ADHD and Suffering, the International Consensus Statement

Despite the ADHD denialaists and other fringe thinkers, ADHD is real , and it can be very troublesome:

For most of us who are classifiable as ADHD, life can be pretty hard.

The many disadvantages and harms associated with ADHD are well described and have been thoroughly researched. There is no controversy about the reality of these correlations.

In short ADHD, which causes a lack of the application of attention to moment to reality – is statistically strongly associated with suffering. ( It is associated with lots of good things too- but more about that in another post).

Now here is the tricky bit.

About 500 BC, shortly after his awakening Shakyamuni Buddha (formerly known as the prince Siddhartha Gautama said much the same thing in his four noble truths.We suffer needlessly because we do not attend carefully to the true nature of reality.

( That is a rough paraphrase- but it is good enough for this post).

A good summary of those disadvantages  can be found here:

Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2002 Jun;5(2):89-111.

International consensus statement on ADHD. January 2002.

Barkley RA1.

The full text is here:

( Now there are lots of Barkley’s ideas that I think are just plain wrong– but he is often very helpful and this statement is one example. I have read most of the criticissm of this staement and they really leave me concerned about one thing more than anything else- the literacy of the authors- but that is another story).

This is Barkley’s website- it ids full of practical management tools.

All freely available

Everything is science based- but there is much science of which he is not yet aware- so don’t take what he says about genetics and so forth as gospel. It is not.

However he has been a great contributor and continues to do great good for all of us and I respect and admire him even when I disagree with him.


So yes- ADHD is strongly associated with suffering:

Here I quote heavily (  though I have tidied up some of his bad English 🙂

As attested to by the numerous scientists signing this document, there is no question among the world’s leading clinical researchers that ADHD involves a serious deficiency in a set of psychological abilities and that these deficiencies pose serious harm to most individuals possessing the disorder.

There is no doubt that ADHD leads to impairments in major life activities, including social relations, education, family functioning, occupational functioning, self-sufficiency, and adherence to social rules, norms, and laws. Evidence also indicates that those with ADHD are more prone to physical injury and accidental poisonings. This is why no professional medical, psychological, or scientific organization doubts the existence of ADHD as a legitimate disorder.

ADHD is not a benign disorder. For those it afflicts, ADHD can cause devastating problems. Follow-up studies of clinical samples suggest that sufferers are far more likely than normal people to drop out of school (32–40%), to rarely complete college (5–10%), to have few or no friends (50–70%), to underperform at work (70–80%), to engage in antisocial activities (40–50%), and to use tobacco or illicit drugs more than normal. Moreover, children grow- ing up with ADHD are more likely to experience teen pregnancy (40%) and sexually transmitted dis- eases (16%), to speed excessively and have multiple car accidents, to experience depression (20–30%) and personality disorders (18–25%) as adults, and in hundreds of other ways mismanage and endanger their lives.

Yet despite these serious consequences, studies indicate that less than half of those with the disorder are receiving treatment. The media can help substantially to improve these circumstances. It can do so by portraying ADHD and the science about it as accurately and responsibly as possible while not purveying the propaganda of some social critics and fringe doctors whose political agenda would have you and the public believe there is no real disorder here. To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud. ADHD should be depicted in the media as realistically and accurately as it is depicted in science—as a valid disorder having varied and substantial adverse impact on those who may suffer from it through no fault of their own or their parents and teachers.





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5 Responses to ADHD and Suffering, the International Consensus Statement

  1. It’s tough having ADHD. I have it as well as one of my twin sons. Not a life failure sentence though, you find ways to cope if resourceful.

    • MindBody says:

      It can be a real pain sometimes- but it is somethig you can always improve on.
      My work focusses on neuroplasticity and on positive thinking, meditation, self hypnosis.

      All the ADHD people I know are creative, unconventional, justly rebellious against authority (which is universally abused in our alleged democracies) and also extremely kind ( sometimes to the point of self destruction).
      You are aclassic case in point.
      I like my work as it has created a situation where I have almost completely eliminated neurotypicals from my life 🙂
      I’m not stupid, you know 🙂

      Check this out– I know it will make you laugh:

    • MindBody says:

      BTW- ADHD is a neurophysiological condition, and the faulty neurology can now be addressed. The discipline is called functional neurology. It is mostly done by chiropractors. My own practitioner ( Dr Ian Niven) is the single best health practitioner I have ever met in any discipline. I am doing some training in it myself- but as time goes on- my symptoms get less and less and all that is left is my (wonderful) “attention difference” thinking style.
      I will be writing much more on this over the next few months and also developing a proper commercial website that will help us all access this information as cheaply as possible. The site will have to earn money- as what I have in mind will ultimately need quite a large staff to make it work.
      I am pretty good- but I can’t be omnipresent. Not yet, anyhow 🙂

  2. MindBody says:

    re the “neurotypical” thing_ I had already figured you would.
    You really are just about as unconventional as anyone can get-and THAT is about the biggest compliment I can give.
    i really do love your blog btw- at every level- and really do admire what you are doing and ( if I am right [I usually am- but don’t tell my partner I said that!!!!- or this time I really will die- at her hands
    🙂 ]– why you are doing it.Looking at your blog-I have learned a lot about being a better support and friend to my really special person. Thakyou very much- really

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