Is ADHD a Mental Illness — well…

technically some brainiacs  may want to label it that way.


I just can’t get him to be quiet!

I’m a bit skittish about labeling people.  Labels tend to follow a person for the rest of their  life.

Many parents with ADD/ADHD children have put them on the social security rolls.

When my son was young I refused to do that. I knew if I had, that label would have followed him the rest of his life. I just wouldn’t couldn’t do that to him.

What’s the purpose of labeling ADD/ADHD a mental disease or disorder?

I really don’t know.

I had a young man who has been diagnosed with adult ADD/ADHD,  comment here on this blog.

He was a bit irritated because he felt I was painting my son and other people like my son, as a freak. This young man said–

There are a number of ways to deal with adult ad/hd… and we aren’t just some freaks… the way you illustrate it in your blog. You probably won’t agree with how i feel about your post…I’m surprised my underachieving ability is able to write a coherent thought, but here I am.

I understand; you want a sounding board to scream out your frustrations with dealing w/ adhd people… awesome!

Don’t bill your blog as some place people can talk about adhd and grow when all you do is COMPLAIN.

I’m not doing that. And, I’m sorry he felt as if I was.

I’m writing about how life is living with my son who happens to be ADD/ADHD.

If writing about sleepless nights, loudness, mouthiness, frustration [his], throwing things, breaking things etc… is complaining then, so be it, I’m complaining.

How would this young man feel about the article I just read: some in the psychiatric community want to label ADD/ADHD as a mental illness?


Although my thinking might bring the wrath of the ADHD community down on me, hear me out. To me, it seems appropriate to call ADHD a mental illness. Years ago it might have been reasonable to separate the severely abnormal behaviors seen in the “mentally ill” (i.e. when a person became psychotic) from the lesser abnormal behaviors, seen in those with ADHD, but our new knowledge about the brain eliminates this distinction for me.

I don’t think he’d like what was said here either.

My whole point to this blog is to vent my frustrations. Also, to show how someone like my son acts on a daily basis.

To show that people like him are difficult to have a relationship with.

Like, last night, for me, it was another sleepless night. He had company in my house at 3:00AM which, I didn’t appreciate.

So, I tried to discuss with him how this action was disrespectful.  Well, that was like talking to a remote control in mid-switch.

His mouth blabbered [it’s almost as if he’s speaking another language] as fast as his brain — the dog listens better than he does.

He just won’t put the shut with the up!

I believe that if he would go to counseling and receive the help that he needs life would be better for the both of us.

Right now, I make sure he eats balanced meals and he, on his own, does go out and exercise.

Things are better than they were but, we’ve got a long way to go.


7 Responses

  1. I’m wondering Sylvana, do you have something better to do than nit pick? I’m happy you have such a perfect grasp of the English language, that you can come and nit pick on Blogs written by other people.

  2. My second child is psychotic. His behavior deteriorated from age 3. Manic-depressive cycles,no control, had to be wathced all the time, nothing could get him to control his behaviors. Not punichement not rewards, not taking away priviledes.

    Living with him was a nightmare. It drove me into mental problems. It is difficult to explain what is going on to someone outside has no idea of the extent of the behavior. Through doing some research online I found the label disassociaton disorder. I was able to start from there.

    He had been diagnosed with bipolar but he also had disassociation disorder which I discovered from doing my own research. Nothing can heal disassociation disorder, but the biporal and then full blown psychosis could have been managed if he had taken his medications. He refused to. His behavior became criminal and a physical danger to myself and other son.

    At leastr I knew what was happening once I got a lable. It did not change me, but it verified that I was not crazy and these behaviors could be explained.

    Now he lives in Soledad prison because he refuses to take medical treatment that could at least help the psychosis. But I wantes to just say that labels cna be bad or they can be good dending how people respond to them

  3. Yes, I agree. Labels can be dangerous.

  4. I think labels pigeon hold a person. I was labeled by ‘professionals’ who really had no idea how to help me. I surpassed all their limits they placed on me. Labels serve the professional not the the one struggling to overcome or live

  5. No you are not alone. My sanity has depended on knowing that I was not alone.

  6. I just found your blog and suddenly really did not feel alone….

    Thank you

  7. Sometimes it is hard not to sound like we are complaing when we list off the things that are happening. I think your son is lucky to have you looking out for him, I had to do the ADHD thing by myself and had to listen to all the ways I failed from friends and coworkers. (Diet changes did a lot for me)

    I personally do not believe ADHD is a mental illness. There was a recent study from NIDA authored by Nora Volk, I think it was just published this Sept., about a definite biological source of ADHD behavior. Specifically lower levels of dopamine receptors which lowered a persons response to reward and punishment type feedback.

    While I am sure they will look for a way to increase the amount of dopanine receptors in people with ADHD I think I’ll pass. Despite the problems I have and hurdles I have to overcome I kind of like the idea that I am less likely to easily fall prey to classical conditioning methods.

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