Inventor of ADHD says ADHD is a fictitious disease

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Eloa
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19 May 2013, 12:06 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Quote:
"ADHS ist ein Paradebeispiel für eine fabrizierte Erkrankung", sagte Eisenberg.

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-83865282.html
Translation:
"ADHD is a textbook example of a fabricated disease," Eisenberg said.


Read the Snopes article, as it provides perspective as to Eisenberg's words. I don't think Snopes tends to take positions, just offers the available facts.

Looking at the surrounding paragraphs, he does not literally mean that it is "fabricated" in English, and the German word used doesn't seem to mean what the English word means. I mean, what he is quoted as saying is still wrong, and many researchers and psychiatrists and psychologists have come along after him and developed greater, more in-depth understanding of ADHD. Just being a guy who developed an earlier understanding of it does not mean that he was either more up to date or better informed than others who have put significantly more work into it.

As always there are many people invested in tearing down the idea that ADHD is a legitimate disorder and many more willing to believe that it's not real. The story circulating about Eisenberg's statement feeds both of those attitudes, but does absolutely nothing to help the people who actually have ADHD.


In fact I am not really sure how he means "fabriziert" in this context, but in general it refers to something "made".
But I do not understand his statement fully, as I do not understand how one can define symptoms and collect them under a term and later say it is "fabriziert", but I quoted it as it comes from the Der Spiegel-article the OP refers to.


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19 May 2013, 12:11 pm

scarp wrote:
I think it's hilarious that he is called the "inventor" of ADHD. I picture a funny little man tinkering around in his basement with a human brain or something. Then I think of a long line of his colleagues doing similar work, e.g. the "inventors" of cancer, AIDs, schizophrenia, etc.


Yes. He should be called 'the discoverer of adhd". Except he later claimed he didnt discover anything- but in fact did 'invent' it - ironically.

But (like many above) I also find this hard to believe- that adhd doesnt exist.

My aspergers seems very real. Adhd is a comparable but different condition.
Used to have friend back in highschool and college whom I later was convinced must have been adhd.



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19 May 2013, 12:26 pm

Anomiel wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
I think I would be happier if AS was originally named ''Social and Emotional Deficit Disorder'' (SEDD) or something like that, sorry it's just an example, no need to get offended or argumentative if you do. I just think that fits me better because my social awkwardness and the way I think and feel about things affect my life the most,


I guess you would be much happier with the new diagnosis in the DSM then - "Social communication disorder". That's where all the aspies who aren't as autistic get put in the future.


Good, I hope so. It would be easier to tell people, and it doesn't get stereotypes thrown at me. If I say ''I am on the Autistic spectrum'' or ''I have AS, which is an Autistic spectrum disorder'', people who don't deal with it usually think ''oh, I heard Autistic people are X, do Y, and can't Z, you don't have that at all''. But just saying ''I have Social Communication Disorder'' just kind of quietens people down and I feel that's all they need to know, since my social interaction is what makes life most difficult for me when out mixing with other people. The rest of my symptoms are either at home or in my mind. (Like obsessions for example, I get obsessed but I don't go on about them to friends or colleagues, it's just kept to myself).


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Nonperson
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19 May 2013, 12:36 pm

That is a prime example of a quote taken out of context (and mistranslated).

"ADHS ist ein Paradebeispiel für eine fabrizierte Erkrankung", sagte Eisenberg. "Die genetische Veranlagung für ADHS wird vollkommen überschätzt."
http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-83865282.html

Translation by me and my husband, who is from Germany, closely matching the one on Snopes:

"ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disorder", said Eisenburg. "The genetic predisposition for ADHD is completely overestimated."

He did not say "fiktiv" (fictitious).



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19 May 2013, 12:45 pm

Isn't Der Spiegel the one that took a researcher's statement that it would take "a bold, adventurous young lady" to carry a Neanderthal fetus, and spun that into a story claiming that the researcher was actually looking for someone to do that?

And yes, that was an apt comparison of Eisenberg's so-called "deathbed confession" and the "deathbed confession" of Darwin - neither one actually happened as written...


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19 May 2013, 1:25 pm

DeaconBlues, that was another mistranslation. Der Spiegel didn't say that, but the UK Telegraph did.



FMX
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19 May 2013, 3:04 pm

Fnord wrote:
Verdandi wrote:
Also, Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/adhd.asp

I can't copy paste from Snopes for some reason, but read it. It appears that Dr. Leon Eisenberg did not say ADHD is fictitious. He said it is overdiagnosed. Der Spiegel also published an interview Dr. Jerome Kagan, who referred to ADHD as an "invention."

