I have been wanting to write this piece for awhile and since I am going to be authoring a book on this topic I figure this will be great practice.
First off I understand that hearing those words when you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or lived your whole life with it, can be tough to hear. First thing you want to do is scream F*ck you, you’re wrong and dumb and blah blah.
I was diagnosed with ADH at a very young age and my parents did what other many great parents do out there. They first listened to their doctor who said “hey yep your kid is special needs, give him this pill” and they tried that for awhile. Within 6 months of taking Ritalin they took me off it and stated that “I was a zombie” and what is even more wild is I still can remember how I felt on Ritalin to this day.
They then started to read some books, get involved with CHAD groups, and do things that were looked at as “quarkery” back then. It was the 90s so I mean Chiropractors still weren’t accepted as an effective solution. Eventually they came across a doctor who did a hair analysis test that would tell you all the vitamins and minerals that you were deficient in. Full spectrum panels and blood work are really easy to get these days in comparison to back then.
As that test was out (it took 6 weeks) my parents learned that this doctor had worked with over 2,000 kids (boy and girl) and found that all those who were diagnosed with a behavior issue were all lacking in 3 vitamins, Magnesium being the main one.
Sure enough when mine came back , the same 3 deficiencies. This is far from conclusive, just stating it- anyway I walked around with a tackle box full of vitamins and minerals that I was lacking, made some nutrition changes and got rid of some cleaning products around the house.
I went from failing to on the honor roll the very next school year. It was such a dramatic change that most of the school thought there was a mistake that I was on stage accepting an award for having honors in the class.
Here is my big beef with the current process for prescribing drugs to “fix this disorder”. First there is no standardized test that is used to give conclusive data that YES you have ADHD. There are 2 ways that are currently being used that I know of.
First they run you through a series of behavior type exercises and tests and see how you react. Next is they do the same but while you’re hooked up to fMRI machines and they brain scan you while you go through the test.
The fact is different areas of the brain, reward centers etc will light up during this test. YES that is different than a “normal” brain, but that doesn’t prove you have a disorder. It proves that there are different neural pathways in your brain than the baseline.
This is NOT brain chemistry, or permanent in anyway. Dr. Amen aka the “brain doctor” is by far the leader in brain scans on everything from drug addictions to learning/behavior issues. He states very clearly that a brain can change itself and rewire. There is now tons of scientific research and study that proves this.
So a drug addict with damaged areas of the brain can in fact completely rewire his brain and reactivate these “dead areas”. Neuroplasticity further proves this fact when we look at the fact that neural pathways are always changing and wiring up smarter and more efficient pathways.
Next I want to take the example of a brain trauma, whether its from an impact or not when the brain is jarred enough it will forcibly shut down certain neural pathways in the brain. They don’t put those people on ADD medication do they?
Instead they run you through a test that tells which side of the brain and where was affected (usually there is always an equilibrium issue associated with the traumas) and then they start to treat you from a rehabilitation standpoint.
When a football player gets a concussion aka blunt trauma to the head, they again are rehabilitated, not put on ADHD medication.
And remember traumas are a lot more serious than people realize and can affect you down to basic motor skills.
All we are proving here with the current testing is that YES your neuro pathways are different and through the patterns and similarities in the sample size that Dr. Amen and others are seeing have led them to certain deductions.
The ADD/ADHD medication is “thought” to increase dopamine levels which have to do with focus, motivation, and attention.
It begs the question, “why don’t we just practice stillness and use something like meditation” as that has a longer track record to tackle the issues of focus, concentration and emotional control? Where are the huge funded studies on that?
Actually there are many but they are not targeted at using meditation instead of an ADD/ADHD medication.
So what if all we are dealing with is a series of issues that collectively are affecting over 60,000,000 people?
I don’t like the fact that when you Google ADHD it basically tells you that you’re fucked, see a doctor and get a prescription
I don’t like the fact that there is NO one sized fits all yet the pills say there is, just with a varying dose. There should be blood panels, hair analysis and brain scans done as a BASIC starting point and at that point create a solution for that individual.
There is a plethora of issues that mimic ADHD symptoms like…
- Learning disabilities…
- Lead poisoning…
- Thyroid issues…
- Vitamin & Mineral deficiencies…
- Toxin poisoning …
- Spinal problems…
- Metabolic disorders…
- Diet and nutrition imbalances…
- Sleeping issues…
- Brain Traumas and disorders…
- Complications from prescription drugs…
There are also diseases that mimic characteristics of ADHD like…
- Heart disease
- Bio Polar Disorder
This becomes even more true when you start to mix and match the above issues.
Now let’s look at the fact that some people are having amazing results with the current ADHD medications. Also we have all these 3rd party studies they may or may not be funded by the same pharmaceutical companies that make the drug they are running the study on. Bias much?
Anyway, who cares people claim to get a result so we have to look at that.
I used to love science and lived my whole life by what science did/didn’t prove and it still hurts me to admit this but we would be waiting for a long time for science to prove a lot of things that people take on “faith” or intuitive feeling. Take God and religion for example which over 80% of the US population believe in and 100% of the world have a viewpoint on.
So my beef with double blind studies is there is still TOO MUCH bias being rubbed off on the whole study. Not just who wrote the check for the study, but things like those who are involved in the study and their bias/beliefs towards the people/world and study they are involved in. Which is why triple blind studies are now gaining traction as that is when those administering the drugs are in the dark of what is going on.
Even with that preventive measure taken they could still in fact influence the outcomes. If they feel deep down there is “no cure” for whatever it is, that will influence the people involved in the study they come into contact with.
Proof of this is simple, the last time you came into contact with a crabby person or someone who was anything other than happy, it affected you right? In some sort of way it did, sometimes that goes unnoticed though.
Next let’s look at the people themselves in the study, some will show up with huge beliefs that this will in fact “cure” them. Others will think it’s all a crock of crap. So how do we know that they wouldn’t just get a result taking anything?
Well we do have that info, because there is always a placebo in a trial. Which call me crazy but shouldn’t we be studying the people who got a full recovery off of a fucking water pill?
Lol the headlines always say, who still didn’t get a result but I feel that if 1 out of 100 people got a cure off of a water/sugar pill than we should study these people.
No matter what, there will always be a percentage of people who get better no matter what they are taking. So how do we know we are not just working off of collective cognitive bias here to get these results?
Finally, let’s say the study involved 20,000 people, so what there are over 7 billion on the planet. That is not even close to 1% sample size.
Now we have not even started to talk about the risks of taking a methylphenidate long term aka Riatlin/Adderall, which funny enough as I write this there is a trending story on Facebook on how use of methylphenidate increases heart and cardiovascular disease and wear & tear.
My point in this article was to stretch your mind, to challenge you to ask smarter questions. At the end of the day prescription drugs DO work for some people and while the long term effects are quite unknown we cannot discredit that. Now just because it is A solution, doesn’t mean it’s THE solution.
For me it didn’t work, and I looked for alternative means to the result I wanted and cure myself of these things that I don’t believe were ADHD by in fact a series of other issues that collectively created what is titled as ADHD.