A Hot Debate: Does ADHD Even Exist? March 20 2014

Over-diagnosis is common in the medical world today.  There are too many patients to be seen and not enough time to effectively review the history, lifestyle, and potential cause of why symptoms may be occurring.  Your problems get lumped into common disorders, where you’re given common treatment plans that may or may not even be effective for your unique situation. Figuring out the right treatment plan or combination of treatment plans is more complex and takes more time than most doctors have available.  Dr. Richard Saul is aware of this and isn’t being quiet about the dangers from over-diagnosing patients.

ADHD Does Not Exist, Saul explains why attention deficit disorders are over-diagnosed and may not even exist.  He’s found there are more than 20 conditions that can lead to similar symptoms of ADHD, each of which requires its own approach to treatment.  

Most doctors may not have enough experience or time to realize the difference between various disorders. Conditions having similar symptoms to ADHD include: sleep disorders, undiagnosed vision and hearing problems, substance abuse, iron deficiency, allergies, bipolar and major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and learning disabilities, to name a few.  Each symptom may need its own approach to solving the underlying cause of external symptoms.  Yet, if you only treat the symptoms then the root cause of the condition is never really fixed.

Knowing that many conditions lead to similar symptoms of ADHD definitely helps explain why diagnosis are skyrocketing and use of ADHD prescription medications are growing at an alarming rate.  It’s no secret that prescription stimulant drugs seem to be the first route that individuals use to help lesson symptoms.  From 2008 to 2012, the number of adults taking medications for ADHD increased by 53%.  Similarly, use of ADHD drugs nearly doubled in young American adults.  And now, more than 90% of children use prescription meds as their initial treatment plan, despite other options being available.  

A detailed review of ADHD’s history may help bring light to someone on the fence of deciding whether ADHD exists in one of every 11 children, and one in every 18 adults.

  • In 1937, Dr. Charles Bradley discovered that children who displayed symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity responded well to a stimulant drug.  The drug was called Benzedrine.
  • In the 1940’s and 50’s, reports emerged about the recreational use of Benzedrine for stimulant side effects.
  • The Diagnostic Manual (DSM) used to diagnose and treat ADHD has changed the description of the disorder many times. 
  • In 1980, the DSM-III introduced a classification for adults with the condition and called it ADHD.  Before that, the disorder was known as hyperkinetic reaction of childhood.  The name was changed to fit a larger population of potential sufferers.
  • In 1990, 600,000 American children were on ADHD medication.  In 2013, kids on ADHD medications rose to 3.5 million.
  • In 2007, 5.6 million adults ages 20-39 were on ADHD medications.  In 2012, the number of adults on ADHD medications rose to an alarming 16 million.
  • In regards to qualifying diagnosing ADHD, the fifth edition of DSM (published in 2013), requires a patient to exhibit five of eighteen possible symptoms to qualify for an ADHD diagnosis. 

Like Saul, experts at Children’s Mercy Hospital have voiced the need to rule out other disorders first, before moving forward with a quick diagnosis of ADHD.  They also acknowledge that treatment always has to go beyond medication.  Implementing behavioral therapy helps to keep doses as low as possible.

At Nature Optimized, we believe in the miraculous power of the human body and know that it can heal itself when given the right nutritional fuels to do so.  Before quickly turning to ADHD medications, try our natural solution of Pure Clarity first. Our formulas have been extensively researched and tested to naturally balance physiological function in the brain. 

The physiological response to taking Pure Clarity is that neurotransmitter production is stabilized in the brain through nutritional support.  Implementing behavioral therapies at this time will reinforce learning life skills and further your treatment plan.  Since finding the right treatment plan for your unique situation is difficult, we offer a safe, effective, and natural solution to help you on your way.

Written by Melissa Warner.



  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Data & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
  • Bradley, C. (November 1937). "The Behavior of Children Receiving Benzedrine". American Psychiatric Association: 577–585.
  • “Statistics - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Among Children.” National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ADHD_CHILD.shtml
  • Saul, R. MD. Doctor: ADHD Does Not Exist.  March 14, 2014. TIME. http://time.com/25370/doctor-adhd-does-not-exist/