Like all other mental health conditions, ADHD is real. However, there's something underlying in all mental health disorders that has eluded researchers for eons.
Think about it, when it comes to psychiatric disorders, the patient's behaviors or symptoms are the only factors we are absolutely certain of. We are still in the dark regarding the root cause and specific biomarkers of several mental health conditions, so developing tailored treatment for individual psychiatric disorders remains a major difficulty. This was noted by Peter Fonagy and colleagues in his latest research. They labeled this underlying factor "p".
According to Sigmund Freud, symptoms have unconscious meaning, and emotional suffering often originates from childhood. Contemporary research has also validated that childhood experiences can lead to long-term negative health outcomes. This prompted clinicians to listen to patients talk about their experiences, including childhood trauma, during psychoanalysis.
However, the entire mental health ecosystem still focuses on diagnosing individual disorders rather than identifying what could make us well. Perhaps, if we exposed ourselves (and our kids) to favorable experiences right from childhood, there may be fewer cases of mental disorder diagnosis later in life.
Now, the big question is, "What could make us well?" What's that favorable experience or lifestyle habit that promotes better well-being? What's that underlying factor "p"?
Arguably, the most rational path to answering that question is to identify what's common in virtually all forms of mental suffering: the absence of connection.
You see, connection is fundamental to our existence as humans. We crave it, we desire to feel heard and understood, we yearn to belong and be loved; and for good reason. Being connected to others provides us with feelings of happiness and security and protects us against depression, anxiety, and stress. Social connection is key to coping with depression and many other mental issues.
The absence of connection breeds loneliness and difficulty in communicating with others. And this is the common factor "p" you'll find in virtually all forms of mental illness.
Drawing from that, many psychiatric issues may be a manifestation of that lack of social connection, as Fonagy noted.
And this connection, an innate need of every human, may be what we have to focus on if we wish to promote better well-being and reduce the rate of mental illness diagnoses.