Latest Articles from the Blog

Is ADHD real?

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 4 comments

There is a current debate as to whether or not ADHD is even a real diagnosis.     I can understand where some people are coming from. The rates of ADHD continue to rise, not only in the US, but in most developed countries. And this means more kids are feeling something is wrong with their brains and that they have to take drugs daily to make them “right.” I addressed the 4 most likely explanations for why prevalence rates for ADHD are going through the roof in last week’s blog, but here are some other contributing factors: Western Psychiatry’s increasingly exclusive focus on organic explanations of psychological and physiological symptoms, rather than the multi-factorial interplay between genes and environment. And additionally, they keep broadening the net to try and diagnose/”help” more people. Drug companies – they have been ramping up their lobbying efforts for years and now have convinced two countries — the US and New Zealand — to break with the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances which prohibited the public advertising of controlled substances. Increasing false “educational” efforts, often in conjunction with drug companies, to increase diagnoses and use of drugs for ADHD. An onslaught of on-line “self-diagnostic tools” Here is how these factors all come together: When a culture begins to believe that a set of symptoms called ADHD are based primarily on genetics and innate brain dysfunction, and they are told that 80% of people benefit from medications, diagnoses and med-use are going to continue […] Read more…

The Rise of ADHD

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 9 comments

According to the CDC, ADHD diagnoses and use of medications for the disorder have increased markedly over the last 40 years. What is going on here? Here is a summary of what the CDC data show: The rates of children diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S. are rising. 5% in 1970 7.8% in 2003 11% in 2011 ?? in 2016? Not only are the rates rising, but they seem to be accelerating. rose an average of 3%/yr from 1997-2006 rose an average of 5%/yr from 2003-2011 The use of medications is at an all-time high (and is also accelerating). 150,000 in 1970 (0.2%) 2,500,000 in 2003 (3.4%) 3,500,000 in 2011 (6.1%)   (Click to view a larger version)     Lets look at what is going on with these numbers. There are 4 basic explanations for why ADHD diagnoses and medication use are on the rise. I will list them briefly here and then unpack each in subsequent blogs. We are now better able to recognize and diagnose true ADHD This is probably somewhat true especially with the inattentive subtype. But this is not a main contributor. We have an expanded definition that is categorizing more children Again, this is true — especially with kids with the inattentive subtype and also for kids with milder symptoms — and could be contributing some to the increase. There really are more kids with ADHD Unfortunately, this is probably true. Most practitioners who have been watching this over decades say they have seen […] Read more…

Why Attention Issues Interest Me

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 2 comments

Recently I found an old manila envelope with some of my grade-school report cards. These were the days of S’s, U’s, and N’s – Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or the middle ground of Needs improvement. I didn’t have too many U’s, but I did notice quite a few N’s in areas that would now give me an ADHD diagnosis. Comments like “Has trouble sitting still” or “Forgets to raise his hand” or “Sometimes does not play well with others” found their way to my parents eyes. Looking back on my education, it is somewhat surprising I never got an ADD diagnosis (they didn’t have the H for hyperactivity back then). Over the years I self-medicated with caffeine in pre-med and during medical school. It definitely helped, but I am sure glad I wasn’t on stimulant medication my whole life as a child! This makes me wonder: In addition to the 6.5 million kids diagnosed with ADHD every year, how many others do not meet criteria that could still do better in areas of focused concentration, self-regulation, and executive function if only their parents and teachers knew how to help them without using stimulant medications? This is my new goal: to help you become an expert on attention, self-regulation, and executive functioning. If you join me in this journey, you will become a master at creating the kind of environment that your particular child needs in order to thrive (Each child is different. We will talk about the 5 types of focus and […] Read more…