Latest Articles from the Blog

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 0 comments

In the lasts two posts, I Showed that ADHD diagnoses and use of medications are rising fast Gave some of the likely explanations for why this is In today’s and subsequent posts, I am going to back up a little bit and describe the capacities that are impaired.     First let’s start by looking at an overview of what this “symptom cluster” we call ADHD entails. And please remember this: I am not arguing here whether or not these symptoms are true ADHD or a brain that is being pushed into dyregulation by some other factor. Here I am just describing the symptoms that come out of this dysregulation often called ADHD. In the medical and psychiatric community, different scoring systems are used to try and help make a diagnosis. You can view one that I use here: CHIP-Vanderbilt-parent Or here is a list used by doctors Hallowell and Ratey*: HallowellRateyADHDcriteria The DSM-V continues to be the “gold standard,” but to my eye they are getting further and further from recognizing what is going on. Here is the most concise list I have come up with to capture ADHD symptoms in a nutshell. A person with ADHD has A short attention span. They often need novelty or high stimulation to keep them interested to stay focused and engaged. Interestingly, some people with ADHD can become intensely absorbed in certain activities and have trouble switching their attention to other things that need to get done. Easily distracted. They often have very […] Read more…

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…