Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (and recently diagnosed victim of ADHD) Katherine Ellison takes on what she calls the “attention-disorder industrial complex.” The A-DIC (I’m not going to keep typing that mouthful of a label) is a $5 billion (U.S.) industry that is adding kids diagnosed with ADHD at the average rate of a quarter-million a year.

Ellison recalls a costly year-long adventure in ADHD treatment techniques that she and her teenage son underwent, and renders a critical look at the A-DIC. Her ultimate conclusion is that the whole thing is bullcrap. And not like you’d expect from any Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraker, she doesn’t go after big pharma, she spends most of her time badmouthing the growing segment of alternative treatments for ADHD.

While going light on pharmaceutical ADHD-treatment regiments (two mentions total, the second of which is praise for her son’s pills as the thing that “helped in a crisis”) she spends most of her time running down the list of brain-scans, neuropsychological tests that she spent her money on. She even labels the treatments with their sticker price. Bitter much?

Ellison is pissed about everything she tried that didn’t work: fish oil pills, megavitamins, chewing gum, exercise regiments, and even something weird about dolphin therapy (wtf?).

Now I’m not entirely sure what Ellison wrote this article for other than to lash out at all the things that didn’t work out for her. In the end she offers four “protips” for dealing with an ADHD child, which all amount to a technique that I (knowing absolutely NOTHING scientific about ADHD, but holding strong opinions anyway) have supported and promoted all along – a technique called “coping.” Ellison’s advices breaks down to a short list:(1) education, (2) health/exercise, (3) sharing information and recruiting the help of others who work with your ADHD child, and (4) patience.

ADHD doesn’t appear to be a limiting disease, if you can manage it with these coping mechanisms. Heck you don’t even have to rely on pills or dolphin therapy it seems to even become a Pulitzer Prize winner while being a sufferer of ADHD.

[Note: For those of you getting a bit of a kick out the header image for this post, YES, it is a nod to editor and co-creator of 8bitdad.com, Zach Rosenberg, whose life “is a Lisa Frank poster.”

Sauce: The Washington Post