General Question

Maethirion's avatar

What are your views on disorders like ADHD and Bipolar? Furthermore, do you support or disagree with the statement that America is overdiagnosed or overmedicated?

Asked by Maethirion (14points) May 5th, 2009

Do you believe that there is truth behind these diagnoses or do you think it’s more of a conspiracy used by global elites to quiet the masses? Do you agree that drugs can help people with disorders? Are drugs that control how people think or act moral or immoral?

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18 Answers

Maethirion's avatar

I for one have been diagnosed with ADHD and suffer from many of the symptoms. I don’t think that ADHD is a crutch, but an actual problem that many people suffer from. I don’t know that much about Bipolar, except that people with ADHD share some of the same or similar problems with Bipolar people. I do believe however, that ADHD and Bipolar disorder as well as other disorders tend to be overdiagnosed.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t think there is a conspiracy though I do believe there are mis diagnoses because let’s face it, there’s no brain scan that says definitely each time, “this person is bi polar or ADHD”. I’ve lived with ADHD and I have one bi polar relative. Some people have said that ADHD, manic depressive and bi polar are all the same but I disagree with that just out of personal observation and time in the trenches with them. Yes, I believe drugs can help a lot and sometimes save these people’s lives but so much of it is experimentation with dosing and different types of meds, it’s really hard to watch and go through knowing these people’s health is suffering in so many ways, even from the meds. As far as the meds being moral or imoral? I’ve never seen meds actually control how a person thinks or acts, the meds act more as a mood stabilizer and the person acts out from there.

gambitking's avatar

I think, much like the Chimera (or any number of mythical beasts created by a lonely knight and serving no other purpose than to be slain in the otherwise monster-less kingdom).... Our medical and heavily-marketing-funded pharmaceutical industries are constantly sensationalizing medical conditions, almost into trends, thereby evoking opportunities to peddle new cures for the manufactured ailments.

BUT… being self-diagnosed (pending a real doctor) as ADHD, and recognizing the seriousness of it, AND having a very good friend who is DEFINITELY a very real Bipolar sufferer, I can say that those two in particular are serious and should be heeded properly. Mental illness, especially, may elude the black and white of the medical world in terms of validity.

I’m just talking about those crap BS conjured conditions like “RLS”... Restless Leg Syndrome. PLEASE!

adreamofautumn's avatar

I think tons of things are over diagnosed, particularly in children, but i’m not willing to lump bipolar in with that category, in fact bipolar is so frequently un-diagnosed or misdiagnosed that a good number of the deaths related to it probably could have been prevented. However, I do think in all cases of mental/emotional health diagnoses people need to step back and reconsider how quickly and easy it is to get a doctor to say there is something “wrong” with you and then just as quickly throw drugs at the problem. The American health care officials are in the hands of big-pharmaceuticals and it’s hurting, not helping the system.

avalmez's avatar

abuses occur no doubt. but as @gambitking writes, both ADHD and bi-polar disorder are real conditions that usually require treatment depending on the severity of the condition.

my experience with folks that suffer those conditions leads me to believe bi-polar disorder is the more profound.

that said, mental conditions are physiological just as hyper/hypo- glycemia or high-blood pressure are physiological. and just as drugs can be used to treat the chemical imbalances that cause the latter conditions to be affective, drugs can be effectively used to treat mental disorders.

now, are drugs that alter behavior or affect thinking moral? depends on the effect i would say, but generally i wouldn’t consider corrective drugs to be immoral. in fact, not properly treating people with mental disorders is as immoral as not treating a patient with high-blood pressure.

cak's avatar

What I believe is far too many want to assume that if you have ADD/ADHD – then you must also be bipolar, or the suggestion is there. I get highly annoyed when someone suggests that because someone is ADD/ADHD, and they seem “out of control” with their life, well of course they must be bipolar.

They are two different things. I think there are a lot of wrong diagnoses in both categories – both missed and incorrectly diagnosed. It does seem that ADD/ADHD was the trend a few years ago, and now it’s bipolar; however, I would be careful to call either a fad.

