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Medical Be honest; isnt ADHD and all these attention/behavioural disorders a bunch of bull?

  1. Mar 11, 2008 #1
    Be honest; isnt ADHD and all these "attention/behavioural disorders" a bunch of bull?

    Needless to say, I'm not saying it doesn't exist. I'm sure years and years ago, people thought that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder was just an excuse but, isn't this a little to easily diagnosed? How much of this is real and how much is parents/doctors finding excuses as to why they can't raise their kids?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
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  3. Mar 11, 2008 #2

    Tsu

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    There is probably a lot of truth in what you say. I'm quite sure there are WAY too many children out there taking some form of Ritalin for their supposed ADHD.

    However, what about adults who are now being diagnosed with ADHD/ADD? Some of them have suffered with it their whole lives and are just now learning how to deal with it. Many other things with similar symptoms (depression, thyroid disorders, menopause, hormone difficiencies...) have to be ruled out before it can be dx'd as ADHD/ADD.

    I belive schizophrenia (now called MPD or Multiple Personality Disorder) and manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) are two different things. I know people with both of those disorders and they are not similar.
     
  4. Mar 12, 2008 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    MPD and bipolar are different conditions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) lists the standard nomenclature and diagnostics for them.

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/symptom.htm lists diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Patients with problems like these are generally very ineffective at a broad range of common tasks. And looking at the criteria, it is easy to see why someone could be misdiagnosed. Or be diagnosed without necessarily having a problem.
     
  5. Mar 12, 2008 #4

    Astronuc

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    Having ADHD (and probably Asperger's or high functioning autism), I can tell it's no bull. My father and his father have ADD and my son has some level of it. It seems to run in families, and most of the time, those of us with it have to learn to cope. I self-mediated with caffeine. My son takes Concerta (slow releasing Ritalin) or he has difficulty staying on task.

    Most parents of kids with ADD/ADHD try very hard to help there children function in society.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2008 #5
    I wasn't diagnosed with ADD until I was thirty. The reason I'm certain it's real in my case is that when I take Adderall, a Ritalin-like stimulant that treats it, my thought process changes radically. I normally can easily get completely lost in transitioning between any two thoughts or two steps in a process, but this doesn't happen when I'm on the Adderall. I'm able to accomplish any multi-step task in a fraction of the normal time if I'm on Adderall.

    That said, what I've read agrees with you about ADD/ADHD being overdiagnosed. Also, from a personal perspective, I don't know that it would necessarily have been a good thing if I'd started taking a stimulant when I was a kid; at that point I don't think I was familiar enough with my own mental processes to have really understood the difference the drug makes. I might have gotten higher grades but meh, I don't care about that.

    By the way, asking “isn't it a bunch of bull?” and then saying “I'm not saying it doesn't exist” is totally contradictory. It makes it look like you're trying to be provocative and conciliatory at the same time to avoid the effort of articulating a real opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  7. Mar 12, 2008 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Who says it's a disorder?
    I did a PhD in the theoretical astrophysics dept of a famous university. I would say that 50% of the students/staff could pass for normal with a bit of practice, 40% were definately weird and 10% would have been institutionalised - if they weren't already effectively in one!
    Start handing out Ritalain to the odd kids and you can say goodbye to any sicentists and programmers. And probably any arts - have a table Mr Beethoven and you will be able to play quietly!

    My big objection is the diagnosis of dyslexia for anyone that didn't get a 4.0 GPA.
     
  8. Mar 16, 2008 #7
    i was tested for it, but diagnosed as negative.

    however, i sometimes take ritalin or adderall from friends prescriptions for tests / exams, etc. (not all the time, just sometimes.)

    and like posted above, it changes my thought process incredibly for the better, and i believe that better results come from it.

    just because ritalin / adderall changes your thought process for the better, doesn't mean you have a disorder.

    i'm not trying to deny that these disorders exist, because i haven't done enough research on the topic, but from my point of view i'll say that there are too many people diagnosed with add/adhd that don't actually have it.
     
  9. Mar 16, 2008 #8

    Danger

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    Full agreement with Astro on this. I was undiagnosed with ADD until I was about 46. It is very real and can be devastating.
     
