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To think DR Richard Saul is dangerous and offensive for publishing a book called ADHD does not exist.

(29 Posts)
soul2000 Sun 12-Jan-14 18:38:02

Dr Richard Saul also believes that Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and other neurological conditions are fake.

The problem is you have got people like "Peter Hitchens" continually writing rubbish like this. The likes of Michael Gove probably believes this too ,hence the disgraceful abolition of extra marks for pupils suffering with these conditions.

Children can be verbally excellent, but cannot put thoughts and ideas down on paper. They become frustrated that people cannot recognize how bright there are.

People like Richard Saul believe the reason for not being able to write well is down, to 1. being lazy 2. being thick. They are dangerous charlatans who are trying to take education and help back 30 years.

NinjaBunny Sun 12-Jan-14 18:49:29

Nah, people will ignore it.

People who know about ADHD etc already know about it and the people who don't believe in it will just nod and say 'I knew that'.

It won't change anyone's opinion.

I met a Dr recently who didn't believe in depression/anxiety.

You just have to dodge them and their opinions and get on with it.

Morgause Sun 12-Jan-14 18:50:31

Article here

echt Sun 12-Jan-14 18:51:36

Do you have a link for this?

From the little I've read he appears to be saying that ADHD is an unhelpful catch-all label, often self-diagnosed, that often masks other, real ailments and conditions that end up not being treated.

I can't find references to thickness or laziness in the article I've read.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 12-Jan-14 18:51:52

DS has ASD, I know that, the school knows that and every HCP knows that.

I don't care what some one who isn't involved in his life opinion.

SaucyJack Sun 12-Jan-14 18:57:56

I can't see what's "dangerous and offensive" from the link Morgause has posted?

He seems merely to be trying to deal with symptoms through the use of occupational therapy- as opposed to labelling and drug treatment.

It's a different approach to the DSM- but it's hardly awful.

frumpet Sun 12-Jan-14 18:59:52

I am not sure that he is saying it does not exhist at all , but in America it does seem as though a disproportionate number of children are being diagnosed and medicated .
I dont think you can compare the two countries as the few people i know who have children who have being diagnosed as ADHD have spent years in a system before getting a diagnosis .

echt Sun 12-Jan-14 19:02:06

Oh, that was the article I've just read. Nowhere does he say anything about such people being thick or lazy as you claim, OP.

Basically, what ninjabunny said.

I didn't perceive him as being offensive in the article, on the contrary, he appeared, in what was hardly an in-depth analysis of his book, to have helped several patients.

ouryve Sun 12-Jan-14 19:14:52


Maybe he attracts the wrong sort of patients.

What I do find offensive is his suggestion that I might have wanted stimulants for DS1 to make him easier to handle. I certainly didn't want stimulants, as he is already highly anxious. He takes non-stimulant medication. Yes, he is easier to handle. He is also more capable of learning appropriate behaviours. He also communicates. I won't even add better to that. He just communicates appropriately, rather than be screaming all the time.

Physical tiredness from exercise makes him more hyperactive.
Glasses for his own myopia did not cure him, unlike the patient he saw.
Even the change in diet needed to prevent the migraines he's been suffering with only got rid of the migraines (and eczema).

Agreeing that I don't see thick or lazy being mentioned in the article. I suppose the neurologist concerned would suggest that all of DS1's symptoms are down to his ASD. Lucky for us, we're not likely to be calling on his services at any point in our lives.

Theknacktoflying Sun 12-Jan-14 19:17:19

I think the headlines are misleading.

He doesn't deny that there are underlying physical and neurological disorders it is just unhelpful to lump this all under a single heading if ADHD.

Also, University of Illinios had some study that ADHD diagnosis had increased 66% from 2001 to 2011 (as per the article in the Times 2) just doesn't really sound medically probable.

hiddenhome Sun 12-Jan-14 19:25:53

Very many healthcare practitioners don't even understand ADHD adequately which can lead to wrong diagnoses. It's also highly subjective and often difficult to assess. There's simply too few experts around and not enough understanding.

My eldest son has ADHD and suffers greatly with it. I can see how it's going to badly affect his life as he gets older, but I'm helpless to make much of a difference to his brain function and he's not medicated.

There needs to be a better way of testing for it (brain scans etc.), so more objectivity and less crackpot opinions from children's mental health practitioners who don't know their arse from their elbow hmm

To say it doesn't exist is insanity and also highly insulting sad

hazeyjane Sun 12-Jan-14 19:30:15

The thing is he doesn't just say it is over diagnosed, he says it actually doesn't exist at all. The conditions he thinks it masks are things like, shortsightedness and 'the feeling of life getting at you'.

The 'thick and lazy' accusations are from Peter Hitchens, who also believes that dyslexia doesn't exist (it is the result of poor parenting, poor teaching and low intelligence, dont you know!) who is a vehement denier of the existence of ADHD, and so is jumping for joy that one neurologist has made this statement.

He has just given fuel to the idiots that talk about ADHD being the result of poor parenting and call it 'naughty child syndrome'. Great.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 12-Jan-14 19:33:06

Ok, this may get me flamed but I think he may have a point and I am dyslexic, dyspraxic, adhd, and have Irlans syndrome as diagnosed by an ed psych about 5 years ago, I am 47 years old.

