This post by the infamous (heh heh) Tom Nardone won’t leave me alone.
What DOES it take, to be taken seriously? What will it take for public opinion to be righted in the direction of ADHD existing…and when will the power of faux “ADHD awareness” personalities on the internet be diminished? When will the medical community, even the mental health community become more widely literate in identifying and helping adults with ADHD and its comorbid conditions? What can we do to better disseminate scientific information – or to discredit the baseless supplements peddlers – or both?
It’s frustrating to hear story after story of folks who suspect that ADHD might be an issue for them, only for them to be told that (as in the case of a friend of mine) despite family history, and significant impairments in areas of their lives, they “can’t” have ADHD because they don’t meet an outdated definition. They must simply have bipolar disorder/depression/anxiety/stress…but gee, we can’t quite figure out why you’re really still not feeling better. HMMMMM.
I feel like the information is out there. We know that ADHD is real. We know that adults have it. We know that women have it. We know that people with ADHD who live untreated experience miserable outcomes – many of which wreak negative impacts on other people.
Perhaps it’s the diagnostic criteria? Maybe they just aren’t definitive enough for a large portion of practitioners to feel comfortable with? Or is there another factor?
One pattern that perplexes me, is that general practitioners will prescribe psychiatric medications without referring people to a specialist. On the one hand, this may be beneficial to some folks, who may have actually been turned back at the psychiatrist stage – after all, many psychiatrists are also reluctant to diagnose ADHD in adults. On the other hand…my own general practitioner would not dare to speculate as to the nature or source of my neurological symptoms, and I had to wait two months to talk to a neurologist. She referred another member of my household to an orthopedist, and then to a rheumatologist, for relevant symptoms. However, she prescribes ADHD medications to one of my children. Overall, we have been satisfied with the service we receive from this practitioner…but do you see what I mean? This doesn’t make sense. (Note: I already had a mental health provider before I started seeing this GP, and have maintained that relationship.)
It seems like a major inconsistency in protocols and I think it’s one that happens a lot. What ARE the protocols for a GP in this type of a situation? I have friends whose GPs prescribe all kinds of mental health medications. On the one hand – I love this idea, I mean mental health IS health. On the other hand, general practitioners cannot be expected to be specialists. With the brain being the most important organ in the body, why do we not take the treatment of its ailments more seriously than this?
Why are people with mental health issues getting 15 minute appointments with non-specialists and why does anyone think that this is adequate health care?
And on top of this – once we get past the general practitioners, why do so many specialists in the field of psychiatry still express disbelief at the symptoms of a well-documented syndrome? Even if we are able to get to a specialist – we then have to contend with skeptical specialists? Arrogant specialists? Inept specialists? I’m not sure what to think. I want to think that doctors are an important resource…but even with what I consider good specialists, I’ve had to be persistent, because indeed, treatment is an individual experience and not a perfect process. It has to be an informed and active process for both practitioner and patient. When I witness other people, with less-skilled, less-knowledgeable practitioners, and a lower sense of personal empowerment, having to fight to have their concerns taken seriously…and then internalizing the professional skepticism…or ending up feeling their questions were silly because their specialists aren’t current in the knowledge of their field…I’m very upset by this.
It’s NOT okay.
I expect mental health care that is current, and conscientious.
Wake up, America. How do we fix this? If this is the best that “the best” country in the world has to offer, we’ve got problems.