My sister is bipolar, she is not ADD or ADHD. She was told, at one point, that she was ADHD…because they go hand-in-hand. Scary diagnosis, if you ask me. She never filled the meds, and is doing much better without the meds for ADHD – she also found a new doctor!

wundayatta's avatar

I totally agree with CAK that the two are not the same thing. Sometimes they are comorbid, but I think that’s rare. By the way, @hungryhungryhortence, bipolar disorder is the same as manic-depression. There is an argument in the community about which is the more politically correct term. Some call it bipolar disorder because it makes it sound more real and medical. Some prefer to call it manic-depression because that is very descriptive about what it is.

The interesting thing, I’ve found, about ADD, is that I work very well with them, and with OCD folk. It might be just me, but my theory is that ADD folk can’t see the forest for the trees, and they need to know what to focus on. Bipolar folk can’t see the trees for the forest. They see the overall picture, and get grandiose ideas about it, but that can’t follow through and make it happen. Put an ADD with a Bipolar, and you get a team that can’t be beat. Or so I think.

Anyway, obviously I believe in the diseases. I believe they are organic. I believe they are tricky to diagnose, and even trickier to treat. I don’t think there are drug company conspiracies to encourage doctors and psychiatrists to find more cases than are really there. These are not terribly interesting issues.

The real interesting issue is the last one. Are drugs that control how people think or act moral or immoral?

Now see, here’s an ADD person spraying around questions, and not knowing which is the important one, and here’s a bipolar person setting straight the priorities. That doesn’t mean I’m right about the priorities, but it’s just illustrative of the interaction between our two types.

I’ve asked this question many a time. It is very disconcerting to take a drug and have it change, not only what you feel, and not just the way you think, but also the thoughts you have! It makes you realize how much your mental states and thoughts are determined by chemicals. It makes you realize that if the technology is suffiently advanced, we may, one day, be able to take a drug in order to become a math whiz, or a diplomat, or a great musician.

If it’s moral to fix a problem, how can it be immoral to enhance an ability? Students already use ritalin to help them study. It helps them stay alert longer (it’s an amphetamine), and it keeps them focused.

So, is it moral to relieve mental pain? Is it moral to save a life by changing the personality and the thoughts a person thinks?

When I first experienced the impact of these drugs, I was a little freaked about it. I wondered who was I? The me before I took the medicine, or the me after? The me after was like the me I remembered, but wasn’t the me who did all those horrible things while I was manic still me? I think so. I hurt a lot of people when I was sick, and I am very sorry for that. If I could have seen what I was doing with the eyes I have now, I don’t think I would have done those things.

I got virtually (as in over the internet) involved with many women, while “sick,” and hurt most of them. Some of them blamed themselves for my behavior, and believed they should have known better than to get involved with someone like me. One even thought she made me sicker. Well, I think I was responsible for all the decisions I made while “sick” but it’s confusing, because I know that if I had been like I am now, I never would have made those decisions. I can’t go back to change the past. All I can say is that I’m sorry, and try to explain as best I can.

Anyway, I struggled with which was me—the sick me or the not-sick me. Harp suggested they are both me, and I think that makes sense. I think that just as we give people vaccines for flu viruses so they don’t infect other people, it is correct to give mentally ill people medicine so they don’t hurt more people. So they can become productive again.

Yes, we are changing their personalities. We are taking away their extreme behavior. We are reigning them in. But we live in a social society. People have to get along. We don’t necessarily do society any favors by allowing such extreme behavior to exist. We pay for that, though. If we reign in the bipolar folk or the ADD folk, who knows how many brilliant ideas we will lose? Ideas that could make a huge difference for society, or humankind.

It is for that reason, that many sick people choose not to be medicated. I think that’s fine. It should be up to us to choose what kind of person we want to be—which of our alternate selves. I choose to be medicated because I don’t want to die; I don’t want to leave my kids fatherless; I don’t want to cheat on my wife; I don’t want to hurt the other people who get involved with me. I think those are pretty moral reasons to be treated.