Snopes has some kind of "Copy-Lock" in effect. No one can C&P their copyrighted articles.


Good find, Verdandi. Yeah, that anti-Copy-Paste thing is annoying, but you can always View Source. Here's the most relevant bit:

Quote:
He said that he never would have thought his discovery would someday become so popular. "ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disorder," Eisenberg said. "The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated."


My reading of is that is that by "fabricated" he doesn't mean that the entire concept of ADHD is fabricated, but that specific instances of it are fabricated. In other words, it's over-diagnosed, as you say.

Also, I think people can get too hung up on whether or not something is a "disease" or "disorder" or some such. More important than those labels is whether it's an innate difference with significant impact. Yes, some children are "just lazy" or badly behaved. Others were obviously born different and can't help it. The trick is telling which are which and some cases are just too close to call.



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19 May 2013, 5:11 pm

Eloa wrote:
In fact I am not really sure how he means "fabriziert" in this context, but in general it refers to something "made".
But I do not understand his statement fully, as I do not understand how one can define symptoms and collect them under a term and later say it is "fabriziert", but I quoted it as it comes from the Der Spiegel-article the OP refers to.


Yeah, I realized. I quoted the paragraphs around it to show how transliteration can be misleading or sometimes nonsensical. You're not wrong to mention it. The writer on Snopes mentioned asking German speakers about the translation, and reported their response as being that he was talking about overdiagnosis. In English, it would certainly mean "constructed," but I am not so sure about German.



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19 May 2013, 5:13 pm

Nonperson wrote:
That is a prime example of a quote taken out of context (and mistranslated).

"ADHS ist ein Paradebeispiel für eine fabrizierte Erkrankung", sagte Eisenberg. "Die genetische Veranlagung für ADHS wird vollkommen überschätzt."
http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-83865282.html

Translation by me and my husband, who is from Germany, closely matching the one on Snopes:

"ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disorder", said Eisenburg. "The genetic predisposition for ADHD is completely overestimated."

He did not say "fiktiv" (fictitious).


Thank you much, this is what I was trying to relate from the Snopes article, but lacked the necessary expertise to do so properly.



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19 May 2013, 5:30 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Eloa wrote:
In fact I am not really sure how he means "fabriziert" in this context, but in general it refers to something "made".
But I do not understand his statement fully, as I do not understand how one can define symptoms and collect them under a term and later say it is "fabriziert", but I quoted it as it comes from the Der Spiegel-article the OP refers to.


Yeah, I realized. I quoted the paragraphs around it to show how transliteration can be misleading or sometimes nonsensical. You're not wrong to mention it. The writer on Snopes mentioned asking German speakers about the translation, and reported their response as being that he was talking about overdiagnosis. In English, it would certainly mean "constructed," but I am not so sure about German.


In my understanding he was not talking about overdiagnosis, but I had to read the article back to fully confirm it.
"fabrizieren" according to linguee has the following translations:
- fabricate
- manufacture
- produce
- concoct

I guess "constructed" is also a synonyme.

To what Nonperson wrote
Quote:
He did not say "fiktiv" (fictitious).
is right, but I fail to understand what Eisenberg is saying in this statement.
I fail to understand, what a "fabricated disorder" is, where he defined the symptoms of it.


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Verdandi
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19 May 2013, 5:39 pm

If he meant it was entirely constructed or fabricated (in the English sense of the word) he would not go on to say that the genetic predisposition is overestimated. It seems to me he is saying that children are being diagnosed with ADHD when they might have other - psychogenic - problems that should be addressed first.

The fact is that this is actually psychiatric best practice. Treat all the problems, not just the easiest problems. He says they're taking the easy way out by medicating and not exploring other possibilities.

I also think he's overestimating this, as many parents (in my experience) seem to be rather reluctant to medicate and look for other solutions before they do medicate. I think that this is done to the point that it is sometimes harmful to their children in that it denies them access to effective treatment.

I also think he's underestimating genetic proclivities in ADHD, as it is one of the most highly heritable conditions known.

The thing is that the interview is in German, not English, so English interpretations of transliterated words can be misleading. This seems to be such a case.



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19 May 2013, 6:10 pm

Verdandi wrote:
If he meant it was entirely constructed or fabricated (in the English sense of the word) he would not go on to say that the genetic predisposition is overestimated. It seems to me he is saying that children are being diagnosed with ADHD when they might have other - psychogenic - problems that should be addressed first.

