaps there are educators or healthcare professionals who pressure parents into giving their kids drugs instead of disciplining them appropriately.  I don't think that's quite the same thing as having a full blown disorder.  I can also agree that many Americans are fond of using prescription drugs and seeking magic bullet cures for some things.  

Nicole Arbour's assertion that ADHD and ADD don't exist, though, is complete lunacy.  She's an entertainer, folks, and it's her job to be provocative.  That's how she makes bank.  I find it very funny that she would accuse doctors of selling out to big pharma and being paid to be biased.  Hello?  People are paying attention to Nicole Arbour because she's spewing controversy.  That's kind of her job, isn't it?  She's selling out to the public.

I don't understand why so many people take advice from people like Jenny McCarthy, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Susan Sarandon, or Nicole Arbour, especially when it has to do with medical conditions or healthcare.  These people are entertainers, not academics.  They use their status as entertainers as platforms to spread their world views.  I would encourage the public at large to consider the source when entertainers get up on a soap box.  Some of what they say may have some merit, but a lot of it may be bullshit.  And they are no more qualified to speak about this stuff than any other person on the street is.

Most entertainers are well-spoken and charismatic, which makes them potentially dangerous sources of information and opinions.  Unfortunately, a lot of Americans will respond to attractive, charismatic, well-spoken, famous people, especially if they say something that confirms their own uninformed opinions.  For example, a lot of folks think all you need to do to get a child to behave is to beat them with a belt.  Maybe that method works sometimes.  What if it doesn't, though?  What if a child really needs Ritalin and it's the only thing that will help them?  A lot of children have successfully used drugs for ADHD.  If it works for them, who are you to criticize?  Especially if you're a fucking actress.

When I was a kid, I had a lot of trouble focusing in class.  I was very easily distracted and daydreamed a lot.  Sometimes my teachers would call on me and I'd be out in left field.  I would try to pay attention and often failed.  Today, I might be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.  In fact, when I was seeing my therapist, he gave me a test to see if I had it.  If I recall correctly, I did score on the low threshold of ADD.  I got through school and was clearly bright, but didn't make the best grades.  Maybe I would have done better if I had had some help.  It might not have even required medication.

I see from Wikipedia that Nicole Arbour has made a number of offensive, provocative videos about people she thinks need her brand of schooling.  She also did one for fat people.


What a stupid bitch.  

Seriously... why does anyone give her more than a minute's time?  I'm done giving her any more time today.  I've got trashy 90s era television to watch.



  1. She's a stupid bitch, all right. Does she have any idea how many doctors take no money whatsoever from drug companies yet prescribe attention medications?

    It reminds me of a Scientologist and actress Juliette Lewis. She was in "Natural Born Killers' or another movie of the genre. I saw a video of her in which she was sobbing over the idea of children being needlessly drugged. I showed the video to my aunt, who had known her as an early teen at some sort of youth drama program. My aunt laughed hysterically because even for a young teen Juliette was considered only marginally functional, and was semi-literate at best.

    ADD and especially aDHD are over-diagnosed. Some parents want to give their kids every advantge and/or want a ready-made excuse for their behavior; some even have dollar signs in their eyes when they seek the diagnosis, hoping for SSI or whichever form of social security it is to kick in a few bucks. Bonetheless, the affliction is totally real, as you said. A person doesn't have to work with children, or even with the public at large, for long to know just how real it is.

    You probably would have benefited as a child from preferential seating, cues arranged with teachers, the use of objects with which you had permission to fidget, and modifications of that sort. Then, had those not helped, the idea of very low-dose medication could have been discussed. Also, was your thyroid checked when you were little? Either high or low thyroid levels can mimic attention deficit disorcers.

    1. My former shrink is a FB friend and specializes in ADHD. I was not surprised to see him offer frowny faces for Nicole Arbour.

      As for my thyroid, no, it's never been tested. My parents thought along the lines of those who think ADD and ADHD are simply behavioral issues caused by poor discipline.


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