Netflix’s “Take Your Pills”: Anti-Science and Mean

Netflix Take Your Pills

Netflix’s Take Your Pills, produced by Maria Shriver and daughter, is more shock-umentary than documentary.

Nobody has time for this nonsense. Yet, we all have a lot to lose by failing to speak up. The blogosphere and the clickbait-o-sphere brim with praise for Take Your Pills.

Please: Do not imagine that access to ADHD treatment is a given, that such films have no negative effect.  03-2023: Note the months-long shortage of Adderall and other stimulants. Do we see politicians clamoring for equity, as we did we access to insulin? No. Do we see outrage that junk generics were pushed through by the 2017 White House Administration’s FDA chief, leaving a lasting trail of misery? No.

Look at many other Western countries where adult ADHD is not even on the radar (often, pridefully so), especially in single-payer national healthcare systems. The U.S. could devolve to that, too, if disinformation campaigns sway public opinion.

Thank You For Sharing

The film’s clear aim is to provoke, to further confuse a largely science-illiterate public. “Driving us back into the closet,” says my friend Meg, a schoolteacher diagnosed five years ago at age 35.

Moreover, this “Adderall epidemic!!! and ADHD over-diagnosis!!!” theme constantly rears its ugly head. In this post, I shed light on the reality.

The producers and Netflix call it a documentary. That would imply balanced reportage. You’ll find none of that in Take Your Pills.  Most legitimate documentaries don’t shovel shame and stigma on people burdened enough. (A professional documentary critic agrees; see below.)

“I agree with some of it,” a young woman with ADHD responded to my Facebook post about this. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. You cannot cherrypick edible fruit from a toxic tree.

Sure, the filmmakers toss in a smidgeon of valid points. That serves to ensnare people ignorant to the complexities on this topic.

But therein lies the trap: the filmmakers’ vainglorious claims of addressing “an important societal issue” come in a transparent and treacherous Trojan Horse.

Their true agenda is clear: No more ADHD diagnoses and no more medications.

This Post Covers These Points:

Yes, this post is long. But I want to cover as much territory as possible, briefly.

The Highlights:

1. The producers are Maria Shriver and daughter Christina Schwarzenegger.

Christina was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6. Neither one seems to know a thing about ADHD. Except for having it. What else do they have? Gobs of money, access, an ax to grind, and perhaps a career to make.

2. You can watch a video interview, below, where they clearly reveal their ignorance.

3. Contrary to popular belief in the ADHD community, “Neurotypicals” are not the enemy of ADHD awareness and legitimacy.

In my observation, it is a subset of people with ADHD, locked in their own denial and egotism, who pose the biggest threat.

4. Professional documentary critic Christopher Campbell, an ADHD skeptic until his son was diagnosed, takes this film to task. Excerpt and link below.

5. You’ll find a list of points about the complexities of “stimulant abuse”—including the fact that most of the people “abusing stimulants” probably have ADHD.

6. Two studies examine the “diversion” problem (diversion is when a prescribed medication is used by someone other than the patient for whom it is prescribed).

7.  I provide several links to substantiate or expand my points.  I hope they don’t distract you!  Maybe try reading the post fully and then go back to the links.



Still Curious?  Watch This Interview Instead

So, before you take the bait and watch it on Netflix, please think about the consequences. Every time we “vote” for  skewed ADHD propaganda, in a film or newspaper, we say, “Give us more of this, please.”

(I’m convinced that the New York Times has been tapping into public hysteria about  ADHD for years—simply because it drives web traffic like little else. That’s why I don’t share the links.  And, rest, assured, Alan Schwarz, the former New York Times sports reporter who campaigned on the paper’s front page for a Pulitzer on the backs of people with ADHD, figures prominently in this film. I’ve heard he is now a high school math teacher.  Don’t know who he is?  Read these posts:  Dr. Thomas E. Brown Responds to NYT’s Alan Schwarz and The Truth Behind “10,000 Toddlers Medicated for ADHD)

Hey, but don’t take my word for it!  Check the videotaped interview below. It will tell you all you need to know about the filmmakers’ agenda.  Shriver and Schwarzenegger are interviewed by Kara Swisher (wearing sunglasses).

Did She Actually Say That?

A friend watched it and said, “Did that woman actually say, ‘Why does a 16-year-old need executive function?’ Good lord!”

Why yes. Yes, she did.

Swisher also proudly disclosed that she “declined” suggestions of ADHD medication for her school-age son. Instead, she let him run around outside.


And. Then. This. Wait for it.

“Well, he’s just not going to do well in school. He’s a tall rich white man in America. I think he’ll be fine.”

Let that sink in a minute.

I’ve seen that attitude dominate in San Francisco, where Swisher lives.  It’s a city is known for its high rates of substance abuse. Meth, opiates, and cocaine are the drugs of choice (if you don’t count startups and IPOs), according to The Most Commonly Used Drugs in San  Francisco.  In a future post,  I share research showing the reduced risk of developing a substance use disorder among children treated early for ADHD.

