chapter  19
Deficit of Attention Disorder
Pages 6

This paper questions the current practice of diagnosing children who are disruptive, using the label ADHD, and treating them with Ritalin, thus pathologizing and medicalizing common childhood behavior. The suggestion put forward is that these children experience a deficit of appropriate parental attention and love-this is the attention deficit. If it is perceived as “Blaming Parents,” then so be it. Our goal, though, is not to blame, but to assign responsibility and, therefore, point out remedial direction. The authors propose a restructuring of parenting as the appropriate response to disruptive childhood behavior rather than using medication only. Their impression (and perhaps biased but sincere opinion) is that medication is warranted in less than 5% of cases. We include two case illustrations demonstrating these principles. At first glance the scene around the swimming pool is quite typical of a spa in this part of Mexico. It promises its guests, the majority of whom are women between 30 and 80 years of age, a very tranquil, if not boring holiday. Remain more than 15 minutes at any one spot, however, and you are bound to encounter a phenomenon in the form of the spa’s activity director, who leads daily exercises in the pool. She is a petite woman from Manhattan, ageless in her energetic presentation and her name is Esther. She has young eyes and a lot of teeth. Esther will turn 81 this year. Her group usually consists of people who, rather than go for local hikes, stay by the pool or go for massages. Esther is an enthusiastic entertainer and the people who gather around her are infected by her energy. To an imaginative and distant observer, however, it is understood that she only appears to be providing them with energy. In fact, she actually gathers, processes, and reorganizes their energy, subsequently acquiring a lot of it

for herself. This formulation can be compared to a bank, which is in the business of giving people money for “only a small service charge and a little bit of interest.” In fact, wherever Esther goes, she seeks attention in a way that is not imposing but rather appealing, thus hiding the fact that the attention she seeks is a source of energy for her.