  10. Mar 18, 2008 #9
    Its very real. And very comon that it runs in families. My son has it, but dosent take the meds for it, by his own choice. While they do keep him on task easier, they also make him depressed. He has learned to make lists and refur to them durring the day. He does not have the hyperactivity aspect of it.
    We were able to trace it back several generations on my ex-husbands side of the family. Back in the 1940's it was called minimal brain disorder. They changed it to ADD in the 1960's, then added the ADHD in the 1970's.
     
  11. Mar 18, 2008 #10

    RonL

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    Were we married ?, maybe i got distracted and didn't find my way home:cry::biggrin:

    Just found out about a year and a half ago, not quite sure how much the meds are helping, I'm one of the type, that has so many different interest and projects, that i work hard all the time and at the end of a day it is hard to define the progress in any one area.
    Making a list and sticking to it seems to never work, as something more important (and has to be done) almost always comes up.

    Never have the big windfall, but there is always enough to get by on.:smile:
     
  12. Mar 18, 2008 #11

    Math Is Hard

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    I was put on Ritalin at age 7. I don't know if I ever got a formal ADHD diagnosis (actually I think they just called it "hyperactivity" back then). It was more of a "lets try some medication and see what happens" situation. A lot of it had to do with my 2nd grade teacher's annoyance with me, and I think it was at her insistence that I ended up getting taken to the pediatrician. I asked lots of questions in class and she found that irritating. School was pretty dull then because everyone in my class was just learning how to read, and I had been reading since before kindergarten. It's easy to be distracted when you are bored to tears.

    So I ended up on Ritalin for a few months. It seemed to make me quiet and manageable, but I think my "zombification" scared my mom. So we stopped. I never gave up my taste for coffee and Coke, though. I was allowed to have caffeinated beverages in unlimited amounts and got hooked on them.

    When third grade came around, I had a really nice teacher who loved teaching and loved inquisitive students. (She knew that second grade teacher I had, and didn't think much of her, btw.) Anyway, my third grade teacher kept me busy by giving me all the books I could read, and it was wonderful. She loved it when I asked questions! We moved away in the middle of the school year and I remember being in tears when I hugged my teacher goodbye.

    I'll never know for sure if I had ADHD or was just a bored kid. I still wonder about it sometimes because I am a little impulsive and a bit of a scatterbrain. I usually work on four or five separate tasks simultaneously, jumping back and forth between open documents on my computer. Tiny noises completely dismantle my concentration. I've even quit a job because a co-worker's habit of humming and tapping made work impossible and my work hours unbearable. But all in all, I work around these things pretty well. Thank heavens for headphones.
     
  13. Mar 18, 2008 #12

    Astronuc

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    I was probably more ADD than ADHD, but I distinctly remember that I had a hard time sitting in my chair during elementary school through high school, except when the math and science instruction would go at a fast pace. Like Danger, I wasn't tested until about 45, when my son was tested. I was diagnosed with ADD (with symptoms of Asperger's and possibly high functioning autism), and my son is more ADHD. My son takes Concerta so that he can function in a way that is acceptable to the educational system.

    I didn't take ritalin, but instead I self-medicated with caffeine (tea, then coffee) starting at about 12-13.

    The worst time for me was taking a test (especially reading comprehension) in quiet room was pure torture.
     
  14. Mar 18, 2008 #13

    mgb_phys

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    Firstly I am not trying to belittle anyones suffering.

    But I am very suspicous of a sudden rise in purely psychometric diagnosis of what looks like bright kids/adults being bored in school. Even if you could do a decent diagnosis (involving some testable chemical/physical effect) isn't this just part of the range of behaviours / abilities people have?
    Nobody diagnoses the football team with hyperactivity-running-disorder and proscribes sedatives to slow them down.

    I can't see how prescribing psychoactive drugs to 6year olds just so that they will sit quietly in a boring lesson that is beneath their ability is a good idea.

    Of course the fact that I have 20 windows open on 2 computers in front of me and I'm reading PF while dealing with a list of compiler errors mean I'm probably a sufferer.