 So-Called Neurotypicals Aren’t The Enemy

Let’s be very clear:  Neurotypicals didn’t bring us this film.   That’s the word commonly used to describe folks who don’t have ADHD and are widely blamed for ADHD denialism. “They don’t understand what it’s like to live with ADHD,” some complain.

Here’s a little secret:  In my long and close observation, no one publicly denies or obfuscates the facts around ADHD more than someone who has ADHD, is “in denial,”  is narcissistic, and has something to sell.

The producers are Maria Shriver and her daughter, Christina Schwarzenegger. Reportedly diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, Schwarzenegger reports taking Adderall through high school and college.

It’s a bit confusing, but it seems the only reason she quit was that her liver enzymes were elevated.  “And no one told me this could happen!”

With all that Shriver/Schwarzenegger money, her parents a broadcaster and a one-time governor, no one ever even asked about the full range of stimulant choices?  Strattera, the non-stimulant, is actually more likely than any stimulant to create issues in the metabolism pipeline.  But they did not provide details.

Anyway, according to them, everybody is abusing Adderall on college campuses. Everybody.  How do they know this?  Unclear.  But one gets the feeling that, whatever lip service to ADHD’s legitimacy they might give elsewhere, any use of a stimulant is an illegitimate use in their eyes.

Is Everybody Abusing Adderall? Truly?

Shriver particularly points to the dangers of more young women taking stimulant medications—”cause they want to do start-ups.”  What a rarified world they live in.

My female friends with ADHD work as teachers, nurses, therapists, engineers,scientists, and every other occupation. Consider this post from the aforementioned Meg: On Trying to Swim Blind: ADHD and Medication

Where Meg writes poetically of horizons expanding and clarity sharpening when she is diagnosed and begins stimulant medication, Shriver sees only disaster and addiction. A national calamity.

There’s more.

Sneak Preview Highlights:

Here are some interview highlights:

—Schwarzenegger claims she was diagnosed at age 6

It’s generally acknowledged among experts in the field: Only the most severe cases of ADHD in girls are diagnosed that young.

—Shriver says her daughter was a “creative learner”

“But teachers will come to you and say ‘medication’ and I said ‘no no no.’ But there is a lot of pressure when the child falling behind.”

In other words, all the usual tropes….” schools are not designed for creative learners.”

And the world is designed for “creative learners”? Only if you are rich and privileged—and not so severely impaired by ADHD that you end up broke, addicted, and in jail.

Ah, but no, Schwarzenegger did avail herself of a stimulant.

—By the first year of high school, Schwarzenegger was taking Adderall

She is careful to stipulate: This happened “only after extensive testing.”

Then onto college, where she discovered the “Adderall epidemic.”  She attended the highly competitive and costly Georgetown University. Was that the best choice for someone with an alleged long history of struggling in school?  A “creative learner”?

—Christina reports a hard time “getting off” of Adderall

Schwarzenegger reports trouble functioning after stopping the medication. Shriver views that as proof of stimulants’ addictiveness.

But wait. As one friend with ADHD points out, “Well, duh, when you stop the medication, ADHD symptoms return. Maybe you forgot what that was like!”

For a vivid example of an unplanned medication “holiday,” check out Katy Rollins’ essay, ADHD Drug Holiday—Or Horror?

I just have to wonder why, with all their money and access, the Schwarzenegger-Shrivers settled for Adderall, that most problematic of stimulants. It works best for a minority of people. But for most, it causes more problems than it solves.  Did the family do no research? Sure seems that way.

He Watched It So You Don’t Have To

Christopher Campbell is a freelance film editor and critic and the founder of the documentary review site Nonfics.

At The Thrillist website, he opens his incisive review of Take Your Pills (Side Effects of Netflix’s New Doc “Take Your Pills” Include Rage and Misinformation) this way:

One of my favorite jokes is about a man goes to the doctor seeking “smart pills,” only to walk out with a sample of what turns out to be rabbit droppings.

When he returns to the doc and points out that the “pills” are actually poop, the doc says, “See, you’re getting smarter already!”

Netflix’s new documentary Take Your Pills is the 90-minute equivalent of the “smart pills.”

This From A Reformed ADHD Skeptic



56 thoughts on “Netflix’s “Take Your Pills”: Anti-Science and Mean”

  1. Thank you for your article! I went looking for something after watching this so-called documentary. Made me so mad. I couldn’t believe there was so much wrong medical information seeing that it was produced in 2018. When they claim that there’s no evidence for early brain traumas or encephalitis corresponding to ADHD, they’re just technically wrong. There are many scientific papers I’ve read linking neuroinflammation and neurodevelopmental disorders. As an adult with ADHD who had encephalitis as a two year old with a developing young brain, it was actually personally hurtful to hear the man in “Take Your Pills” just state that so flippantly.
    Health fear mongering and misinformation is spreading like wildfire these days. It’s scary.

    1. I’m happy you found validation here, Steph.

      It’s just unconscionable. People with a “platform” and millions of dollars, and they choose to pile a larger burden on people with ADHD.

