Home > ADHD & Gifted > ADHD: history of the “overbalance of fire over water”

ADHD: history of the “overbalance of fire over water”

A-D-H-wut? Oh, ADHD. It means attent…….hey that cloud looks like cookie monster!   


“How many ADHD people does it take to screw a light bulb?”   



       Only one, but it took several light bulbs and several months to get it done because the ADDer…..    

  • Paid for the lightbulb then left it in the shop on the counter.   
  • Dropped another light bulb out of a hole in his/her shopping
    bag didn’t notice and ran over it with a truck.
  • Bought the wrong sort of lightbulb because s/he couldn’t be bothered checking which sort of light bulb was needed cause that’s boring.   
  • Left the light bulb under a pile of clothes for several weeks before s/he got around to trying to put it up.   
  • Couldn’t remember who s/he gave the ladder too so decided they had to go buy another.   
  • Took the old light bulb down put it on the floor next to the new light bulb got distracted by an idea in his/her head.   
  • Ran to get notebook to write idea down idea forgot about light bulb for an hour as other thoughts came to mind, remembered lightbulb couldn’t figure out which was the old light bulb and which was the new light bulb   
      Who invented such an inhuman thing as a light bulb?!



OK, enough with the jokes.  A fellow blogger who I’ve found inspirational, AnGeLa, posed a question about the prevalence of ADHD outside the U.   

“My son was just diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I just don’t understand . . . We pay plenty of attention to him!”   

First, I must give props to Google… I didn’t find http://www.ritalindeath.com/ until page three.  It usually comes up in the top ten links in other search forums.  There are others like http://www.adhdfraud.org/ use similar scare tactics, and of course there are those that claim adhd can be cured or that your child can unlearn ADHD and those that offer free lawsuit information.  One of my favorites is the one that tells parents that ADHD is a result of parents not raising their children by biblical principles for the last 100 years or so   

There was never a reason for creating the labels ADD and ADHD in the first place, unless you include expanding drug-company profits and a plan to drug and debilitate millions of children.

There aren’t enough ‘highly qualified’ medical professionals who specialize in ADHD… not just to diagnose, but to provide ongoing treatment beyond refilling prescriptions.  In addition, the information available to parents who attempt to research ADHD is often questionable, conflicting, and confusing.  Finding a support base is challenging, both in your community or online.   

ADD and ADHD are fake “diseases” created so parents can legally sedate their children. Your child is not special, your child is just a shithead.
~ response on an internet bulletin board

There is a wide misconception that ADHD is a drug company driven disorder, or a result in lax skills in modern parents.  I’ve spoken with people who think ADHD has only been around since the 1980’s.  Most ADHD websites will indicate that ADHD has been a diagnosis, under different names, for about 100 years… but I found a source even older than The Story of Fidgety Phillip (Dr Heinrich Hoffman, 1845).     

Hippocrates  			tried healing ADHD kids 2500 years ago! There is, however, considerable evidence to suggest that ADHD is not a recent phenomenon. 2500 years ago, the great physician-scientist, Hippocrates (493 BC) described a condition that seems to be compatible with what we now know as ADHD.
He described patients who had…. “quickened responses to sensory experience, but also less tenaciousness because the soul moves on quickly to the next impression”. Hippocrates attributed this condition to an “overbalance of fire over water”. His remedy for this “overbalance” was “barley rather than wheat bread, fish rather than meat, water drinks, and many natural and diverse physical activities”.


An interesting description from “The Father of Medicine“, huh?    

A lot of people will make the argument because there’s no blood test or x-ray to diagnose ADHD, that it’s not real, or that it just got made up recently.  But there are a lot of medical conditions throughout history that existed LONG before there was a test to diagnose them, or a way to treat them.  Does that make them any less valid?.     


We’ve had diabetes for hundreds of years, and we’ve had hypertension for hundreds of years, and we’ve had asthma for hundreds of years. . . . We’ve had cancer. We’ve had lots of things for hundreds of years. That doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing. And when you sit back and you allow yourself to be informed by research . . . our studies show that these kids have bad outcomes when we don’t help them.    

So, what’s our responsibility as a society if a child has a bad outcome for untreated asthma? Should we treat it? Yes. If he has a bad outcome for untreated ADHD and we can do something about it, would it be ethical to withhold treatment or say, “Well, just let parents handle it?” I took a Hippocratic Oath that said that if I could intervene and help in a medically responsible way that was safe and effective, that was my job. And that’s my job as a medical scientist, as well.
Dr. Peter Jenson, former head of psychiatry at the National Institute for Mental Health



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