I continue to be perplexed, disappointed, and angry about inaccurate, unresearched, and just plain bad reporting about ADHD.
It’s as though the writers, reporters, and personalities who manufacture this garbage have either no comprehension, or concern at all, that what they are doing might actually harm people. How does misinformation harm people?
Would you want to try medication for ADHD if you heard from a seemingly authoritative source that it wasn’t at all researched, and was almost always dangerous? (Both of which are quantifiably not true.)
Would you want to try medication for ADHD if you were told by a seemingly authoritative source that most people who take it don’t like it because it changes their personality? (Anecdotal, and when divorced from any discussion of the problems with unskillful prescription, this is completely useless information.)
Would you be interested in truly exploring treatment options if a seemingly authoritative source told you that having ADHD just means you are gifted and there is no reason for you to learn coping strategies?
Would you want to believe facts if you were told by a seemingly authoritative source tells you that there are none?
All of these beliefs would be acceptable (though still incorrect) as part of a normal, ordinary conversation, but when they are, say, presented in article form in the New York Times, or explored on a radio show, they gain extra weight, especially when the sources of the information are said to be “experts”. Unfortunately, many of these experts seem less than thoroughly vetted (when you compare what they say to the body of research available), or opposing viewpoints are often not presented to round out the dialogue.
I’m sure there are other topics that journalism does disservice to, but I’m not clear as to why it seems to have become almost a sport, to publish and broadcast biased, incorrect and ultimately harmful information about ADHD. Why is this okay? Research advances and still they manufacture information to talk about. People who live with it everyday exist, and yet the debate about its existence rages.
I just listened to a radio show tonight where, when a caller called in to talk about how his daughter was diagnosed after college and tried medication and was really thriving – he was told that she was an exception because most people who try the medication don’t like it because it causes them to question their self-efficacy. There was no research cited to back this up, this was just the opinion of the “expert” and she didn’t seem to find it at all strange that she was offering this opinion as a fact. I sat there with my late-diagnosis, medication-taking mouth agape. Oh I’m sure people exist who don’t like the medication, in fact I know that they do. That’s fine. What’s not fine is tossing fact and opinion in a blender, making something that looks like vomit and then serving it as a gourmet meal.
The public and the ADHD community deserve real information on this topic. We deserve fully-rounded public conversations.