      I’m getting pretty weary of the increasing lack of judgment….about anything.

      take care

  2. I was curious after Jessica from How to ADHD mentioned the show, so I just watched it and was quite disappointed, but fascinated about how the names came about. So some history aspects of it.

    I am glad I googled about the “documentary”, I guess I wanted to find put what other people thought of it as it did not sit well with me, especially what Eben said before the show ended. ADHDers cannot just switch on their focus whenever they need it, doesn’t work like that…so many things come into play, there are things we can do to help keep one on track, stratgies that can help, but sometimes it just isn’t enough because other areas affect ones mental health which can snowball into some entity which can topple over and become failure.

    I am so glad I came upon your post, it reiterated the information I had already researched continuously and reading up on ADHD. My child is currently seeing a local GP which he has a referred her to a child psychiatrist. We also suspect a few of our kids may also have undiagnosed ADHD. It is costly, but if we can get them on medications and therapy, maybe itay help them navigate their studies and life a bit better.

    Thank you for your post, it is a shame the said doco focused more on the negativity of the medication. The prevalence of drug abuse whether prescribed or illecit, it is good to know and be educated on it, but the show should balance it out and educate on viewers on the good side of how medication if taken in controlled and monitored will give benefits to people with ADHD the ability to fit into this world and judgemental society. Life’s tough already without a disability thrown into the mix.

    I apologise for my long post.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi El,

      I’m glad you found my post.

      Honestly, I remained stunned that a family so privileged — with a daughter who took Adderall to get through college — would seek to make money and more fame by promoting this swill.

      There IS a problem with the Adderall prescribing, as I noted in the article, but it’s not what this not-a-documentary projects.

      Best of luck with your ADHD journey for your family. It is SO important to self-educate. The mental health field is a huge mixed bag when it comes to ADHD expertise (many “licensed professionals” don’t “believe” in it). So I definitely encourage you to get the facts for yourself so you can better self-advocate (and not waste money on neuropsychological testing, etc. that is not diagnostic for ADHD).


  3. Telling people to not watch and only instead listen to your view point is replicating the exact thing you criticize? In the wake of the opioid epidemic and there are plenty of references more recent than the 2012 data you cite showing exactly why we now have shortages of stimulants. The companies are rightfully afraid. These are schedule II controlled substances, same as fentanyl, oxycodone and morphine. There is NO data showing safety of taking these medications over the coarse of a lifetime. For many with ADHD the benefits may outweigh risks, and sorry it is controversial because it is known to be DANGEROUS. The history if already there of the harms. Instead of defending stimulants, how about encouraging behavioral interventions to help people learn skills and habits. How about development of compounds that do not come with the risks? While I appreciate your advocacy, you are influenced by your personal experiences with stimulants and the pharmaceutical industry narrative.

    1. Thanks for the laugh!

      I’ve rejected all pharma funding, direct and indirect.

      The only “narrative” I represent is the science, the medical consensus, and the experiences of thousands of people with ADHD and their families.

      I do not have ADHD so I do not take stimulants. If I did, I would. In a hot minute. Because I understand the neurobiology. I also wear glasses, for similar reasons.

      I encourage you to read more closely, not skim with a contentious agenda in mind, this post and others at the ADHD Roller Coaster. It’s always important to make big decisions on the facts, not fear-based propaganda.

      Finally, being schedule II medications does not equate stimulants to oxycondone, fentanyl, and morphine for Pete sakes!


  4. Tina Collins

    There is a television show on Netflix about meds and addiction, how it harms one. I have this experience w my prescription drug Klotopin and I about lost my mind. Anyone, I would love to tell my story to help others.

    1. Hi Tiny,

      Any medication that can do positive things can do negative things. I wish people were more aware of this, including prescribers.

      I’m sorry you had that experience with klonapin. It is in the category of drugs called Benzodiazepines.

      They should be used only episodically, not routinely.

      Unfortunately, too many prescribers have given Benzos to patients with ADHD. This creates all kinds of problems, as you sadly discovered.

      It seems you are recommending this pseudo-documentary, from the Schwarzeneggers, Take Your Pills, as being about meds and addiction.

      Unfortunately, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about taking a swipe at ADHD, because Maria was too disinterested when it came to her daughter’s ADHD treatment.

      Adderall was good enough to get her through college. But when she graduated, all of a sudden… more ADHD. Wow.

      So they chose to self-medicate with stigmatizing and misrepresenting ADHD and the medications used to treat it.

      take care,

  5. Patrick A Scannell

    Thank you very much for this. I am an ADHD sufferer myself who was deprived of medication due to these “cultural biases” against us and the medication, and movies like this simply fuel the stigma we get. It should be under the misleading medical news list along with antimasking.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      You’re most welcome.

      Yes, it is misleading medical news. Like anti-vaxxers, etc…

      It just boggled my mind, that somebody with their money and access couldn’t do something helpful.

      I’ve done my work on a shoestring budget and always for good.

      take care,

  6. Bravo for your insights and thoughtful anaylsis of this topic and your spot on review of the Netflicks Take Your Pill .

