Chicago doctor Richard Saul argues in his deliberately controversial book ADHD Does Not Exist, which has just been published in Australia. ”Not a single individual – not even the person who finds it close to impossible to pay attention or sit still – is afflicted by the disorder called ADHD,” Saul says.
Yet he sees people rushing to diagnose themselves with ADHD thanks to its high profile in the media and the fact it often ”makes a great excuse”. He sees doctors diagnosing it ”too easily” in their patients, and prescribing anti-ADHD drugs after asking only a few questions.
”There is an epidemic of ADHD misdiagnosis,” Saul says.
Rather than ADHD, he believes patients are likely to suffer from other conditions – such as poor eyesight, sleep deprivation, bipolar or learning difficulties – of which ADHD is merely symptomatic. He argues that once these underlying conditions are found and treated, the ADHD symptoms ”almost always go away”.
Australian doctors have branded Saul’s claims ”dangerous” and ”sensationalist”, saying there is a wealth of evidence that ADHD does exist. They say doctors here are far more cautious in its diagnosis and treatment than in the US.