The Creativity of ADHD


The Creativity of ADHD

More insights on a positive side of a “disorder”

The Creativity of ADHD

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is typically described by the problems it presents. It is known as a neurological disorder, marked by distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, which begins in childhood and persists in adults. And, indeed, ADHD may have negative consequences for academic achievement, employment performance, and social relationships.

But ADHD may also bring with it an advantage: the ability to think more creatively. Three aspects of creative cognition are divergent thinking, conceptual expansion and overcoming knowledge constraints. Divergent thinking, or the ability to think of many ideas from a single starting point, is a critical part of creative thinking. Previous research has established that individuals with ADHD are exceptionally good at divergent thinking tasks, such as inventing creative new uses for everyday objects, and brainstorming new features for an innovative cell phone device. In a new study, college students with ADHD scored higher than non-ADHD peers on two tasks that tapped conceptual expansion and the ability to overcome knowledge constraints. Together with previous research, these new findings link ADHD to all three elements of the creative cognition trio.

Prior knowledge can be an obstacle to creativity. When we look to a prior model or example for inspiration, we may actually become stuck: designers refer to this as “fixation.” In creative generation research, when participants are given examples before a task that requires them to invent something new, such as a new toy, their inventions tend to incorporate aspects of the examples—and thus are less novel. The ability to overcome recently presented information is therefore essential to creative thinking.

Similarly, knowledge of the world can stunt one’s ability to imagine it differently. For instance, if asked to invent an animal or fruit that might exist on another planet, most people would start by thinking of a typical animal or fruit on Earth and then modify it somewhat into an “alien” version. Research suggests that when people invent alien creations based on specific Earth examples, the creations are rated as less original compared to those not inspired by specific examples. The key to being creative under these conditions is conceptual expansion, or the ability to loosen the boundaries of concepts. For instance, a paperclip is designed to hold papers together. By conceptual expansion, one might think beyond this definition and imagine a paperclip as something else— such as a tool to pry open the battery compartment of a wristwatch. In creating an alien animal, one might assume that the animal would need to be bilaterally symmetrical, as most Earth animals possess this attribute. Conceptual expansion might allow one to imagine an animal with an asymmetrical form, which differs from a typical Earth animal.

Evidence suggests that ADHD may offer some protection from the constraining effects of knowledge. In a study of adolescents, a group with ADHD was compared to a group of non-ADHD peers on a toy invention task. Participants were first shown a set of example toys that shared specific features (e.g., a ball), then asked to invent new toys that were very different from any existing toys. The toys invented by the ADHD group included fewer elements of the task examples compared to toys created by the ADHD group. In the same study, there were no differences between the ADHD and non-ADHD groups on a conceptual expansion task. However, a study of college students found that, compared to non-ADHD peers, ADHD students showed a broader scope of semantic activation—which is the “turning on” of concepts and ideas that are stored in memory—and is correlated with conceptual expansion in other research. Given evidence that linked ADHD to higher divergent thinking and ability to overcome the constraining effect of task examples, it seemed intuitive to look more closely at the relationship between ADHD and the third element of creative thinking, conceptual expansion.

I compared college students with and without ADHD on two tasks. In the first, I told participants to imagine they worked for an advertising agency and that they’d been asked to invent names for new products in three categories (pasta, nuclear elements, and pain relievers). For each category, six examples were provided that shared certain endings (e.g., pain relievers ending in –ol, such as Midol, Tylenol, and Panadol). I then instructed participants to invent a name for a new product in each category without using any aspects of the examples provided. And then, to explore conceptual expansion, I asked participants to draw and describe a fruit that might exist on another planet very different from Earth. The creations were to be as creative as possible and not duplicate any fruit that existed on Earth.

As expected, the ADHD students were less constrained by task examples on the product label invention task; compared to non-ADHD peers, ADHD students were less likely to include the example endings, yet invented labels that were equally descriptive of the product category. On the alien fruit task, the ADHD students invented fruits that were rated as more original and less representative of Earth fruit, compared to non-ADHD students. And while the groups were comparable in their inclusion of typical fruit features, such as seeds and stems, the ADHD students were more likely to include atypical features such as antenna, tongues, straws, and hammers. The ADHD students also demonstrated higher conceptual expansion by violating conventional boundaries of the fruit category—for instance by making the fruit poisonous or adding properties of non-living things such as tools. Similar results have been reported for gifted individuals in a non-ADHD population.