    My son was diagnosed ADHD at age 8. At first we resisted medication for my son, but we happened to luck out with a GP doctor that struggled with the same condition.

    We tried several meds including Adderall, but quickly realized the huge down side to that medication. After some experimentation, my son ended up with slow, continuous release Concerta. What a miracle it’s made in his academic life.

    I know it’s just antidotal, but my son, now 20 and in college, is totally opposed to alcohol and recreational drug use of any kind. Image that, a prescription med, used as directed having a profound impact on someone suffering form otherwise debilitating symptoms of ADHD.

    THANK YOU GINA! and keep up the great reporting.

  7. I definitely benefit from my Adderall XR use but I also experience the comedown other people have described. I’ve been using medical THC products to manage. I’m interested in trying vyvanse but it’s just so expensive. I already pay $200 for brand name adderall because I’ve found my local generic is ineffective if my sleep habits slip.

  8. Great article.

    Not long ago I was one of the “dangerous subset” of people with adhd. I was diagnosed as a teenager and always opposed medication, to the point of often criticizing those who do (like several family members who also have adhd).

    Fifteen years later after having it suggested by my psych when other drugs were not helping me with a myriad of issues, I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I had just “taken my pills” all those years ago.

    I feel better than I have in a long time (not ecstatic), just, normal. I re-enrolled in college and for the first time ever I’m excelling at it.

    I still have a long way to go but my life is working much closer to the way I imagine life works for neurotypical people. No one deserves to be shamed for taking medication that is genuinely needed. Not to be super human, just to be human.

    1. Well said, Rob — and congratulations!!

      Thanks for your comment encouraging others.

      By the way, “dangerous subset”? Refers to something I wrote? I don’t see it — and would regret if it I wrote that in a thoughtless moment.

      Maybe you mean this:

      “Her schtick is typical of that small but clear subset of people with “in denial” frontal-lobe issues and high narcissism who are constantly running a hustle. Without a thought to the damage.”

  9. You’re right, Gina. The general population doesn’t have empathy for ADHD. Interestingly enough, the general population mostly consists of neurotypicals.

  10. I just finished watching this thing. The guy at the end who says “There’s other things you can do, just teach them to concentrate” OMG I laughed so hard, this kid never had ADD!

  11. Dear Gina,

    I am finding your blog after watching my husband take a steady downward spiral on Adderall. At first, it helped him “concentrate a little better” at work and increased his motivation overall, although it was not the miracle cure he expected as far as productivity, memory, organization, or intelligence as he had hoped. The big problem was that when he “came down” toward the end of the day, he was a different person – angry, belittling, and judgmental toward our son and me. If he did not take his daily dose, he was impossible to get along with, snapping at everyone constantly, and tired all day. Eventually, he figured that he was on too low of a dose, so he started taking an afternoon “booster” after his doctor’s (a primary care physician) approval.

    After being married for 23 years, together for 25, he decided one day that he was done, he had enough of being married and is now violently angry. He moved out of the family home after I asked him to leave because of his behavior, and he cannot communicate with my son or with me without yelling, screaming, demeaning, and sometimes growling. In fact, he is demeaning and rude to most people now, and finds it difficult to get along with his colleagues at work. This is not the man I married. He is scary to the point that our teenage son describes him as “possessed”. However, if I happen to speak to him first thing in the morning after taking his a.m. dose of Adderall, this is the one time of day that he is pleasant, happy, and easy to talk to.

    I have tried in earnest to suggest that his anger might have something to do with the med because I have noticed an enormous difference, and this makes him even angrier. I will not deny that as with every marriage, we have had our share of issues. I am also fully aware of the effects of disorders that can cause anger, such as depression. But violence? Irrational behavior? He has always been calm, eager to work through issues, and adamant that we were soul mates – never to part. Now divorce?

    Am I saying that Adderall changed my husband and destroyed my marriage? I don’t know. As a woman who just lost her husband and is still in shock and grief, I am grasping. However, the timeline and behavior connection is compelling and has led me to begin research.

    While in therapy recently, I let my counselor listen to a couple of my husband’s voicemail messages saved on my cell phone. To say she was shocked is an understatement. When she compared the man she had spoken to just months ago during marital therapy and the man she heard on the phone, she said that although she could not diagnose in such a manner, it was as if he had bipolar disorder and was having a manic episode on the messages. All I can say is that the person who left our home is not the man that I married 23 years ago, nor the man I knew prior to Adderall. This roller-coaster, violent behavior was never a factor before the med, and the “improvement” or “benefit” certainly does not outweigh the risks.

    1. This is years after your post on ADHD rollercoaster.

      I just watched the Netflix show Take your Pills Adderall. I just want to say Adderall destroyed me and my ability to be married. I became a different person and was immediately addicted to that drug. Your description of your ex husband was like my description of how I was those first years on Adderall. I am unable to get completely off this drug and ha e tried many times.

      I don’t have the will to do it now. My marriage over and too old to restart a life, I’ve almost given up. Wish someone had warned me of how addictive it can be and what to do if I started feeling urges to use more along with side effects that I would experience. It has aged me and turn Ed my hair prematurely gray…before my parents and siblings and perhaps due to years of insomnia. My teeth area mess. I’ve been on it for 23 years. I’m sorry for your loss.

