Mr. Perky, I found your article well written and informative. One thing I must stand firm on is my right to choose whether or not my child needs meds. I am willing to try them, both on him and myself if you are willing to reach into your pocket to pay for them. They are simply out of the reach of most people who don't have insurance.
There is also the fact that some disorders which can be comorbid with ADHD or misdiagnosed as ADHD will in fact cause serious side affects if treated with a stimulant med. BP runs in my family and I absolutely refuse to put my son on any medication which can have life threatening repercussions until he has been definitely ruled out as having BP. Again, that costs money which I don't have.
I am not against your article. As I said, I believe it is well written and well researched. I would appreciate it though if you would research behavior disorders and the treatment of those as there is a close relationship of many of those with ADHD. Also, if you come across a secret loop hole which would give me the ability to have my family insured or at least covered for a proper dx, I will you forever! My son has been dx'd with ADD but I can't get him in to a psych for a dx concerning BP. BarbBarb, have you tried Medicare or Medicaid? Also your county should have a program for free or very cheap medical attention. Many counties have aid for those who are struggling... I've been there... also you can go to food shelves to cut back on grocery bills, Good Will to cut back on other stuff, churches can provied a tom of help too. I know mine did. Also try Lutheral Social Services, they may be able to help. I'm the queen of coupons and cutting corners and pinching pennies. Let me know if any of this helps... we're all cheering you on!!!!!Thank you lizzie but that is the problem. We are one of those families who make too much to qualify for anything but not enough to cover basic medical care. Its ok. I just get tired of people assuming I don't care whether my son needs meds. Its hard to have people think you are neglecting your child's medical needs because you don't care. We do manage to pay for drs and medicine we need for general health, but meds and treatment for ADD are very expensive. They can literally run to hundreds every month. BarbCarl, I think it's time to break out your hyperfocus . Microsoft Word reports 2768 words in the article, including the introduction. Penguin Publishing states that the average number of words in a novel is 80,000 or so. Yes, it is a little long, but it is relevant to the board, so I think it is in the right place.
Barb, thanks for your note. I agree with you on the medications issue. I'm not about to medicate my child without knowing fully what is taking place in him. And you are right that there are so many comorbid conditions that medication can be a guessing game at best and hazardous at worst. However, in order to keep the complexity of the article to a minimum, I sought only to expose the myths surrounding ADHD. I'm starting to look into BPD, but I'm still very uninformed about it.
As to loopholes, I'm afraid I have none . Lizzy's ideas as to other, non-government, service agencies seems right. It seems sensible that churches, church agencies (Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Social Services), and similar agencies may have ways to help.
You are definitely in the wrong place to have such a long post. You are in an ADD discussion forum for gosh sakes. Who the heck has the attention span (especially in here!) to read this entire thing. I suggest condensing if you want to get your point across Mr. Perky.Bravo, MrPerky! I wish I could write like that. When I was a boy my parents knew that there was something wrong with me but did nothing. They always believed that the best way to solve a problem is to ignore it. As a result my life has been a long sad story. If you'd like to save your children a lot of grief, read on.
There's a terrible conspiracy going on. It begins when a kid is restless in school (gasp!). It continues when the teacher suggests that the child may have ADHD (horrors!). It progresses when a pediatrician diagnoses ADHD and prescribes Ritalin (zounds!). It ends with a disconnected little child who is drugged up, alienated, and out of touch in the classroom, but is no longer restless (shivers!).
This is quite the little myth that is perpetuated by a wide range of persons, from lawyers looking for gainful employment to senators looking to get into/stay in office to contrarian medical professionals.
The basic premise is this: The drug companies (Novartis, Ciba, Eli Lilly, etc) are conspiring with Doctors and Pediatricians, the American Psychiatric Association and ADD special interests group to create a disorder that isn't there in order to sell pharmacopoeia to the so called sufferers of this disorder.
Conspiracy theory. Ahh, how sweet the sound. JFK was killed by the mafia, UFO's landed in Roswell to chat up the government officials there, and Microsoft has the common welfare of all people as its main priority. Please remove your tinfoil hats now.
It is the mythmakers' assumption that:
* Our children (ages 5 through 18) are ignorant because they think this medicine actually helps them.
* Parents are ignorant and will listen to whatever a person in authority tells them.
* Teachers are ignorant and only want a quiet classroom, the welfare of individual children be damned.
* Doctors are ignorant and only want to make money by receiving incentives from the drug companies.
* Drug companies are ignorant in thinking that no-one will see through their trickery.
* We are all ignorant because we fell for this horrible scam.
* We are all ignorant because we see improvement in our children when there is no improvement there.
Some of my rebuttal of these assumptions comes from the personal experience of 5 years in dealing with ADHD in my child and from the personal experience of dealing with ADHD and Adult ADD in myself for my entire life. However, where possible, I will show other web-based proofs when possible in order to avoid the obvious logical fallacies.
Our children (ages 5 through 18) are ignorant because they think this medicine actually helps them.
