ADHD; If we don’t focus on it, we will never see it

March 28, 2013

Its Uniqueness is its Calling Card

In contrast to popular belief, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is definitely not over-diagnosed. With less than twenty percent of the 8 million American adults with ADHD aware of the fact that they have the disorder, it can be argued that ADHD is the most under-diagnosed medical condition in the United States; and the adverse consequences  of missing this diagnosis permeate every square inch of the fabric of our nation. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD are disproportionately over-represented the unemployed, addicted, divorced and incarcerated. Try to name one other medical disorder that when unrecognized will have similar consequences for the person affected or for society; I assure you, you will not able to do it. Therefore, this article will dispense with the common misconceptions and get down to the business of seeing what is right in front of our eyes every day; and until we recognize ADHD we most certainly will not effectively treat it.

When I began learning about ADHD about 15 years ago, one of the first things that struck me was the many ways that ADHD is unique. For simplicity, I will count the unique characteristics of ADHD here:

  1. If you have ADHD, you were born with ADHD- of the entire alphabet soup of mental health disorders, such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or BPD (Bipolar Disorder), ADHD is the only one that a person has at birth; all the rest are acquired at a later stage in the life cycle.
  2. ADHD is the most inherited of all the mental health disorders if you have ADHD, there is a 100% chance that either your mother, father or both have ADHD, a 50% chance that your brother or sister also has ADHD and a 50% chance that one or more of your children have ADHD.
  3. If you were born with ADHD but it was never diagnosed or treated, you have nearly a 100% chance of acquiring a second, third and even fourth mental health disorder, such as substance abuse, addiction, Anxiety Disorder and Mood Disorder by the age of 40.
  4. ADHD is the only mental health disorder that has no discrete symptoms; it only has functional impairments, such as academic, vocational and interpersonal failures unlike the Anxiety and Mood Disorders, there is no such thing as an ADHD attack.
  5. ADHD is the only mental health disorder that only involves a single neurotransmitter (Dopamine)-all the other mental health disorders involve multiple neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, GABA and the most famous of all neurotransmitters, Serotonin.

By focusing on these five unique characteristics of ADHD, I will show you in my next post how much easier it is to see ADHD; and trust me, this is something you do not want to miss.

End Post

Mitchell R. Weisberg, MD

Internist, Psychopharmacologist and Personal Physician at

Optimal Performance MD

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One Response to “ADHD; If we don’t focus on it, we will never see it”

  1. anp18 said

    As mentioned, ADD/ADHD can lead to other mental health disorders when the ADD/ADHD is not diagnosed. Is it possible to “cure” the other mental health disorders, in a away, once the ADHD is diagnosed and dealt with properly.

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