  12. Hi Gina,

    I honestly think you should consider producing a documentary in contrast to ‘Take Your Pills’ that sheds light on the reality of ADHD and the treatments available and how those treatments/medication impact those with ADHD. Showing the truth behind medication for those with ADHD in contrast with those who ‘abuse’ it (like those college students in that Netflix film) would illustrate the differences.

    As I was watching the film, I could understand the stigmas associated with adderall, and the dismissal of ADHD, but it disheartened me to witness these interviews that never highlighted the daily struggles of those with ADHD. They only focused on the medication and it’s effects. I have been taking medication for almost a decade for ADHD and have gone through a majority of the struggles associated with the side effects in correlation to its effect on my symptoms. I could go on about my experiences, but that’s not the point of this response.

    I believe everyone should be educated about ADHD. While I understand the stigma of it, and how people can come to that conclusion, they cannot dismiss it because they have never endured the adversities caused from it. If I was born with a ‘neurotypical’ brain and did not have to take medication, I would absolutely do it. I have to work ten times as hard to adjust to a society my brain is not equipped for.

    There are so many subsets of adhd and the best way it was described in a book I recently read is that we were born with a brain that functions a little differently, but given an owners manual to a ‘neurotypical’ brain. There is absolutely no way we are accustomed to our societies current standards, and unfortunately, since we cannot change those values, we just have to adjust to it. Adderall or any ADHD medication does not guarantee an easy way out. It is still hard work. But it contributes to our ability to ‘fit in’ and live up to our community’s standards. I am a huge proponent of the medication, since I have seen drastic improvements in my life. Yes, I have experienced all the negative side effects mentioned in that Netflix film, but those interviews seem to come from a place of naïveté and personal issues. I have effectively worked out all the kinks of my side effects and those mentioned in the film and am still a work in progress, but i can confidently say my life has evolved to a place that i am happy and confident with. The dilemma of the issue at hand is that for some, it is a stimulant that enhances performance, so people with mild ADHD or without tend to abuse it. It is very unfair to those suffering with ADHD, but at least there is an open dialogue, which will hopefully progress to a more solidified, fair solution.

    I know Netflix is always open to allowing two sides of an issue shown on their platform. It would be truly beneficial if you would take on such a project and in essence, stick up for the ADHD community, with your vast knowledge on the subject and your extensive experience. It was actually your book that was my first purchase regarding ADHD. Actually, my mom had bought two—one for me and a translated version for herself.

    I would love to hear back from you because I would love to be a part of the community that advocates for ADHD. There is so much I would love to discuss with you and get the proper, unbiased knowledge out there for everyone to accept and understand.

    Thank you for your time!!

    1. Dear Jen,

      Thank you so much for your well-articulated comment.

      I am thrilled that you are benefiting from new “operating instructions” and medication. I want that opportunity for everyone who has ADHD, and that’s what I’ve worked toward for 20 years.

      Thanks for your faith in me. I surely have the accumulated knowledge. 😉

      I would love to be able to produce a documentary. Unfortunately, I do not have the Kennedy/Schwarzeneggar’s money or influence. And, think about it: A documentary where people’s lives are changed for the better, thanks to Big Pharma? I’m afraid it wouldn’t be a box-office smash hit. 🙂

      I think my friends Ava and Rick Green did a great job with “ADD & Loving It?!” Have you seen it?

      I hope that you continue your own advocacy on a person-to-person basis. I’ve found that really has the most powerful and lasting effect. I saw a huge shift in the online “discourse” on ADHD when more adults with ADHD started writing blogs or leaving comments to news stories on ADHD. They were powerful, powerful advocates. And they helped to turn the tide of public sentiment.

      By contrast, when I started blogging, there was ONE adult with ADHD writing a blog about it. Jeff at (no longer online).

      You know, millions of Americans alone with undiagnosed ADHD+ are out there angry at the world that demands so much of them. They blame “society’s current standards,” as you point out, for their unhappiness. Or the ex-wife or their parents or some politician or the government or ….. Some become so angry they might resort to violence. Mostly, they suffer alone. They do not know that they have ADHD and that there are strategies that might help them live happier, more productive, more self-directed lives. And, lacking insight as to their condition, they blame others. Blaming others is a very common “poor coping response” among people with poorly managed ADHD.

      Certainly, few sane people would argue that today’s version of capitalism has run amok and run over decent people everywhere. That is too true. But it is also the natural consequences of ADHD, left untreated, that contributes to personal misery. Even on a desert island. Even in a small village. ADHD symptoms can take their toll.

      With diagnosis and, in some cases, medical treatment, individuals with ADHD gain more autonomy, more agency. They are less likely to feel like victims and more likely to make the most of their lives.

      So, I am not one to promote a divide among people with ADHD and people without. There is no ADHD trait that is foreign to most humans. ADHD traits are human traits. It is only their number and extremity that make the diagnosis. Generally speaking, what’s good for people with ADHD is good for humans.

