ADHD Stigma: Pressure Not to Medicate
ADHD. What other condition involves such a stigma?
Go without medication, and everybody gets frustrated with your lack of focus, disorganization, and poor memory. Take your meds, and people judge or pity. Forget about the fact that the drugs help you cope. All anybody wants to talk about is how bad the drugs are, and how they're going to make you lose weight, make you gain weight, get you high, or turn you into a zombie.
If your chemo makes you sick, people try to cheer you up. Stick with it , they say. The doctors know what's best. Keep up your treatments! If you need drugs for heart disease or high blood pressure, your family and friends will check up on you. Did you take your meds? It's important to follow the doctor's orders. We want you to stay healthy. If you have ADHD people seem to think it's not a medical condition, and if you talk about medication suddenly they're all suspicious of the doctors and the companies that make the drugs.
Not Taking ADHD Seriously
This kind of reaction begs the question, do people take ADHD seriously? Maybe they think it's all in your head? Suck it up, gather up your willpower, and you can beat it on your own. No need for doctors and drugs.
Or maybe they think you can magically stop having ADHD, if you only follow some popular diet or stand in some really strange pose while grasping a pair of old rabbit ears while praying that the noise in your head will stop and you'll be able to tune in like a “normal person.” You probably just eat too much junk food. My mother's hair dresser's cousin put her kid on an ADHD diet. Or, Just stop eating everything that's red and you'll be cured.
Writing Off ADHD as 'Bad Behaviour'
It's easy to dismiss ADHD if you don't live with it. For years it was written off as just so much bad behaviour, or a lack of parenting skills. There's nothing wrong with that kid a good spanking wouldn't cure! Or, Have you considered family counselling? You just need to spend more time with your kids, and turn the TV off, you know? There are still some people who think that way, even after medical research showed us the brains of people with ADHD are different.
But attention deficits are real . And the anxiety and embarrassment that go along with not being able to follow along in class or get the punch line of a joke are real too.
Coping Without Medication
No, not everybody with ADHD needs meds. Some cope well enough without them, much like some diabetics can stay healthy with diet, exercise and a pill that helps them break down the sugars. Not everyone needs insulin, but we sure wouldn't tell anyone to try to get by without it.
ADHD is a for really, bona fide medical condition. It needs to be treated by a qualified specialist, and yes, sometimes medications are indicated. If these drugs improve the quality of life of a person living with this disability, there's no good reason to withhold them. There's also no good reason to stigmatize a person who chooses mediation as part of a treatment plan. Don't presume to judge until you've walked that mile in your brother's shoes.
Note: This content was migrated from Bubblews by the author
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