The recent documentary from Netflix “Take Your Pills” has received a lot of comment from people diagnosed with ADHD who dispute its argument, calling it one-sided etc. See #ITakeMyPillsBecause on Twitter, for example.
Ironically the documentary makes a valid point, but perhaps not the one the film makers think they are making…
We know that ADHD is far more prevalent than most people think, 3-4% of the adult population, with most undiagnosed.
So it seems quite possible that some people who illegally obtain ADHD medication and then find it improves their performance are likely to have undiagnosed ADHD and be efficiently self medicating!
We should be encouraging them to seek a diagnosis, and medically prescribed medication rather than criticising and criminalising them in programs like this.
Meanwhile, some people without ADHD who misuse stimulant medication may find they have increased focus, but will often find that increased impulsiveness and raised levels of anxiety and other side effects mean that they are not actually more productive overall.
The real outcry should be about the patchy and often non-existent availability of ADHD diagnosis, and the continued ignorance of most professionals about the true prevalence of adult ADHD. We need to change this.
It’s interesting that while the USA is definitely well ahead in its recognition of this, it’s still possible for a TV programme such as this to be made there, and to get it so wrong.