      Rather than “neurotypicals,” I find the worst enemy of people with ADHD to be other people with ADHD plus narcissism and “denial”. They are the ones who most publicly deny the condition and who produce anti-ADHD screeds and “documentaries.” I’ve observed this for a long time. Their blaming of others and perhaps a penchant for self-medicating with provocation is behind much of the anti-ADHD efforts.

      I make the point in this post that Ms. Schwarzeneggar herself was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and took medication up through college. It was only after, when presumably she was looking for something to do, that she and her mother (perhaps also with unacknowledged ADHD, which seems quite common among the Kennedy clan) cooked up this harmful project. They could afford to do it because they are multi-millionaires. It brought them attention, too. How much nicer to think that one is “artistic” instead of having ADHD. One can pretend to be “artistic” when one is a millionnaire taken care of and protected from consequences.

      Keep up your advocacy!


  13. This is the biggest load of horse shit I have ever read on the internet. If you really think they are shaming people with ADD and ADHD, then you missed the point completely. This documentary is about awareness and about people who take it who don’t have ADD or ADHD. Yes it is also about the dangers of it. If you really think your not taking micro doses of Meth, your in serious denial. Your body reacts to it in exactly the same way and does damage it exactly the same way.

    I was diagnosed with ADD somewhere around 5. My mom put me on ritelin but took me off of it (thankfully) when my seizures stopped. I sometimes wonder if it was the cause of me seizures but I don’t remember that far back. I have lived most of my life with ADD without medication and I feel empowered by that! Do I drink coffee (which I am well aware is a stimulant), Yes I do. I also put peppermint oil in my water which helps with concentration. But I believe in managing my ADD in the most natural way possible. I’m always on the lookout for new natural ideas to add in. I’m not ok with the possibility of addiction, with the potential liver and heart damage, with sleep irregularities, with the increase dosage over time, panic attacks, seizures, the list goes on and on. Or how about the fact that this is the same shit they were selling us in the 1930’s just rebranded to “help us.” What you do with your body is your business. But how dare you criticize the awareness and the fact that not all of us believe this is the right thing to put in our bodies. That is the real shaming right there!!!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      No, I didn’t miss the point. I saw all the points. Including the fact that most of those people claiming to not have ADHD actually did have it. Their denial systems allows them to “abuse” a drug, but to take it for a legitimate condition? Not so much.

      Thanks for your comment.


  14. Depressed and cynical

    We are among those who have trouble finding help for whatever we have. It is all about money. Our oldest son has had the most treatment for his ADHD but tried to go off his medication as an adult. He finally went back on and found a therapist. I would call his treatment adequate.

    Our youngest son was not diagnosed and treated until late teens as ADD by which time he had developed too many bad coping strategies. We couldn’t afford treatment for him. Finally, after getting one of the those SSI lawyers, he got SSI and Medicaid but they persecute disabled people and it is very hard to comply with their demands. It is also hard to get treatment. He gets his prescriptions through a general practitioner. I would call his treatment inadequate. He is not getting any therapy which he badly needs.

    When oldest son was diagnosed back in the 90s, we were told ADHD is hereditary. My control freak husband loudly said that it is my fault, he got it from me. I thought then, and still do, that he has ADHD, and is in denial, especially on reading books on the subject recently in an effort to figure out how to help my sons. My husbands two brothers have ADHD and don’t have access to treatment.

    Maybe I do have it too, but for us, who have no health insurance (we live in a toxic state that doesn’t believe in health care for all but only for those who can afford it), there is not much likely hood that I could get treated. We simply cannot afford treatment. I have suffered from depression off and on over my life and found out a couple of years ago that it runs in my family and so does ADD. I have been to therapy, taken anti-depressants, to no avail.

    ADD has ruined our lives. I am completely without hope. I have no future.

    1. Dear depressed and cynical,

      Your story saddens me greatly. It’s not that I am ever NOT acutely aware of your circumstances being those for millions of Americans. But you really drive home the feelings of isolation and abandonment. I find it truly criminal in 21st Century USA, and I’m sorry you and your family are in this situation.

      I hope that you can find a way to carve out some peace and pleasure in your life. An anti-depressant is not going to compensate for all you describe. Still, if you try again to find a medication that works, it might be that you find yourself feeling less hopeless.

      take care,

  15. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my mid 20’s. I had dropped out of university 3 times and my father asked me to visit a psychologist who specialized in adult ADHD.

    Turns out that I was considered to have a severe case of ADHD that was affecting almost all the facets of my life.

    I have been on Ritalin for 11 years now and in that time I was able to work full time at a national retailer at a management level, complete my accounting degree and an advanced diploma in forensic accounting, take over the accounting department for a local company, and am now starting my own business.

    I know, deep down, that I couldn’t have accomplished that without medication, and with the support of my family and wife I have moved past being embarrassed or ashamed of that fact.

    That being said, I still get the reactions from people who find out about my diagnosis that we all see – rolled eyes, deep sighs, the look of “really?”.