Darwin's avatar

My son has been diagnosed as ADHD, ODD (Oppositional-Defiant Disorder) and Bipolar. He has very concrete symptoms that cause endless problems in his life. He also has had a full neurological work up which revealed that his frontal lobe and right temporal lobes do not function they way they do in most people, particularly those who aren’t ADHD, ODD, or Bipolar. Thus, there is a test that can at least show where the problem lies, although it cannot define it precisely.

I really hate having to give him medicine so he can function (more or less) at home, at school, and socially. However, if he is unmedicated he quickly becomes unmanageable, begins to hallucinate, and attempts to kill himself. I hope that when he becomes legally adult that he will choose to continue on medication. If he does not, then odds are he will lose job after job, end up in jail, or will kill himself.

These are real illnesses. The fact that amateurs such as school teachers insist on diagnosing children who may be slightly out of the mainstream but not actually suffering from these problems does not take away the reality of these illnesses. They are real, they are probably the result of problems with one or more brain hormone concentrations or production, and they are very often genetic but can be the result of injury.

And we aren’t talking about a person who might be a little down on Monday but fine on Tuesday, or someone who doesn’t like to sit and read, but people whose problems interfere with living a normal life. These include folks who get so depressed for months on end that they cannot even get out of bed, folks who want to learn but simply cannot focus on the task at hand, and folks such as my son who get angry at the drop of a hat and who, if stopped for having a tail light out, will end up in jail for assaulting a police officer.

Is it moral to “change” someone’s personality with drugs? Well, if someone is in so much emotional pain from not being able to be happy or successful, or from not being able to manage their own day-to-day life, then it would be immoral to not offer a medical solution if there is one.

I know my life is difficult since I take care of both a disabled husband and a son who require periodic hospitalization, but now that I take Zoloft for depression (a family trait) I no longer go into a “funk” that might last six months, I don’t cry every single day of my life, and I can actually find moments of happiness every day.

A conspiracy used by global elites to quiet the masses?! Don’t be silly.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are certainly realities – just speak to people who are diagnosed and dealing with them every day. Better yet, ask those who have been diagnosed what it was like before they knew. I do think Americans in particular overreact to small mood changes, but that in no way should discount the disorders on a whole.

I do think Americans are over medicated. For a multitude of problems, both physical and emotional, everyone jumps straight to taking a pill, discounting every other form of healing. I think people would benefit from figuring out what medication is absolutely necessary and which really aren’t. If we weren’t so dependent on pills, would the placebo effect work as well?

buster's avatar

Being Bipolar is real. I have it. I have tried tons of psych meds. Most of them didn’t help me or had bad side effects. I’ve been taken lithium for almost three years. Its a naturally occuring element. I have no side effects from it. I feel the other drugs I took where to new and haven’t been studied enough and gave me weird side effects. These include, depakote, risperdal, haldol, thorazine, zyprexa., geodon, zoloft, tegretol. You got to find a combo that works. I think some doctors get you one to many psych meds at once or people dont take them right and they don’t work.

ADHD In my opinion is overdiagnosed. Kids are supposed to be hyper. In some cases medication might truly be needed. I have used Ritalin or methylphenidate and Adderal which is dextroamphetamine and amphetamine sulfate mixed. Which are commonly prescribed for ADHD. Even a methamphetamine pill called Desoyxn is prescribed to kids. Okay I used those pills for a boost at work or to stay up and study or skate. They jack you up! I couldn’t give them to my kids. They are straight up SPEED. They are addictive. If your a kid and you eat 1–3 adderalls a day all during your school years your kid is a speed addict. I wouldn’t give my kid any of the above drugs. I would invest in a tutor or something else but not those pills i mentioned above. By the way people shoot up aderrall and ritalin.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@buster: While it’s possible to shoot up adderall, most people either break the capsules open and snort the powder or just take the pills as is. And while I agree that way too many kids are prescribed drugs like that, I wouldn’t call everyone who is prescribed them a speed addict.

