Magazine article Psychology Today

What Else Could It Be?

Magazine article Psychology Today

What Else Could It Be?

Article excerpt

WITH ADHD DIAGNOSES ON THE RISE, ONE DOCTOR WARNS: WE MAY BE SLAPPING ONE LABEL ON A LONG LIST OF DIFFERENT CONDITIONS

ADHD DOES NOT EXIST

by Richard Saul, M.D

RICHARD SAUL IS a behavioral neurologist who has offered second opinions to hard-to-treat patients, many of them children, for more than 30 years. Not once has he confirmed an initial diagnosis of ADHD. Using detailed case histories, Saulargues that conditions that present as ADHD are most likely the result of vision, sleep, or mood disorders, to name the most common. Indeed, a child who roams the class while others are copying from the board, or is too listless to respond to a query, might in fact be myopic, sleep deprived, or consumed with anxiety.

But as Saul rules out ADHD chapter by chapter, instead implicating more than 15 conditions from seizure disorders to fetal alcohol syndrome, he puts forth a new argument. Apparently more prevalent than schizophrenia, but less common than Asperger's, is a condition not found in the DSM-V but so germane to Saul's clinical experience that he's created a term for it: neurochemical distractibility/impulsivity (NDI). NDI is caused by irregular neurotransmitter activity, specifically low levels of whole-blood serotonin or high levels of epinephrine/norepinephrine. …

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