    I haven’t watched this documentary yet, and while I get the idea that watching it simply shows companies like Netflix that people want more of that type of “documentary”, I will watch it. Why? Because I know I will encounter people who did watch it.

    I know that they will use it to belittle what I go through on a daily basis. And I refuse to be as ignorant as them and speak to something that I haven’t seen or experienced.
    I don’t usually post on forums, but I’ve recently become more involved in speaking about my experience with people.

    I hope this wasn’t too long for people.

    1. Hi Allen,

      Not too long at all. And thank you for speaking up!

      I was an ADHD advocate online for many years before there was “critical mass” among adults with ADHD. Their blogs and Tweets have really provided a strong counter to the anti-psychiatry nonsense, not to mention the garden-variety nonsensical views on ADHD.

      Of course, you are welcome to watch the “documentary.”

      My long experience says that it’s not worth arguing with the people who think it’s great. Many of them have ADHD themselves but the “in denial” type. And, from what I’ve heard, that is evidenced throughout the movie.

      I find it more time-effective to come up with a clever retort. Sometimes, mine is, “Oh, you think your brain and organs are perfect? How about you smash your glasses?” Usually stops ’em. 🙂

      Good luck, but it doesn’t sound like you need it. Kudos to that psychologist!


  16. Just the interview in the article pissed me off. The woman in the sunglasses is a f*ckwit of the highest order. When she said “why does a teen need executive function?” I turned the air blue and then stopped watching. Jeebus. Ann.

  17. Hey, Just start filming my family and go back to all the shit that has happened, and anyone disputing the reality must have ADHD themselves.

  18. HOLD ON here, folks! I

    have had ADHD all my life…but was afraid of the drugs.

    I went to college, received a professional degree and masters, worked 25 years in a demanding job, raised three children, without medication…and I STRUGGLED to keep it under control all my life.

    To what degree I had no idea. Until now.

    When I turned 60 I was talking with my doctor about what was going on, and explained what I was going thru…and he suggested Adderall.

    Within a week, it changed my life. Why did I wait so long?

  19. I hope this terrible documentary does not have impact.


    I’ve faced so much discrimination. This documentary just makes me cry.

    I can’t believe it.

    I feel like crying now.

  20. This documentary suggests that everyone who takes Adderall is using Meth or speed.

    Without stimulant MEDICATION, children who actually have significant ADHD could not function.

    This documentary is skewed and irresponsible! It hurts kids with disabilities.

  21. “Take your pills” didn’t show enough on the people the medication is truly intended for.

    Though I agree there is a lot of mis-use of the medication, it can be a life changing godsnd to people with the neurological dysfunction.

    And it is a neurological disorder that shows extreme difference in how the brain works. Look at some brain scans. It’s hug

  22. My young adult son greatly benefits from Adderal, both at school and at his part time job.

    He simply can’t focus without it. Why struggle when there is a solution to a problem!

  23. Agree!

    I’m a school psychologist (also have ADHD as do 2 of my 4 kids)..

    The misinformation parents come to the table with can be infuriating. And when they refuse to treat these poor children suffer so much.

    Thanks for the work you do in sharing and explaining evidence based information. It really makes a difference

  24. Hi there Gina.

    I’m kind of confused. I was considered ADD all my life, and when I was younger my parents put me on Ritalin. I was numb, so after 2 months they took me off.

    Fast forward 50 years later, where I have struggled everyday with ADHD, and my doctors put me on Adderall.

    I am so relaxed, and feel better than I have in years.

    At first I took it at night, because I felt so relaxed and at ease.

    Then I started taking it in the morning, according to my doctor, and felt great all day. I can slow my thoughts down so I do not have four or five ideas going at the same time..

    WHAT ARE THESE KIDS DOING? How does it make them feel so energized?

    Am I taking the same Adderal that they are? I’m on 30mg and it has changed my life.

    Does it really work like that with the rest of the population?

    I’m concerned I’m the freak of nature. But you know what, I feel great…and I can sleep soundly!!! Finally.

  25. Wait a hot minute!

    You mean to tell me that someone diagnosed with ADHD stopped receiving treatment and then hyper focused on a poorly researched pet project without any forethought for the negative effects thereof?

    1. Neurotypicals also hyper focus on poorly researched pet projects, whether it’s politics, religion, or anything else that strikes their fancy. My favorite is the neurotypicals like Jenny McCarthy who want to “cure” autism by blaming vaccines for their supposed “link” to it. Your comment almost appears to mock ADHD’ers for behavior that neurotypicals also partake in, often with no medication or diagnosis. Stop.

      I love making sure people with ADHD have the medications they need, but I also can’t help cringing at them having to suppressing their traits because neurotypicals find them undesirable. Reminds me of how humans selectively bred canines and plants to make sure they had what they wanted, while allowing the others to die off. The last thing these people need is morons like you mocking them for what some of them do when they’re off medications, whether they were the right types and dosages or not, especially when neurotypicals have more than their fair share of conspiracy theorists.

    2. Finally, Seth….I find it hilarious that you consider Jenny McCarthy “neurotypical”.

      Do you know anything of her history?

