Adult ADHD: A Scientifically Invalid Disorder

Commentary
Article

Is adult ADHD validated by research? These authors think not.

ADHD

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FROM OUR READERS

This article is a response to “ADHD Across the Lifespan,” by Richard E. Rhoden, MD.

We thank our colleague for his response to our article, “The Making of Adult ADHD: The Rapid Rise of a Novel Psychiatric Diagnosis.” One comment worth repeating is that amphetamines are “effective” in the normal population, ie, they improve attention in everyone; hence, their purported efficacy in improving attention as reflective of a supposed diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a legitimate conclusion. On that logic, everyone in the world has both ADHD and an anxiety disorder, since amphetamine improves attention and benzodiazepines reduce anxiety in the normal general population.

More broadly, our critique was about the diagnostic validity of adult ADHD, based on accepted diagnostic validators (course, genetics, biological markers, symptoms). Our critique is that such validation does not exist, has not been shown, and, in fact, has been shown not to exist.

Dr Ghaemi is director of the Psychopharmacology Consultation Clinic at Tufts Medical Center and a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr Ruffalo is an instructor of psychiatry at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando and adjunct instructor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.

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