Spiegel: ADHD Is An Illness, Not A Personality Flaw

By Matt Spiegel–

CHICAGO (CBS) — The reputation of a particular newspaper is affecting a conversation that should be all right to have.

I’ve been hard on the Sun-Times, as most people have, for their seeming mandate to demean and diminish the Cubs’ organizational plan. Gordon Wittenmyer, in particular, has been on the stump about financial issues, and he’s been on an island with that. He said there were cost concerns for trade deadline acquisitions, that they had limits there. I don’t believe that to be true, and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer dismissed it quickly.

Now he’s written about — and asked Starlin Castro about — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mental illness, of any kind, shouldn’t be stigmatized. It shouldn’t be something that is portrayed like a horrible weakness that, if exposed, would ruin a person’s reputation.

I’ve talked about this plenty. Anxiety, depression, bi-polarities, borderline personality disorder; the easier those things are accepted as medical issues that need care, the easier the lives of people who suffer from them can be.

So I hate that ADHD, as it relates to a ballplayer, is being described as an “accusation.” ADHD is a behavior disorder. It’s a condition. It’s not a personality flaw. It’s not a damning trait to be ashamed of.

In that sense, I think it is absolutely fair to ask a ballplayer if he knows what it is and if he’s ever thought about being tested for it. Especially when people within his own organization have wondered the same thing.

Carlos Zambrano’s anger issues played a big role in bringing down his career. He went to treatment about three years too late — and only because he was forced to.

I didn’t hear the discussion with Wittenmyer on our morning show yesterday. I’m not sure how those guys dealt with it, conversationally, but I know how I would.

It’s not an “accusation.” Is a chronically problematic hamstring an “accusation?” Is depression an “accusation?”

Being up in arms about the possibility of a condition being discussed openly comes off as if you’d rather it stay in its closet.

It shouldn’t.

Matt Spiegel is a host on the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on weekdays. Follow him on Twitter @MattSpiegel670.

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