The New York Times Untangles the Myth of A.D.H.D., Makes it More Confusing

Perri Klass, Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University, wrote an article in The New York Times titled “Untangling the Myths Behind ADHD”. She argues that A.D.H.D. is not a product of the digital age but rather a predominantly genetic disorder that involves neurotransmitters, circuits, and below-normal activity in the brain’s frontal lobe. The article, however, concedes there is still a lot about the A.D.H.D we don’t know:

“There’s a lot we still don’t know,” said Bruce F. Pennington, a professor of psychology at the University of Denver and an expert on the genetics and neuropsychology of attention disorders. “But we know enough to say it is a brain-based disorder, and we have some idea about which circuits are involved and which genes.”

So it’s brain-based but the predominate cause, genetics or ‘environmental factors’, remains unknown. Scientist are presenting research that supports bothsides. Luckily, we do know what the disorder isn’t:

A.D.H.D. is not a metaphor. It is not the restlessness and rambunctiousness that happen when grade-schoolers are deprived of recess, or the distraction of socially minded teenagers in the smartphone era. Nor is it the reason your colleagues check their e-mail in meetings and even (spare me!) conversations.