    (I await the flames from sufferers - although a medic interviewed about ME/yuppie-flu said he had a miracle cure, all he had to do was claim on TV that it didn't exist and 1000s of sufferers immediately lept from their beds to write in and complain! )
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2008
  15. Mar 18, 2008 #14
    Yeah mgb_phys, I agree that ADD and many other things that are clinically called “disorders” are simply part of the range of behaviors and abilities that people have. And I think ADD is certainly overdiagnosed too. Which isn't the same thing as saying it's a “bunch of bull” but as I said I think the OP was going for a provocative headline.
     
  16. Mar 18, 2008 #15

    Math Is Hard

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    How did they test you for ADD or ADHD? With me, they just went by the complaints from my teacher about my behavior. No tests involved, IIRC.
     
  17. Mar 18, 2008 #16

    Kurdt

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    Football players aren't diagnosed with any disorder because what they do is not disabling them on the sports field. For many people with ADD or ADHD their school or academic careers (and later careers) are threatened by their short attention spans. There may be misdiagnoses of bored school kids but thats due to the negligence of the doctor involved and shouldn't taint the fact that there are people unable to function correctly and are thus at a disadvantage. The reason things like this and Asperger's and Autism are coming to prominence is the fact that the medical community has recognised that these are real problems and are better at diagnosing them.
     
  18. Mar 18, 2008 #17

    mgb_phys

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    So medical science has obviously progressed since medieval witch trials!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008
  19. Mar 18, 2008 #18

    Math Is Hard

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    While I'm not opposed to stimulants like Ritalin as attention-deficit therapy in some cases, I agree with you that there needs to be more care taken in diagnoses. In my situation, it was the 1970s, so I am hoping to hear that diagnostic methods have improved since then. There should be something more to it than the opinion of a possibly overwhelmed public school teacher who doesn't have time for the more enthusiatic and inquisitive students. Even if I did have a mild ADHD problem, drugs shouldn't have been the first choice for a solution.

    On the other side of this, I have a little brother who has significant learning disabilities and was also diagnosed with ADD. Taking Adderall helped him a great deal with his concentration during classes, and he was able to complete high school. Most importantly, he thought the drug helped him, and wasn't averse to taking it. He doesn't take it anymore, but I think it helped get him through some rough spots while he was finishing school.

    What disturbs me greatly are stories of Ritalin abuse in college students looking for that little extra edge:
    http://www.azcentral.com/families/education/articles/0801back-ritalin-ON.html
     
  20. Mar 19, 2008 #19

    Moonbear

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    One key diagnostic criterion that should be considered is that the problem is NOT situational. If a kid ONLY has trouble sitting still/paying attention in class, but can focus on tasks at home, or during afterschool activities, it is more likely they are just plain bored with school and not that they have ADD or ADHD. If a kid seems "scatter-brained" about everything they do, flitting from one task to another, never completing things, never staying focused long, then there is a better justification for further consideration of ADD or ADHD (among other things that should be ruled out) as a diagnosis.

    Others have pointed it out, and it bears emphasizing that MISdiagnosis doesn't mean the disorder isn't real and doesn't exist in other people. The more I think about it, I really don't like the term OVER-diagnosis, because who sets the quota on how many diagnoses are allowed to be real before we decide it's all a "bunch of bull" as the OP put it? It simply could be that more kids are diagnosed because more physicians are aware there is a name for this behavior and there is a treatment for it too.

    I do suspect there are a lot of misdiagnosed kids out there because people have NOT taken the time to fully evaluate their symptoms, the context of their symptoms, and to rule out other explanations for them. Your average general practitioner is NOT a specialist in pediatric psychiatry, and should not be the one making the final diagnosis of such disorders, but rather should be acting as a gatekeeper, saying that a particular kid meets some general criteria that merit further evaluation by a specialist. It is quite possible that normal, active, creative children are being MISdiagnosed because parents and teachers are pushing to have their lives made easier rather than learning to raise an active, creative child, but that certainly doesn't mean there aren't really people with ADD or ADHD.

    If you read the older literature (I may have cited those references in much older posts here, but don't feel like looking them all up again), the diagnostic criteria are much stricter and narrower than the commonly found "if you or your child has more than 4 of these symptoms" type checklists often used to make a diagnosis today.
     
  21. Mar 19, 2008 #20

    Mk

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    That's something you could say about the current state of psychiatric treatment altogether.
     
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