At first glance, non-conformity and conceptual expansion may not sound very impressive. But, in the context of creative innovation, a small change may unlock a breakthrough. Take the sewing needle, for example. The basic design (eye on the blunt end for threading) dates back to our Denosoyan ancestors, at least 50,000 years ago. Then, in the early 1800s, inventor Balthasar Krems flipped that design upside-down to create the world’s first eye-pointed needle—which paved the way for the sewing machine.

ADHD may create difficulties for individuals in many contexts that required focused, sustained attention—such as school, where students are expected to sit still and pay attention. On the other hand, the same distractibility and chaotic mind can give people with ADHD an edge when it comes to creative, original thinking. This new study suggests that ADHD may be especially beneficial when the goal is to create or invent something new without being locked into—and constrained by—old models or conventions. The innovative, original thinking style of people with ADHD may be a great fit for innovative fields where it’s an advantage to be on the cutting edge.

Study suggests a direct link between screen time and ADHD in teens


Image: Study suggests a direct link between screen time and ADHD in teens

Adding to the list of health concerns associated with excessive screen time, one study suggests that there could be a link between the length of time teenagers spend online and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The two-year study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), observed more than 2,500 high school students from Los Angeles.

Digital media and the attention span of teenagers

A team of researchers analyzed data from the teenagers who had shorter attention spans the more they became involved in different digital media platforms for the duration of the experiment.

The JAMA study observed adolescents aged 15 and 16 years periodically for two years. The researchers asked the teenagers about the frequency of their online activities and if they had experienced any of the known symptoms of ADHD.

As the teenagers’ digital engagement rose, their reported ADHD symptoms also went up by 10 percent. The researchers noted that based on the results of the study, even if digital media usage does not definitively cause ADHD, it could cause symptoms that would result in the diagnosis of ADHD or require pharmaceutical treatment.

Experts believe that ADHD begins in the early stages of childhood development. However, the exact circumstances, regardless if they are biological or environmental, have yet to be determined.

Adam Leventhal, a University of Southern California psychologist and senior author of the study, shared that the research team is now analyzing the occurrence of new symptoms that were not present when the study began.

The power of the elements: Discover Colloidal Silver Mouthwash with quality, natural ingredients like Sangre de Drago sap, black walnut hulls, menthol crystals and more. Zero artificial sweeteners, colors or alcohol. Learn more at the Health Ranger Store and help support this news site.

Other studies about digital engagement have implied that there is an inverse relationship with happiness. The less people used digital media, the more they reported feeling an overall sense of happiness. (Related: The social media paradox: Teens who are always online feel more lonely.)

The researchers concluded that the teenagers might have exhibited ADHD symptoms from the outset due to other factors. However, it is possible that excessive digital media usage can still aggravate these symptoms.

Fast facts about ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is commonly diagnosed in children. However, it can also be diagnosed in older individuals. ADHD can be difficult to diagnose. Since several symptoms of ADHD are similar to normal childhood behaviors, the disorder itself can be hard to detect.

The symptoms of ADHD may include forgetting completed tasks, having difficulty sitting still, having difficulty staying organized, and having trouble concentrating or focusing.

  • Men are at least three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.
  • During their lifetimes, at least 13 percent of men will be diagnosed with ADHD, as opposed to only 4.2 percent in women.
  • The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven years old.
  • The symptoms of the condition will usually manifest when a child is aged three to six years old.
  • ADHD is not solely a childhood disorder. At least four percent of American adults older than 18 may have ADHD.

This disorder does not increase an individual’s risk for other conditions or diseases. However, some people with ADHD, mostly children, have a higher chance of experiencing different coexisting conditions. These can make social situations, like school, more difficult for kids with ADHD.

Some coexisting conditions of ADHD may include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bed-wetting problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorders and difficulties (e.g., antisocial behavior, fighting, and oppositional defiant disorder)
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Tourette syndrome

Minimize your child’s ADHD risk by reading more articles with tips on how to manage their internet use at Addiction.news.

Sources include:

Lifezette.com

Healthline.com

ADHD and ADD are FAKE disorders stemming from bad schooling practices, HFCS and artificial food coloring


Image: ADHD and ADD are FAKE disorders stemming from bad schooling practices, HFCS and artificial food coloring

Attention-deficit disorders are defined as brain disorders marked by ongoing patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, to an extent that it interferes with development and functioning. Symptoms include wandering off task, difficulty sustaining focus, disorganization, defiance, constant movement, fidgeting, tapping, talking, and the inability to delay immediate gratification. Sounds like every adult who’s jacked up on coffee while stuck sitting on a hard chair at some boring work meeting while playing on their smart devices and completely disconnected from the speaker and the content being presented.

