ADHD and Fakeness

Two articles on the (un)reality of ADHD:

ADHD, or Childhood Narcissism?

The Atlantic

All too often, forces conspire in the doctor’s office to ensure that any discussion about a child’s predicament is brief, compact, and symptom-focused instead of long, explorative, and developmentally focused, as it should be. The compactness of the discussion in the doctor’s office may even be reassuring to parents who are baffled and exasperated by their kid’s behavior. It is easy to understand why parents may favor a sure and swift approach, with a discussion converging on checking off lists of symptoms, floating a diagnosis of ADHD, and reviewing options for medication.

Public Knowledge, Beliefs, and Treatment Preferences Concerning Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

(via NIH)


The public is not well informed about ADHD. Future media and educational efforts should seek to provide accurate information about ADHD, with a special effort to reach specific populations such as men, nonwhite minority groups, and older Americans.


6 thoughts on “ADHD and Fakeness

  1. Wow I read that article and it really makes me sad about what the media, and parents think. My mom is a teacher and she has noticed many of my symptoms in a few of her students over the years. She of course suggested the parents bring their child in for testing, and they obviously replied with the highly contagious “not my Johnny syndrome”. It’s really sad because these children have continued to struggle as they’ve gone through school, they could have been diagnosed years ago and be excelling in school.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      It may be ADHD, or it may be something else. Some kids may just need a change in their environment. For some, it may be delayed maturation. I’m really against casual diagnosis for people in the position to give medication. I worry both about overmedication and about people deciding ADHD is fake. I had very thorough testing for my own diagnosis. But I have good insurance that paid for it.
      Lots of medical treatment today is “treat the symptom” because that’s easier than getting at the underlying causes, especially if mental health is the issue.

  2. I still have to read the second article, and may have to wait a while to do it, because the first one makes my blood boil.

    How is it possible that a qualified psychologist has such a limited understanding of what ADHD is? How can he profess to believe that assessments are superficial, and that one or two quotes from a parent can lead to a wrong diagnosis? Every single example he writes about is shallow and anecdotal, if not plainly invented. An he completely fails to recognize that a “narcissistic” focus may be perfectly acceptable in a 3 year old among other 3 year olds with the same tendencies, but a sign of maladjustment in a 9 year old.

    Having just completed my own evaluation, and actually read up on the science that the writer so arrogantly dismisses (which really is quite accessible, even for laypeople, so there’s no excuse not to read it), I refuse to believe that narcissism has anything to do with ADHD. My score on the screening test for narcissism, which actually is part of the evaluation process, ha!, was a big, whooping 0! Not even narcissistic enough to function normally, so equating my ADHD to narcissism is decidedly false.

    And having struggled for 4 years to get my daughter evaluated, without being heard, I also refuse to believe that this disease truly is overdiagnozed!

    • I feel mixed about the article. I’m against casual diagnosis and medication. And a casual diagnosis can turn into a label, but all the anecdotal examples of “narcissism” seem like clear symptoms of ADHD as well. If I think of my own ADHD symptoms, many of them can be seen as signs of immaturity and would be normal for an 8 year old, but problematic for someone who is 42. The author acknowledges the existence of brain scan research, but only briefly so as not to be perceived as a “naysayer,” then spends the rest of the article naysaying. I find it more balanced than a lot of articles on ADHD, and it asks a lot of questions, but leans too much toward more old-fashioned explanations about schooling, parenting, and lack of self-motivation.

  3. Pingback: Taking My First Breaths | papillonkissed

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