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ADHD: Myth or Reality?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by cmtar, May 11, 2009.

  1. Balestrom

    Balestrom Legend

    Jan 12, 2007
    I have too many thoughts on the subject and probably none of them worth a spit. :D

    There is a strong connection with children who either experience ADHD behaviors or have been diagnosed with ADHD and a deficiency of Magnesium and also essential fatty acids (often referred to as EFA) that can be found in omega-3.

    There is also a strong connection with behavioral disorders like ADHD and food allergies or perhaps food sensitivities. There are tests for both, but a child may have food sensitivities that do not show up on allergy tests. A child can be tested for sensitivities, but its expensive. (Some one mentioned red food dye, that is a biggy and is in a lot of the processed garbage that we pass on as food these days.)

    Also, as stated earlier, the cases of misdiagnosis are growing. I don't want to spurn the school systems, but with NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and increasing large classrooms, it is often easier to diagnose a disruptive child then to deal with that child. Boys are also diagnosed with far frequency then girls, which I believe is representative of the maturity levels. Boys mature later then girls and are often more hyper. Just look at the boom of AK programs.

    Finally, I am not skeptic of ADHD in all cases, but I am a skeptic of the pharmaceuticals who pushed Methylphenidate as a treatment for ADHD. Now, I am by no means an expert, but in my current profession I have worked with some of the more seasoned educators who have PhD’s in their field and who have spent their lives working with children who have significant cognitive disabilities. They recall a time where there was very, very few diagnosed cases of ADHD and it wasn't until the Pharmaceuticals literally went on speaking tours through the US pushing drugs like Ritalin that ADHD began to become a household name. In fact pharmaceuticals spent a lot of dollars bringing attention to this disorder in the late 60's and through out the 70's. Which of course coincided with the explosion of diagnosed cases of ADHD and a lot of sales for drugs like Ritalin.

    My thoughts anyways.
  2. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
    To the OP.

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a legitimate psychological disorder.

    However, any family should be skeptical about any diagnosis of ADHD.

    In general you should be informed as to what it really is. Make an attempt to rule out all other possible causes.

    There are many learning disabilities, cognitive functions issues, and other medical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of ADHD. For this reason, as well as people looking for “quick fixes”, ADHD tends to be over diagnosed. If there are other issues diagnosed it probably not ADHD. However, that doesn't mean that treatment would be different.

    I am a firm believer in the two pronged approach. Medication alone is NOT going to work. Especially where a child is concerned, there needs to be therapy dealing with the coping mechanisms needed to deal with ADHD.

    Medication should be given only if necessary and, IMHO, only at therapeutic levels. We wanted to make sure our daughter didn’t lose her bubbly happy personality. We had help in titrating her medication starting with a very low dose and moving up to reach a level that would benefit her without changing who she was.

    Anyone who tells you this is not real does not have the first clue what they are talking about.

  3. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    I didn't make any claims about being a health care professional. Nor did I suggest that ADHD doesn't exist or is somehow insignificant.

    I'm all about the questioning of health care providers that all too often find it easier to medicate than to identify the real problem. The people who need treatment need to be carefully qualified and offered accepted programs of treatment. The others need to find out what the real problem is as opposed to settling for a fashionable diagnosis that seems to cover all the symptoms.

    I have a friend that was diagnosed with ADHD as a youngster and given all sorts of drugs (Ritalin, speed) associated with addressing those symptoms but it turned out that his asthma was causing sleep deprivation and when they addressed the sleep issues, the symptoms virtually disappeared. Of course the doctors said they were sorry for the misdiagnosis...
  4. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    Agree 100%.

    "Normal" is a pretty wide range, but "normal" has always meant that kids grow up with lots of outdoor physical activity, at least until the last 20 years or so. Now everyone is afraid to let their kids go outside (and that is justified to an extent), and since they're inside, they expect the kid to use "inside behavior" all the time. That *isn't* normal, and many kids get restless. Lazy parents find it easier to just get some pills than to deal with the issue in a healthier, natural way (I'm NOT talking to parents of kids with REAL, SERIOUS issues; those DO exist for sure).

    The best medicine for this is as much supervised outdoor activity as you can find time for. It's inconvenient for the parent at times, but it's far better than mood-altering pills for all but extreme cases. There is also a high correlation between the use of such pills and teen suicide/school shootings. Correlation doesn't mean causation necessarily, but it's hard to ignore.

    Best of luck.
  5. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    It's very real. My 40 year old brother has it. He's a friggin' genius, but has suffered his whole life.

    Not hyper at all, just inability to focus on anything for any time.

    He was diagnosed by a PhD who said that it is way overdiagnosed - said a lot of kids have dietary issues that seem like ADHD.

    But it's real, and it's nasty.
  6. Ray_Clum

    Ray_Clum Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    Another thing to consider is Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder in children manifests itself differently than in adults, it has a tendency to act somewhat like ADHD, but with significantly more destructive and abusive behavior (think diving on the 15 lb dog, instead of just pulling on a leg).

    I know of a couple children who have both ADHD & Bipolar, and their world is in constant tumult and only a strong combination of counsiling, therapy and parental involvement keeps them on a relatively even keel. A head of psychiatry at a midwestern hospital (who is a family friend) says that he'd never diagnose or treat Bipolar Disorder in anyone under 25, because the brain isn't fully developed, but several child psychiatrists I know say that they treat it with low level adult drugs to prevent the formation of the full synapses that create full blow adult Biploar in the first place. Child based Bipolar Disorder is still a field in flux. A way to bring it into consideration with a child who is being treated for ADHD is to talk to the child's doctor after a range of ADHD drugs have been tried with no positive effect (I have seen some that actually made the situation worse...)

    I work with 200-300 7th & 8th grade teens at my church in our student ministry and I can safely say that ADHD is one of the most over diagnosed / proscribed maladies in the US. Most of the parents who over diagnose just simply don't want to deal with a child that is either truly a discipline problem or is a genius and just gets bored, so they dope up kids. But it is a real condition that can definitely adversely affect the child's success in academia and in the professional world without proper treatment.
  7. timmmaaayyy2003

    timmmaaayyy2003 Hall Of Fame

    Jan 27, 2008
    While I also agree that ADHD is overdiagnosed, I know from experience that it is very real. My daughter like so many commented on in this thread, tests in the top 95% of her age group, but has severe problems in school even with meds.

    She was diagnosed, after the usual testing for alergies/alternate issues, and found to have ADHD with ODD (opositional defiance disorder) overlay. This girl can explain in detail how the Egyptians mummified their kings, but refuses to turn in the "A" quality homework she's completed.

    Is it real? You'd better believe it.

    On the other hand, if someone tells you that your kid is ADHD, never take the word of the first person you consult. Very few of the people that claim to have the proper training and experience in this field actually do. The first person we went to wanted to claim Aspergers due to the ODD. Thankfully, we were able to find the proper person with a referal from the best pediatrician in town and after years of strife, got the proper diagnosis.

    Life with her is still a daily challenge and that's with meds. No amount of discipline has ever worked from "time-out" to spanking.

    Should we medicate instead of applying discipline? Absolutely not. Medication should always be the absolute last resort, but thank God for the option.

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