Today’s elementary and secondary school curriculum and testing is still based on memorizing rote facts (which are mostly inaccurate), filling in the “blanks,” taking multiple choice quizzes and tests, and raising hands to answer questions posed by the teachers.

Meanwhile, most school breakfasts and lunches (including what most kids bring from home) are chock full of processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, concentrated salts, pesticides, and fluoride (think of the water fountains). Children and teens are consuming pop tarts, sugar-laden cereals, soda and energy drinks without knowing the detrimental behavior effects. Plus, kids eat candy throughout the day, some coming from home and the rest from teachers who use genetically modified treats as rewards for “good behavior.” How ironic.

What year did Christopher Columbus arrive in America, and what are the long division steps for dividing 2,437 by 389? Exactly. Who cares.

First off, let’s address what kids are learning in school these days, and how most of the curriculum is cannon fodder, including outdated “skills” and “strategies” that don’t even apply to the real world in any form at all. Unless you’re appearing on the Jeopardy game show, trivia doesn’t matter at all. As for long division, nobody needs to know that dead dinosaur at all. We have computers, smart devices and even watches with calculators now.

100% organic essential oil sets now available for your home and personal care, including Rosemary, Oregano, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Clary Sage and more, all 100% organic and laboratory tested for safety. A multitude of uses, from stress reduction to topical first aid. See the complete listing here, and help support this news site.

Kids don’t engage learning unless they’re engaged in collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and citizenship (The 5 C’s of 21st century learning).

Rote memory learning drives any human being crazy. Children are brilliant, and no curriculum in the world that’s based on rote memorization, boring worksheets, and taking multiple choice tests will ever keep them quiet, still, and “paying attention” for more than a couple minutes. Students want to know the answers to their questions like, “What does this have to do with the real world?” and “How does this help us get smarter?”

https://www.real.video/embed/5834171584001

Every single “symptom” of ADHD and ADD is a symptom of poorly planned educational systems, lack of real world connections, and bad diet

In the DSM-IV (The American Psychiatric Association manual and the pages describing diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficit Disorders), any children who can’t pay attention for extended periods of time, who don’t complete their homework, or who are often distracted by “extraneous stimuli” are in need of prescription psyche medications. According to DSM-IV, “symptoms must be present for at least 6 months …” and required to cause “some impairment in at least two settings” for a diagnosis of a brain disorder to be applied. The DSM-V is even worse, and offers no clear guidelines. Well, did the DSM-IV offer any “clear” guidelines? What’s clear is that psychiatrists can now diagnose ANY child or adolescent anytime with ADD or ADHD.

What’s clear is that students need real world education instead of memorizing facts for tests that they completely forget three days later. What’s clear is that science proves that artificial food colorings, soda, and high fructose corn syrup cause severe hypersensitivity reactions, affect behavior, reduce cognition, deplete the retention of information, and cause mental distress. Where’s all that information in the DSM manuals?

15 Million pounds of artificial dyes are put in U.S. foods, drinks, candy, and medicine every year

There has been a 55 percent increase in U.S. toxic food dyes just since the year 2000. There are over 15 million pounds of dyes put in foods, drinks, candy and medicine every year, and the FDA does nothing to protect consumers from the barrage of poison.

Did you know that the industrial-based food dye Yellow #5 affects behavior and induces severe hypersensitivity reactions? Fact: Teenagers who drink more than one large soda (4 glasses) per day experience mental health difficulties, including hyperactivity and mental distress, according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health. Those same soda drinkers also score lower on tests, per the scientific research conducted.

In conclusion, if your child is “suffering” from ADD or ADHD symptoms, before you rush to a medical quack for SSRI drugs that cause severe depression, suicides, and homicidal tendencies, change your child’s diet to organic foods (stop buying school meals all together), and talk to the school’s principals and administrators about engaging the students with some real world curriculum.

Sources for this article include:

HelpforADD.com

NIMH.nih.gov

TotallyADD.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NCBI.nlm.nih.gov

Food.news

Study: Having a Parent With Type 1 Diabetes May Raise ADHD Risk


In a recent study, researchers from Sweden, China, and New York City looked to see if a family history of type 1 diabetes was tied to a higher risk of ADHD in children.

