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Pondering the Treatment Link Between ADHD & Homosexuality

Ritalin AdderallIn an opinion piece that ran in the "Sunday Review" section of the New York Times on Nov. 3, Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry/director of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College wrote that he was in favor of not treating ADHD with prescription medications like Ritalin or Adderall.  He argued that many of the children diagnosed with hyperactive disorder are naturally hard-wired for excitement or novelty seeking and aren't getting sufficient stimulation at school or home.  He posited that these kids aren't defective; rather, they just happen to possess behavioral traits that don't match the expectations of contemporary culture.  Long ago their hyperactivity would have given them a distinct advantage in societies that prized hunting and constant physical activity. 


ElectroshocktherapyThe Times article continued that nearly 11% of kids between the ages of 4 and 17 are now diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder at some point in their lives.  This got me thinking about how medical solutions were also once sought to treat homosexuality.  Fortunately there were medical professionals similar to professor Friedman who came to our defense, claiming that just because homosexuals didn't conform to the norms of society didn't mean they were defective.  In other words, even if it wasn't very prevalent, homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon.  And their outlier status was the reason some societies held homosexual individuals in high regard, anointing them as healers or shamans.


Ritalin2Although stories abound about homosexuals undergoing lobotomies, electroshock, even castration, these widespread medical solutions weren't instituted.  With hyperactive children, however, it's a different story since they're too young to push back if their parents decide to go the pharmaceutical route.  Parents who don't want their children running around uncontrolled brings to mind those individuals, even today, who frown on sashaying, flamboyant homosexuals.







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