When I was at school I was "thick" the most pleasant word usually used to describe people like me.
The disability exists of course it does, but it isn't confined to one aspect that can be summed up with one particular description. I am told that dyslexia is from the Latin meaning disability with words, or something like that.
How is this helpful at all.
All learning difficulties present themselves in different forms and are individual to a person.
How can lumping them all together with one word, title etc help anyone.
My major problem as a child was spelling, no way was I going to be the "idiot" who couldn't spell and continue being bullied because of it. I did something about it and my dh reckons anybody who didn't know would never believe I had any problem.
No way should we go back to how it was for me growing up, but having seen some of his talks I think he does have a point.

hackmum Sun 12-Jan-14 19:35:59

The problem with all these conditions that are labelled as mental disorders is that they're tautological: you take a group of symptoms and give them a name. But that's all you're doing - you're giving a name to symptoms rather than identifying a cause.

Obviously people find those labels helpful, and they enable teachers to address a child's particular needs. They're much more likely to focus on a child's individual needs if the child has a label such as ADHD or dyspraxia rather than if they simply think of the child as being naughty, clumsy etc. But the way we invent labels for conditions is down in large part to what we think is important and how we divide and group certain symptoms. You often come across children who are difficult to diagnose because they have a number of individual symptoms that don't naturally fall into an already-recognised cluster.

Theknacktoflying Sun 12-Jan-14 19:37:28

I think he is on the side of better diagnosis than dismissing the syndrome.

From what is said, it is reasonable for a top neurologist to question why ADHD is the second most frequently diagnosed long term childhood condition.

echt Sun 12-Jan-14 19:44:26

It would seem that Saul is saying that the current label of ADHD is unhelpful, that it masks a variety of conditions, and that treating it as one disease, with, as is common in the US, one treatment, e.g. Ritalin is not useful.

There will always be patients who present with a general sense of life just not being quite right and looking for a name for their condition, but that's not an attack on real suffering, but a pointer towards better diagnosis.

There will be commentators who leap on what Saul says, no doubt quoting him partially, etc. to support their own agendas about parenting, but that doesn't make his book or his views "insanity" or "insulting".

usuallyright Sun 12-Jan-14 19:48:39

what about aspergers? I know of six kids, including four girls, with aspergers in my dds year (year 6) which seems very high. Is that over diagnosed or misdiagnosed?

cingolimama Sun 12-Jan-14 20:30:28

YABU. OP, why is Richard Saul "dangerous and offensive"? He is a world-class neurologist. I don't get the connection with Peter Hitchens or Michael Gove, except that you don't like them all.

I haven't read the book and nor have you. However, I would be interested in his take, as we have ADHD diagnosis in our family. He's not saying people with ADHD are thick or lazy, my understanding is he thinks that ADHD has become a catch-all syndrome, and that underlying causes (some simple, and some extremely complex) are not being recognised and addressed.

ouryve Sun 12-Jan-14 20:37:35

usually - as with ADHD, Aspergers can be bloody hard to get a diagnosis for in this country. If anything, Aspergers suffers too much from "let's wait and see" approaches, which mean that a diagnosis isn't forthcoming until the child "fails" in some way (eg ends up dropping out of mainstream education with nowhere else to go) or has a breakdown of some sort.

Drugs aside, much of the best practice intervention for various neurological disorders is beneficial to a lot of children, even those who wouldn't even qualify for a diagnosis under the loosest of interpretations of diagnostic criteria.

There are various possibilities for your own observation, usually. The most probable is that the school has a good reputation with children with AS or ASD, so parents choose that school for their children. It's also possible that there's a big IT employer in the area, or similar!

hettie Sun 12-Jan-14 20:52:34

There is a serious and important debate about DSMV and psychiatric diagnosis and although I think Saul is one end of the spectrum it is worth debating. The problem is that there is no objective 'test' for ADHD (or indeed any other psychiatric diagnosis). You can't see anything definitive on a PET scan, nor can you run a blood test, genetic test etc etc nor do we really actually know the mechanism by which psychiatric drugs work (although there are theories). What we are left with is a list of symptoms/descriptions which describe the disease. This doesn't mean that individuals are not suffering from very real and distressing symptoms that effect there lives. What it does mean is that we cannot be absolutely definitive of the aetiology (meaning causes of) of adhd... genetics, environment and brain morphology all seem to play a role, and it would appear that they interact. Quite how and it what way no one is sure of ......yet.... In order to continue investigating this and debating it we need to have people proposing new/alternative or even left field ideas that can be tested, questioned and debated

soul2000 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:03:03

cingolimama. I think Michael Gove believes that these conditions are based on laziness.

Michael Gove must believe this otherwise he would not have ordered the cancelation of the extra marks in exams.

Peter Hitchen is dangerous because he is an author who keeps telling people this rubbish ( i think he might be hiding is own problems)

Morethan. To overcome your problems you must have worked twice as hard as anyone without those difficulties. Only people who have suffered can understand how frustrating and depressing it is to not be able to reach your potential because of people's ideas and perceptions.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 12-Jan-14 21:09:32

Great post hettie

It is becoming a problem that for every diagnosis there is a drug, for every symptom there is a diagnosis and guess what a drug that can cure it and it is all written up in in the DSM which has been highly critisced by many many working in MH

This is just the tip of the iceberg drugs are been given out often so readily when we are unsure how these drugs actually work

This has to be debated, research has to be supported and not for the pharmaceutical companies to be funding the research

echt Sun 12-Jan-14 21:23:07

What extra marks has Gove had cancelled?

LaGuardia Sun 12-Jan-14 21:27:48

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

hiddenhome Sun 12-Jan-14 21:30:16

That's because they don't have adequate health services LaGuardia hmm I doubt anybody there has been diagnosed with all sorts of problems as they're not priority.

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