People with type 1 diabetes were tracked using the Swedish National Hospital Discharge Register and Swedish Outpatient Register in Sweden and were then linked to the Swedish Multi-Generation Register to identify their children.

ADHD and type 1 diabetes

Cox regression analysis was then used to calculate the hazard ratio of ADHD in children of patients with type 1 diabetes compared with rates of ADHD in children who don’t have parents with type 1 diabetes.

The researchers gathered data from 15,615 individuals born after one of their parents was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and then controlled for various factors.

Is ADHD More Likely if a Parent Has Type 1 Diabetes?

They found that children from type 1 parents had a much higher risk for developing ADHD (hazard ratio of 1.29).

The higher risk belonged to children born to a mother with type 1 diabetes versus father with type 1 diabetes but the difference was deemed “not statistically significant” by the researchers.

The study authors conclude in their study abstract that “In this retrospective cohort study, we found that a parental history of [type 1 diabetes] was associated with a 29% increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.”

They add that “the underlying mechanisms need to be explored in future studies”.

12 Natural Alternatives to Adderall for ADHD


Some content on this page was disabled on 10/19/2018 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from COGNITUNE. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/

Fluoride Officially Classified as a Neurotoxin in World’s Most Prestigious Medical Journal.


In recent years, many have protested to have industrial sodium fluoride removed from the water supply, as evidence states it is harmful from many scientific sources.

The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, had labeled fluoride as a neurotoxin alongside lead, arsenic and mercury. 

Author, Stefan Smyle, broke the news and explained by the Facebook page “Occupy Food,” which linked the published report from The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 3, in March 2014, by authors Dr. Philip J. Landrigan and Dr. Phillippe Grandjean.

Industrial Chemicals Identified

In the summarization of the report, a review examined and found five different neurotoxicants: polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, lead, toluene, and methylmercury. The summary further states that 6 other developmental neurotoxicants were identified: fluoride, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, manganese, chlorpyrifos, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and tetrachloroethane.
ADHD, Dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments

In the report from The Lancet, the authors came up with a global prevention strategy stating, “Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.”

Included in the report, it was noted that neurodevelopment disabilities, including dyslexia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and many various cognitive impairments, are on the rise in millions of children around the world, in what is called a “pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity.” They further say: “To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.”

The report correlates with the 2013 findings that was found in a Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health. It found that children who lived in highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than children who live in areas with low levels of fluoride in their water supply.

Fluoride also linked to Cancers

Fluoride has been linked to various forms of cancer, and has been in our drinking water. It is different in comparison with the natural calcium fluoride, that is used in dental offices and in drinking water supplies.

Across all of North America, fluoride is in the water supply, but in Europe it is banned and is the case in many other countries.

The ADHD Controversy.


ADHD was already a controversial diagnosis; are Jerome Kagan’s recent criticisms of it warranted?

Is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a legitimate diagnosis or is it mostly a fraud? The answer has important implications for many individuals and for society. The diagnosis is accepted as legitimate by the psychiatric profession, but continues to have its vehement critics. Recently, noted psychologist Jerome Kagan has been giving tremendous weight to these criticisms by calling ADHD mostly a fraud. There are significant problems with his criticism, however.

What is ADHD?

ADHD was first described in children in 1902, and was understood as an impulse control disorder. It was not formally recognized as a diagnosis, however, until the second edition of the DSM in 1968. The first approved drug used to treat ADHD was benzedrine in 1936. Ritalin, which is still used to treat the disorder, was approved in 1955.

Here is the official DSM diagnosis:

  • A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development
    • Six or more of the symptoms have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities. Please note: The symptoms are not solely a manifestation of oppositional behaviour, defiance, hostility, or failure to understand tasks or instructions. For older adolescents and adults (age 17 and older), five or more symptoms are required
  • Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present prior to age 12 years
  • Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g. at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities)
  • There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, academic or occupational functioning
  • The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder and are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, substance intoxication or withdrawal)

There are a few aspects of this diagnosis worth pointing out. First, this is what we call a clinical diagnosis, it is based entirely on signs and symptoms without any objective diagnostic tests. You cannot see ADHD on an MRI scan of the brain, an EEG, or a blood test. This is not unusual in medicine, especially for brain disorders. The same is true, for example, of migraine headaches. It is entirely a clinical diagnosis.