The fact is that this is actually psychiatric best practice. Treat all the problems, not just the easiest problems. He says they're taking the easy way out by medicating and not exploring other possibilities.

I also think he's overestimating this, as many parents (in my experience) seem to be rather reluctant to medicate and look for other solutions before they do medicate. I think that this is done to the point that it is sometimes harmful to their children in that it denies them access to effective treatment.

I also think he's underestimating genetic proclivities in ADHD, as it is one of the most highly heritable conditions known.

The thing is that the interview is in German, not English, so English interpretations of transliterated words can be misleading. This seems to be such a case.


I think that "constructed" is a good interpretation of his words into English.
I also think that ADHD is a severe problem.
I do not have ADHD, but I have severe executive dysfunction and executive dysfunction is also mentioned as a problem in ADHD.
I think that ADHD can severly impact a person's life.
I still do not understand his statement.


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19 May 2013, 6:14 pm

My major qualm with ADHD is that the DSM diagnosis criteria are nebulous and are extremely subjective compared to other disorder diagnoses. I myself suffered as a kid because of this, getting put on and off medications that didn't help, since I didn't have it.... sustaining kidney injuries (because btw, ritalin is REALLY BAD for people with congenital kidney disease).

The worst part is that as a kid, I found it very hard to convince the adults around me that I didn't have that kind of problem. I knew my ADHD diagnosis was wrong because I had no trouble paying attention. I actually was better at it than most kids my age. Now that I'm older I've come to realize that adults confused my ASD gaze-avoidance and hand fiddling as signs of not paying attention, when in fact I was all ears, and could often repeat back paragraphs verbatim.

You live and you learn though.I am not really in a position to argue the disease's existence, however I do think the criteria are bs


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19 May 2013, 6:29 pm

I think it is a "fabricated disorder" in the sense that a collection of behavioural traits/symptoms were gathered together and given a new name.

So the disorder is constructed out of a set of symptoms. So the only thing new is the name, but naming the set of symptoms brings it to peoples attention.


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19 May 2013, 6:43 pm

Eloa wrote:
I think that "constructed" is a good interpretation of his words into English.
I also think that ADHD is a severe problem.
I do not have ADHD, but I have severe executive dysfunction and executive dysfunction is also mentioned as a problem in ADHD.
I think that ADHD can severly impact a person's life.
I still do not understand his statement.


I don't understand his statement, I only understand what others have said about his statement.



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19 May 2013, 10:55 pm

Joe90 wrote:
He should have called it ''Eisenberg's Syndrome/Disorder'', just like Hans Aspoerger named whatever Asperger's Syndrome would be abbreviated as if it wasn't named after it's discoverer.

I often wish AS didn't have a name like that because it's always felt like I had another second name. I think I would be happier if AS was originally named ''Social and Emotional Deficit Disorder'' (SEDD) or something like that, sorry it's just an example, no need to get offended or argumentative if you do. I just think that fits me better because my social awkwardness and the way I think and feel about things affect my life the most, along with the rest of the symptoms. But ADHD has other symptoms too, it's not just about being hyper and that's it.


It doesn't make too much sense naming AS after one of their symptoms that, besides, doesn't necessarily happen in 100% cases.

It would be as naming tumours as 'Weight lost disorder'.

Fern wrote:
My major qualm with ADHD is that the DSM diagnosis criteria are nebulous and are extremely subjective compared to other disorder diagnoses. I myself suffered as a kid because of this, getting put on and off medications that didn't help, since I didn't have it.... sustaining kidney injuries (because btw, ritalin is REALLY BAD for people with congenital kidney disease).

The worst part is that as a kid, I found it very hard to convince the adults around me that I didn't have that kind of problem. I knew my ADHD diagnosis was wrong because I had no trouble paying attention. I actually was better at it than most kids my age. Now that I'm older I've come to realize that adults confused my ASD gaze-avoidance and hand fiddling as signs of not paying attention, when in fact I was all ears, and could often repeat back paragraphs verbatim.

You live and you learn though.I am not really in a position to argue the disease's existence, however I do think the criteria are bs


At least they knew you had a problem, though it was not correctly identified.

When I was young, in my country, for most of the people, neurological problems had basically only two diagnosis: sane and crazy. When ADHD learning dissabilities started to appear, I found very hard to convince my family that I was not being lazy and indolent. Indeed, I never was able to.


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