If you have done much reading on, or know much about AD/HD, you will come upon this raging dispute about what the diagnosis means. Some will say that it is a valid diagnosis and others will point out that there is no physically definitive existence to substantiate it. Actually, there is merit to both arguments and as with many disputes an understanding of history can solve it.
The dictionary defines two distinct meanings for the term “diagnosis.”
1) To recognize a disease or condition by its outward signs and symptoms
2) To analyze the underlying physiological/biochemical cause of a disease or condition
Historically, medicine had used the first definition because scientific discoveries had not progressed enough to understand the underlying cause. For instance, before we knew about germs, pneumonia was still the term used to diagnose a condition characterized but fevers, sweats, cough often productive of copious sputum and blood, weakness and often causing death. Once germs were discovered, the second diagnosis came into vogue, and to this day the term diagnosis is still used with an added causative term such pneumococcal pneumonia, now that it has been discovered that the bacteria pneumococcus can be the cause.
The brain is the most complicated organ and it took science until recently to define the causes of AD/HD, so now we can move away from the older definition of the term diagnosis and from the older pre-scientific method of just describing the symptoms (distractibility, impulsivity and motor restlessness).
Now we can say without question that the risk factors for AD/HD usually consist of:
1- nutritional deficiencies
3- hormone/neurotransmitter imbalances and
Amassed scientific evidence has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that some combination of these 4 risk factor categories is the actual cause of AD/HD. All that needs to be done is to perform the proper diagnostic tests to sort out who has which causes and treat accordingly. The results of treating the actual causes leads to a cure, just as the discovery of antibiotics to treat germs led to a cures of pneumococcal pneumonia.
Therefore the raging debate about the meaning of a diagnosis of AD/HD is pointless within the context of how the history of medicine has addressed many medical and neuropsychiatric disorders as causative evidence emerged.
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