      Her schtick is typical of that small but clear subset of people with “in denial” frontal-lobe issues and high narcissism who are constantly running a hustle. Without a thought to the damage.

      Or people who vaingloriously, once allegedly diagnosed with ADHD, proceed to broadcast to the public what ADHD is and isn’t, based on their one little experience (allegedly) of a highly variable syndrome. You’d be surprised at these ADHD personalities funded by pharma. Strange but true. That pharma believes they must emphasize ADHD gifts in order to sell medication for those gifts.

      I’m afraid you’re missing a whole lot of other possibilities.

      My point was, it’s not always so-called neurotypicals running these cons.


  26. Hi D –

    1967. Bless your heart.

    I hope your son comes around soon. Sometimes we can make it easier. Sometimes not.

    take care of yourself,

  27. Thank you Gina! I’m sure a lot of my ADHD clients will watch this film, and I am going to send anyone who asks about it to this blog post. As for me, you saved me some time so I can watch something more scientific!

  28. Dorothy Margraf

    Films like this, physicians and counselors who say they know about ADHD and really know nothing, make life very difficult for those who live with a family member or members who are in denial. They not only hurt the affected individuals but everyone around them. It’s times like that when I wish I could believe in karma.

    Why are so many people in denial about their own ignorance about so many things. It isn’t that hard to do some searching for additional information. What could be said about a person who went to a plumber and said, “I am deathly sick. I read an article about toenail fungus so I know it’s not cancer. What else could it be?” The plumber might answer, “Fix your bathroom sink.” Sometimes I think that’s where the minds of people are these days.

    1. Hi Dorothy,

      Thank you so much for commenting.

      I love your plumber story. It made me laugh. For a minute.

      Cognitive scientists tell us that humans don’t like to think. It’s much easier to latch onto preconceptions and “shiny”—and tell ourselves we are seeing a situation accurately.

      ADHD is one of those topics that demands immense intelligence and empathy. The general population contains neither in surplus, imho.

      Thank you!

  29. “Privilege”

    That interview reeked of privilege!

    Oh? You (Christina) didn’t do so well whilst off meds at your high school, you say?

    Well, we’ll just pull you out and enroll you in an “arts” school; they’ll know how to reach you.

    But wait? Things were more difficult at Georgetown than your “creative” school, so you relied on medication then?!

    Gosh- sounds to me like you encountered the real world and your very real disability!!!

    My favorite part was when the interviewer in that video said (wait- I have 2 favorites from her….paraphrasing)

    1. “Executive function? Why do we need executive function at (that) age?”

    2. “If it were up to me, my kids would not have gone to school at all but their dad felt otherwise.”


    If my kids don’t go to school or if they avoid demanding schools via an “arts” school, they won’t be able to support themselves as adults.

    These sheltered trust-fund babes have no worries about supporting themselves and have the privilege to skip the lessons involving self-sufficiency.

    Maria Shriver and her daughter have nothing in common with families struggling to raise a child with ADHD and should *not* be speaking out about the disorder.

    It’s irresponsible and reminiscent of the Jenny McCarthy vaccine days!

    Our family used to live near a very wealthy enclave, and I had a taste of that privilege with my children’s friends. They had drivers, multiple nannies, cooks, and housekeepers. Their parents were seriously naive to the needs of families like mine, but were still my friends. I opened their eyes as much as they opened mine!

    That’s why I think it’s irresponsible; I believe they know not the damage they are inflicting!


    I’m a Psychologist who specializes in ADHD, and I hear about this movie FAR TOO OFTEN. Now I have a rebuttal to the misinformation.

    This movie trivializes the struggle that ADHD’ers face having to function in a neurotypical society… We need more GOOD information out there about what ADHD actually is, because the market is already saturated with the BAD INFORMATION.

    I feel bad for the Shriver daughter. Her life could likely be better with some education surrounding her brain, and knowledge about ADHD… This movie makes me so angry, but I’m happy you’re speaking out.

    1. Thank you, Alison! I’m grateful that you find this long post useful.

      It’s so hard to know where to begin in countering this toxic nonsense. It’s so all-encompassing.

      Thank you!

  31. Thanks so much for the warning. I would have otherwise watched it – and it would have put me back into the anger and shame spiral. Until my diagnosis and meds, I self-medicated – just like every other non-medicated ADHD person I’ve ever encountered. I’m living proof that meds are a whole lot better than non-stop caffeine, drug binges, and daily doses of alcohol. I can actually be a contributing member of society. I’m proud of myself – and I can’t understand why so many people want to strip that away.

    And yes, I agree that shamers are far more likely to be denying their destiny. It’s an important message that you alone seem to understand.

    1. Hi Mari,

      Thank you so much for understanding.

      I’m outraged that these people use their money, access, and privilege for cruelty—and that too many in the public see them as performing a public service!

      It’s like a bad Twilight Zone episode.

      I’m glad you didn’t let the message affect.

      Thanks so much for writing.


    1. Thanks, Liz!

      You always do a great job, too. I’m sure would have an interesting and effective personal take on this “film.” Go for it!


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