This, by itself, should not call the diagnosis into question. Brain function relies not only on the health of the cells and the absence of identifiable anatomical or gross pathology. It also depends on the pattern of connections among brain cells, the density of their connections, and the details of their biochemistry. We are just starting to be able to image the brain at this level.

As an example, raise someone in a closet for 20 years and I guarantee you they will have a psychological disorder, but you would not be able to tell that from looking at their brain with any tool we currently have.

Because mood, thought, and behavior largely rely on brain function that cannot be imaged, psychiatrists have relied on elaborate schemes of clinical diagnoses to at least have a common language for thinking and talking about mental illness. It is imperfect, and extremely fuzzy around the edges, but it has its utility.

That fuzziness is partly based in the limits of our current technology and understanding. But it is also based in the fact that humans are neurologically heterogeneous and the fact that the brain is an extremely complex system. This means that the same end result (behavior, for example) might result from almost endless permutations of interactions among various systems in the brain and their interaction with the environment.

You can see this in the formal description of ADHD above. There is a sincere attempt to capture a real neurological phenomenon, and to filter out other factors that might contribute to or cause similar symptoms. Signs used to establish the diagnosis cannot be temporary, or isolated to only one environment, or related to other conditions or situations that might provoke them. You need to have many symptoms persistent over a long time without other identifiable causes and to a sufficient degree that they cause demonstrable harm.

There is also an attempt to separate out those who have a real disorder from the typical spectrum of human behavior. This is also a common problem in medicine. Many disorders, like high blood pressure, do not have a sharp demarcation line. The curves for normal blood pressure and hypertension overlap. Experts have to decide where to draw the line, either capturing more people with the disorder but also more people just at the upper range of normal, vs excluding those who are just at the upper range of normal but also then missing more people with the disorder.

Eventually such clinical questions evolve from, “Who has the disorder” to “Who benefits from treatment for the disorder.” That is the real question.

Neuroanatomical Correlates

Despite the fact that ADHD is a fuzzy clinical entity, we have made progress in understanding what is happening in the brain of most people with ADHD. The current consensus is that ADHD is a deficit of executive functions. The frontal lobes carry out many critical functions, some considered executive functions: they include being able to focus your attention, maintain focus, switch among tasks, filter out distractions, and impulse control. Executive function includes the ability to weigh the probable outcomes of your behavior and then make high-level decisions about how you will behave.

As an adult neurologist I see patients with executive function disorder frequently, usually from head trauma. Car accidents in particular result in frontal lobe damage as it is common to hit your head against the windshield during many types of accidents. Patients frequently develop the symptoms of ADHD after frontal head trauma. They have poor focus, and poor impulse control. In one dramatic case a patient’s entire personality changed. She lost all ability to control or moderate her behavior (as have others). Often these patients respond favorably to the same stimulants we use to treat ADHD.

When we look at the brains of those who meet the clinical diagnosis of ADHD with our modern imaging techniques, such as fMRI and EEG, we find a similar pattern of brain dysfunction:

Convergent data from neuroimaging, neuropsychology, genetics and neurochemical studies consistently point to the involvement of the frontostriatal network as a likely contributor to the pathophysiology of ADHD. This network involves the lateral prefrontal cortex, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, the caudate nucleus and putamen. Moreover, a growing literature demonstrates abnormalities affecting other cortical regions and the cerebellum.

At this point there is no reasonable disagreement about the fact that ADHD is a disorder of brain function. Children who meet the strict diagnostic criteria are demonstrably different, in consistent and predictable ways, than children who do not (controlling for other possible factors). They have impaired executive functions, and we can see this in changes to the relevant parts of the brain. We still have a lot to learn (again, the brain is complex) but a consistent picture is emerging.

Jerome Kagan’s criticism

Jerome Kagan is a preeminent psychologist. This gives his opinions about a psychological topic a great deal of weight. The press loves him because he has a sensational story to tell and he has impeccable credential. Articles about Kagan often spend an entire paragraph or two touting those credentials.

Unfortunately this is a common mistake that mainstream journalists make when discussing scientific topics. They confuse the expertise of an individual with scientific authority. No individual ever represents the consensus of scientific opinion, they can only represent their own quirky opinions (which may or may not be in line with the consensus).