Judi's avatar

I know that meds help. (I’ve seen it.) But I also think that drug companies have no incentive to find cures. They make thousands off each patient. Finding a cure would cut their income signifigantly. That’s why government needs to be involved in the medical research for cures.

mamabeverley's avatar

@Darwin I am sorry to hear about your hubby and son. It sounds like you have the right to cry any damn time you want to. But, I am glad the zoloft helps.

Here where we are in TN. I have volunterred at school for ages, even for teachers my son no longer has. We have horrible State tests we take every year to grade the teachers for “No child Left Behind”. Because of this, our schools only teach to the test, even giving up on spelling in the 2nd grade because it does not count on the test! They are pounding our kids every day. We only have gym once a week, very little outside playtime until after the test. Recess?? What is recess?? Any kid that is even slightly fidgety gets a letter from some of our teachers that they need to be eveluated for ADD/ADHD. What a bunch of crap. I am definetly ADHA. Have been all my life. I was the only kindergartener allowed to chew gum to I could concentrate. I am sure that there are REAL cases of all things mentioned, but from what I see in my school, teachers just don’t want to be bothered, and forget they are ONLY CHILDREN not adults. Tie anyone to a chair for 8 hours and they are going to fidget!

dynamicduo's avatar

A conspiracy by the global elites? You must be joking! At least I hope you are.

While I agree that America is over medicated in general, and the ease of diagnosing children with ADHD or ADD astounds me, bipolar disorder is very much real. I myself am predisposed to it, it runs in my mother’s side of the family, and I do suffer from a light version of it. However I am extremely reluctant to turn to medicine to solve my problem. It’s not that I’m suspicious about the companies or medicine, I just feel that if I can solve the problem with my willpower and attitude, what need is there to pollute my body with more chemicals? I’ve talked a lot about this with my aunt who has struggled with being extremely bipolar all her life, and one of her regular comments is regarding how she feels like she’s lost a part of herself as a cause of being on the medication. I would prefer to deal with my bipolar issues myself and have a chance of not losing a part of me, before I decide that I have a serious problem and turn to medication for help.

wundayatta's avatar

I have often thought that teachers these days want their kids, especially boys, to get an ADD diagnosis, because they really like orderly classes. Order make it easier on the teachers. Girls tend to be more orderly, and can sit still for longer periods of time than boys generally can. So, if a boy starts fidgeting, or gets out of his seat and wants to run around, this disrupts the teacher (not the class), and so the kid must get a drug to keep him in his seat.

I think it is a minority, a very small minority of teachers who do this. Most teachers, I believe, are quite competent, and can tell the difference between too much sitting, and behavior that might indicate a real problem. Still, the few teachers who are like this are enough to have a significant effect.

@buster: I’m surprised you haven’t tried lamictal yet. I have bipolar on both sides of my family, and all of them (and now me) find lamictal to be very helpful. My shrink was reluctant to try it (he’s very conservative), but I’m not allergic to it, so it helps.

He started me with Lithium, which he calls the “gold standard.” It helped, but wasn’t enough. I’m sure you must know this, but it’s worth saying again. Long term Lithium use can kill your kidney. Two men in my support group are on their second kidney. The problem, I’m told, doesn’t happen until you’ve been using it for nearly two decades. I’m hoping to come off it soon, though. I don’t like the idea of the slow degeneration of something as important as a kidney.

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – Funny thing is that my son’s psychologist also calls it the “gold standard.” Must be something they learn in school.

@dynamicduo – Meds are for when you can’t control the problem otherwise. If you are able to stay on track through willpower or learning skills, then great! That is how everyone should deal with their differences that make some tasks harder for them than they are for others. However for folks like my son who totally fall apart and end up hurting themselves or others, medications are a godsend. Just 30 years ago most of these meds did not exist and there were few alternatives. People ended up in asylums, were given electric shock treatments, were kept heavily sedated, or killed themselves.

I am glad that we have alternatives now, even though prescribing them is still and art and not yet a science.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

we definitely over diagnose and over medicate, but that does not mean that these disorders are invalid. it just means that we try to look for an easy, quick answer to every problem.

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