As Black History Month comes to a close, I thought, what better time than now to shed some light on black mental health conditions--an issue I find all too common in the black community. Now I can't speak for all black people in the world, but I can speak from my own experience and the experiences others have openly shared with me regarding black mental health.
Is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a gift or a disability? There is much debate about this topic. People feel very strongly about this ADHD issue, perhaps because the question is tied to our identity. In my opinion, there is no easy answer, and it very much depends on the circumstances.
Medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not as easy to obtain as people seem to think. Doctors consider stimulants to be some of the most effective ways to treat ADHD. However, in the United States, these stimulants are controlled substances that are regulated by federal law, particularly the Controlled Substances Act (1970). Recently, I bumped up against some of these regulations and spent the day traveling around in search of the right medication.
I think it was Jessica McCabe of "How to ADHD" who referred to herself, someone with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as an ADHD late bloomer. I have found numerous forums where ADHDers wonder whether (or assert that) they are late bloomers. There are several reasons why people with ADHD might be considered late bloomers and there are reasons why being an ADHD late bloomer is not such a terrible thing.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) myths and misconceptions are impacted by our culture. Culture does not create ADHD, but it does affect its definition, treatment, and perception. Studies show that ADHD is a fairly universal phenomenon, but varying cultural practices mean ADHD is more visible in some countries than in others. Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD also differ within each country due to medical access, cultural beliefs, and biases. As someone raised (mostly) in the United States by American parents, I would like to describe some of the ways in which American ideals can shape views, myths, and misconceptions about ADHD.
Renaming attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on my mind because, in honor of ADHD Awareness Month, I binged on lectures by ADHD-expert Dr. Russell Barkley. He points out that “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder” is a poor term for the condition, and he is not alone in thinking that renaming ADHD is a good idea. Fellow ADHD-specialist Dr. Edward Hallowell claims that “ADHD is a terrible term,” and many with this condition agree, myself included. I started to wonder about the history of the term, if there were alternative names for the disorder, and if renaming ADHD could reduce ADHD stigma.
To be fair, the Stanford marshmallow study is itself not stupid. It is the way that it is reported that often leaves me frustrated. In the 1960s and ’70s, Stanford psychologists conducted a series of studies in which researchers placed a marshmallow (or another treat) in front of a child. They told him that he would receive a second treat if he could wait for 15 minutes while the researchers left the room. Follow-up "marshmallow" studies revealed that the children who could wait longer tended to be more “successful” than those who did not. Unfortunately, this is the kind of narrative people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) know too well, and it is the kind of test they often "fail." ADHD and self-control is a big deal.
I’m going to start my first post off on my soapbox regarding a pet peeve of mine: mental illnesses or conditions like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD) being used as adjectives to describe behaviors, personalities, or people. You know, things traditionally identified as nouns. This post is not the first someone has written about this – and it won’t be the last. It merits repeating.
I went to the worst doctor all time a few months ago because I was running out of my medication for my adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and couldn't see my regular doctor up in Baltimore. When I was brought to his office by his admin, he didn't get up from his chair to greet me and he was on his cell phone. Once off his cell phone, he said his name (forgetting to mention how lovely it was to meet me) and then had me tell him why I was there. At one point, he asked me: "Does your wife buy into your mental illness?"
I've got my computer tuned to one of those fun websites that let's you watch a ton of television and I'm watching season four of Top Chef. There is one person on this season that has got me wondering how we, those of us with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), look to others. I have zero idea whether he has adult ADHD, but it sure does seem like it. What do I mean by that?