Much of the time our children are unable to express fully what the medication is doing for them. They know that they seem calmer, seem to get along better with other students, and seem to enjoy learning more than ever. As parents, we see increased study power, better interactions with peers, improved self-image from not being told “Stop that” so frequently, and better personal habits from actually being able to pay attention to the details. I have asked my son Alex, who is on Concerta, a time-release version of Ritalin, how he feels about taking the medicine. His responses are positive and indicate that he knows that his performance level is higher when he is on medication. We will frequently drop his Saturday or Sunday doses in order to monitor his reactions and make sure that dependency/addiction is not forming.
The evidence abounds on the internet for the positive effects of medications for ADD. In Ritalin: Miracle Drug Or Cop-Out?, PBS’s Ken Livingston states:
“The child for whom Ritalin (or one of the other drugs) works tends to remain "on task" longer and, therefore, tends to complete more work. This includes work on exams and homework assignments, with the result that the child's grades may actually show improvement. The child tends to become more cooperative, to follow directions better, and thus to get along better with other children and with the teacher.”
The positive effects of Ritalin are also expressed by adults who take the medication. The Informed Parent describes the response of an adult who went on Ritalin the first time in order to resolve ADD like symptoms. The patient was moved to tears at being able to complete basic tasks that required attention when he was unable to do so at all before Ritalin.
Parents are ignorant and will listen to whatever a person in authority tells them.
Are the parents in your child’s school not like the parents in mine? Are North Carolina and Texas different than the other states in the union? Is Missouri the only “Show Me” state? When a doctor says my child has a major problem, I seek a second opinion. When a teacher says my wonderful child is problematic, my first response is to question the teacher and their methods. Do we really believe that Coke is it (saw it on TV), that Rush is right (heard it on the radio) and that the congress will not raise taxes? Indeed, our country is built on the premise of challenging authority. Sorry, I’m not buying that line.
Children can have a negative reaction to the medicine. There are always some who do because body chemistry is a hard thing to figure out. When this happens, will parents leave their children on the medication because the doctor said to? If the Doctor said your child has measles, and really it’s just a broken leg, do you believe them? Any parent truly looking out for the welfare of their child will not accept what does not seem to be truth; not in advertising, not from presidential candidates, not from the church, nor from physicians.
Teachers are ignorant and only want a quiet classroom, the welfare of individual children be damned.
Are there teachers who rule with an iron fist, who squelch any self-expression, who rain on the self-image parade of their students? Sure, there are. However, the typical teacher is far from these bad examples. They care about each student and work with parents and other educators to spot problems, build self-esteem, manage personal issues, and work to bring each student’s performance up to their level of ability. I will say that we have had teachers who have been less informed on ADHD. However, each teacher has been keenly aware of the issues and has worked tirelessly to resolve conflicts.
School systems, school boards, and the state governance of schools are completely different, however. The motivation there is for the test. How does the classroom measure in the standardized test, how does it compare to other classes in the school, and how does it compare to the other schools in the district, county, region, state, or country? At that level there seems to be little care for a student as an individual. It is this failure that creates the distrust of schools that we feel and see in the media.
Doctors are ignorant and only want to make money by receiving incentives from the drug companies.
In these days of medical mal-practice suits, of high-priced lawyers, and of insane jury awards, it amazes me that a doctor would not be squeaky clean in their practices. This motivation likely does not exceed, however, the ethical promise of all doctors in the Hippocratic Oath. While there are examples of doctors who are unethical, the experience I have is pediatricians and specialists do have the child’s best interests at heart. They are sometimes combative or reactive to parents who insist that they know best and that the doctor is not knowledgeable about the subject.
In adults, however, the experience seems to be less sure, particularly for the case of Adult ADD. This is such a new subject that a doctor is more likely to accept the self-diagnosis of a patient, particularly an informed patient. However, there is also a distinct decision by doctors to avoid prescribing stimulants in such situations.
Once again, as in the schools, there are controlling interests that affect the performance of a Doctor. HMO’s, Local Governments, and Hospital boards again do not have the direct interests of the patient at heart, and are instead solely interested in the bottom line. Except where such lack of interest in the patient’s welfare actually affects the bottom line.
The suggestion that the private practice physician is interested in prescribing medications based on incentives from drug manufacturers bears some examination. Every doctor’s office I’ve been in has pens, pads, signs, and other materials branded with the logos and trademarks of certain drugs or drug manufactures. Lipitor and Prilosec are two of the most recent offenders I’ve seen. Drug manufacturers also provide samples of medications to doctors as well. These samples and the advertising within the office can only be designed to increase sales of those items. However, the suggestion that the doctor will over-prescribe medications from those advertisers, to the contrary of their oath and the potential welfare of their patients, assumes that the doctor is more in the pocket of the drug company that I am willing to believe.
Drug companies are ignorant in thinking that no-one will see through their trickery.
At first glance, this seems like the Martha Stewart defense line: No one would be stupid enough to think they could get away with that. There are so many watch dog agencies, so much media attention, and so many concerned individuals that a company would never get away with perpetuating such a scam on such a large level. Since they cannot get away with cheating like this, the assumption is to think that the companies are ignorant enough to think that they can. Maybe, but it seems like a big stretch.
