Attention Deficit Society

You know, when I first started going to school nobody had A.D.D.!? They didn’t have A.D.H.D. either! I mean, we had “bad kids” or kids with “no home training” but, none of that was about chemical imbalances or disorders of any kind. I mused in an earlier blog about whether there are more cases of autism these days or whether there are more diagnosed cases of autism. (If you don’t see the distinction I’m going to ask you to read more… not now, but just in general.) I’ve got to ask myself the same question about A.D.D. and A.D.H.D.! Are these disorders actually occurring more frequently or are the kids we used to say had no home training just being properly diagnosed now? Then again, there are the other options that come to mind!

The first “other” option: It’s all a big conspiracy by the pharmaceutical companies to sell their “poison”. I know a couple people who, once they were prescribed Ritalin, evened the fuck out! Which was a result greatly to their benefit. But for every success story, there’s usually another kid who started taking one of those drugs who just crashed into a plateau of “meh”. Boys and girls who barely manage to drag their asses out of bed because somebody, somewhere, decided that them jumping off the furniture was less preferable to them symbiotically bonding to it. Sure the kid running around in circles is a little annoying now… but if he doesn’t run… he doesn’t get tired and sleep at night… and then he can’t concentrate at school tomorrow so you feed him more pills… and he slows down even more… and he stops running altogether… and he gets fat…. and then he gets depressed so he eats his feelings and gets fatter. And let’s just talk about the food. Bad food makes you fat and sick… and then they give you MORE pills to make you skinny and healthy, except the ones that make you skinny make you shit your pants (they call it “an oily discharge”) and the ones that are supposed to make you healthy, make you sick in other ways. Take a moment to listen to the “possible side effects include” portion of the next drug commercial that comes on t.v. (BTW only America advertises drugs on television… I’m serious! It’s weirder than how English is the only language on the planet that calls those spiky yet delicious tropical fruits “pineapples”)  And maybe, just maybe, if you had let the little bastard run around in circles he might have learned to concentrate without the drugs…and he’d enjoy running (you know, just to let off some steam) and he’d be smart AND skinny. Just maybe!

Then there is the second “other” option. Evolution! Stick with me for a minute here. Ever since the invention of the music video, it hasn’t been enough to simply consume information via a single medium. You had to listen AND watch. Then came “Pop-Up Video”. I enjoyed that bit of programming, but if you break it down… it was asking you to listen…and watch…AND read some little factoid about what you were watching and listening to. Then we got introduced to “the crawl” at the bottom of the 24 hour news network screen. And then came YouTube and that was followed by twitter. Your grandparents used to listen to hour long radio plays… now we watch picture in picture t.v. while sharing our opinions about what we’re watching 140 characters at a time! We’ve been sucked into this electronic world of mass communication where it’s not enough to experience it… we must immediately share the experience and just as immediately find out how others have shared the experience. I challenge you, the next time you’re at an event, let’s say, a concert, to look around at how many people are holding up cameras or phones… How many of them are tweeting and recording/uploading video? Set aside, for now,  the complaints that some have raised about people living their lives through a small digital screen as opposed to the full majesty of the moment as it’s actually happening in reality. Instead consider this. Of course the kid can’t concentrate in school without being doped up on Ritalin or whatever. You’re presenting a single voice… slowly scrawling figures on a board. The kid isn’t wired that way anymore! You’ve got to get with the times… You’ve got to present little bites of information and splashy/intricate visuals while singing and dancing just to keep their attention! … On the other hand… that might all fall into the same category of stupid ideas as trying to teach in ebonics.

So, the question for you to answer in the comments is: Is there more A.D.(H.)D. or is it finally being diagnosed properly. And if the answer is neither…which do you reckon is closer to the truth; The drug company conspiracy, or the evolution in the way we process information? Feel free to disagree completely, and posit your own hypothesis!


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