5:30 AM. I’m awake reading because I couldn’t go back to sleep from our 3AM visit from the 3 year old. I hear the door to his room open.
The door to our bedroom sticks a bit, but it flies open like it’s a home invasion being executed by the world’s worst burglars.
He stands before our bed.
In the darkness, we hear a low, guttural growl.
“I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE AND EAT ICE CREAM”
He leaned in closer, and then head-butts my wife.
“I. WANT. TO. GO. OUTSIDE. AND. EAT. ICE CREAM.”
Mrs. Nostrikethat is trying to take this seriously, but I have completely lost it and I’m cackling like a kleptomaniac at a convention for nearsighted jewelers.
It turns out he had a nightmare involving his scooter, being in time-out, and not getting ice cream while everyone else did.
Me too, buddy. Me too.
I don’t want to de-legitimize anyone’s struggle with illness. We do a disservice to ourselves, though, if we do not continue to refine our diagnostic tools as well as our treatment tools.
This Wednesday, an article in the New York Times reported that from 2008 to 2012 the number of adults taking medications for ADHD increased by 53% and that among young American adults, it nearly doubled. While this is a staggering statistic and points to younger generations becoming frequently reliant on stimulants, frankly, I’m not too surprised. Over my 50-year career in behavioral neurology and treating patients with ADHD, it has been in the past decade that I have seen these diagnoses truly skyrocket. Every day my colleagues and I see more and more people coming in claiming they have trouble paying attention at school or work and diagnosing themselves with ADHD.
And why shouldn’t they?
If someone finds it difficult to pay attention or feels somewhat hyperactive, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder has those symptoms right there in its name. It’s an easy catchall phrase that saves time for doctors to boot. But…
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My wife and I have an unspoken agreement… I am allowed to rant and rage at the kids and lose my temper, because sometimes a point needs to be made and someone has to be the deranged lunatic. Her job is to come to me afterwards and let me know if I’ve gone too far.