We are all ignorant because we fell for this horrible scam
On this website, as well as others, I have felt the scorn, ridicule, and negative vibes coming from others because they think I am ignorant. Suggestions range from I need to be suspicious, to I have my head in the sand, to I must be completely stupid and my child will hate me for drugging them against their will for a disorder that doesn’t exist, to I need to get off my lazy rear-end and get to work.
I’m not the only one that has been told these things. The ADHD News Adult ADD forum has many examples of adults who have been denigrated by peers, parents, co-workers, and even medical professionals. Are all of us ignorant? Are so many persons, from professionals down to children, so misguided in thinking that this disorder exists and that we have it? The truth is that the disorder does exist. Also true is that the media backlash against the treatment of ADD has caused a tremendous amount of distrust of ADD and the stimulant treatments available.
We are all ignorant because we see improvement in our children when there is no improvement there.
I took two years to attain a diagnosis of ADHD for my child. I worked for over four years to understand the disorder in him, all the time recognizing many of his symptoms in myself. I’m not in a hurry to seek the diagnosis, not in a hurry to get him or myself on medication, and not in a hurry to seek an end to the symptoms. He and I will have these symptoms for our entire life.
Yet, my wife and I have placed my child on Concerta, which is a time release version of Ritalin. This medication _does_ have positive effects on his performance, outlook, and self-image. The negative effects, such as minor appetite loss, are minimal and are quite manageable.
Is this the situation for all ADHD children or ADD adults? Quite possibly. There is considerable anecdotal evidence available online stating the benefits of medication. From the website “A Journey into Attention Deficit Disorder”, a viewer wrote:
“At age 36 and only through dating a wonderful woman who was working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Emory University Neurology dept. did I discover and later receive a diagnosis of having Adult ADD. During her research to help my son who has ADD, my friend found evidence that ADD may be an inherited trait. After six months of persuasion and nearly leaving me, she finally got me to go in for an evaluation with a self-professed Adult ADD Shrink (all pun intended). Within 3 hours of taking Adderall, I felt a 180 degree turn in my attitude. Where everyday I would have an argument or confrontation with someone in the office I now was calm and quiet through meetings and with my co-workers. If you know anything about the Technical Recruiting field you know that this is a very intense line of work with massive egos and flaming tempers. For two weeks I went through an intense emotional upheaval, painfully looking back on two failed marriages and a life of bad decisions. Sometimes I would just sit and cry and others in overwhelming disbelief that I had lived that way all my life. I had been an angry little demon and had become an angry adult.” (note: Adderall is a stimulant medication for treating ADD.)
So, what are we to make of the debate over the existence of ADD and the use of stimulant medications to treat it?
Perhaps the most damning thought of all in the entire debate is that giving a stimulant medication to a child to calm them down is so contrary to common sense. Given our justified fear of stimulants anyway (speed, cocaine, etc) we have many negative connotations attached to Ritalin et al. In an address to a congressional committee, Lisa Marie Presley stated:
“I have spoken to children who have been forced to take a cocaine-like stimulant to control their behavior; I have shared their sense of sheer desperation. Children have been wrenched from their family's care simply because their parents favored an alternative, drug-free approach to addressing educational and behavioral problems. The psychotropic drugging of millions of children has to stop.” (Lisa Marie Presley Takes A Stand For Children's Rights)
This quote underlines the fear that we have of giving ADHD children stimulant medication. The problem in this fear actually comes down to ignorance. Those having the fear do not know that the effect(s) of a stimulant on a child or adult with ADHD is completely contrary to common sense. After receiving a stimulant like Ritalin, the ADHD child will calm down, and not speed up. This result has to do with the processes that neurotransmitters in the brain go through. Brookhaven National Laboratory explains it like this:
“This latest study, on humans, indicates that Ritalin significantly increases levels of dopamine in the brain, thereby stimulating attention and motivational circuits that enhance one's ability to focus and complete tasks.”
"We now know that by increasing the levels of extracellular dopamine, you can activate these motivational circuits and make the tasks that children are performing seem much more exciting," said Volkow. "By raising that level of interest, you can significantly increase the ability of the child to focus on the task."
“Volkow added that Ritalin also works to suppress "background" firing of neurons not associated with task performance, allowing the brain to transmit a clearer signal.”Random activation of other cells can distract you, and children with ADHD are easily distracted," she said. "Ritalin suppresses that background firing and accentuates the specific activation, basically increasing the signal-to-noise ratio and increasing a child's ability to focus."
It is my desire that this discourse has prompted you to take a second look at ADHD in children or ADD in Adults. Perhaps the debate is not as it seems due to the influencing factors of a biased media. The issue is much too deep and much too involved to dismiss with a casual statement of “get off your lazy backside, pay attention, and conform.”
That was a very good article. You should look into getting that published somewhere so others can read it. Thanks
KenVery Well done! I agree with alot of what you are sharing...But what do we do? I don't know, as a working Mom, alone in this, how else to help my son with school, friends, etc...I'm searching continuously!