This is a classic example of this error. Kagan’s opinions do not conform to the current consensus of scientific opinion, but he is presented as an unimpeachable authority. Further, all reporting that I have seen on Kagan’s opinions regarding ADHD fail to put his expertise into a reasonable context. Kagan is a psychologist. He is not a psychiatrist, nor a neuroscientist.

Often related fields covering the same question have different opinions. Geologists and paleontologists disagree about the relative contribution of a meteor impact to the extinction of the dinosaurs at the K-Pg boundary. If a reporter talked only to a geologist they would not capture the true state of the broader scientific opinion.

Many psychologists have opinions about psychiatry that do not reflect the consensus of psychiatric opinion. In essence, even though Kagan has relevant expertise, he is not a clinician, and therefore is an outsider when it comes to the practice of psychiatry. He also does not seem to be up to date on the neuroscience of ADHD.

Yet his recent interview with Spiegel is being widely reports as definitive criticism of the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Here are some of the highlights: He says:

Let’s go back 50 years. We have a 7-year-old child who is bored in school and disrupts classes. Back then, he was called lazy. Today, he is said to suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). That’s why the numbers have soared.

We are familiar with a similar criticism of autism diagnoses. Yes, diagnostic practices have changed. Awareness of the diagnosis has changed. The implication here is that the 1950s diagnosis (a bored child) was better than the current diagnosis of ADHD.

But, if you recall the diagnostic criteria from above, displaying ADHD behavior in school alone is not sufficient to establish the diagnosis. So, Kagan’s example is simply wrong. The child in his example should not be diagnosed with ADHD.

Being generous, he may be implying only that doctors are overdiagnosing ADHD and not following their own diagnostic criteria. This is a real issue, but here is a far more nuanced discussion from an actual clinician:

ADHD is real—it’s not made up. But it exists on a continuum. There’s no marker or white line that says you’re in the “definite” or “highly likely” group. There’s almost unanimous agreement that five or six percent clearly have enough of these symptoms for an ADHD diagnosis. Then there’s the next group, where the diagnosis is more of a judgment call, and for these kids, behavioral therapy might work. And then there’s a third group, on the borderline. These are the ones we’re worried about being pushed into an inaccurate diagnosis.

The real issue is – are schools pushing for more kids in the gray zone to be diagnosed because of funding and regulation issues? Also, there is a real “demarcation problem” with the diagnosis, and we have to carefully consider the risks and benefits of using looser or tighter criteria. These discussions are happening within the profession, and are very evidence-based and nuanced. Kagan’s criticism, by comparison, is shooting from the hip and simplistic. (I will add the caveat that the interview may not reflect the full depth of his opinion, but he is responsible for how he communicates to the public, especially given how widely his opinions have been spread.)

He continues:

SPIEGEL: Experts speak of 5.4 million American children who display the symptoms typical of ADHD. Are you saying that this mental disorder is just an invention?

Kagan: That’s correct; it is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.

That characterization, while you might dismiss it as hyperbole, is irresponsible. “Every” child? Again, this does not meet the official diagnostic criteria for ADHD which requires more than just not doing well in school. His reference to “dopamine metabolism” is just weird. It is true that some studies show some children with ADHD have impaired reward system function. This may be playing a role in some subtypes of ADHD. It is not a core feature of ADHD, however, and the evidence is still very preliminary. Invoking what is essentially a preliminary side point about the neuroanatomical correlates of ADHD as reason to doubt the diagnosis is, to be kind, highly problematic.

Kagan then broadens his criticism to encompass psychiatry in general:

We could get philosophical and ask ourselves: “What does mental illness mean?” If you do interviews with children and adolescents aged 12 to 19, then 40 percent can be categorized as anxious or depressed. But if you take a closer look and ask how many of them are seriously impaired by this, the number shrinks to 8 percent. Describing every child who is depressed or anxious as being mentally ill is ridiculous. Adolescents are anxious, that’s normal. They don’t know what college to go to. Their boyfriend or girlfriend just stood them up. Being sad or anxious is just as much a part of life as anger or sexual frustration.

This is a typical anti-mental illness statement. This is simply a straw man of what psychiatry does.

He is saying that we should not confuse the normal range of behavior with a disorder, as if this is a huge insight. This understanding has already been incorporated into clinical thinking. As I pointed out above – there are great pains taken when defining mental disorders to separate true disorders from the healthy range of human behavior.

Further, being “seriously impaired” is already part of the diagnosis, so what is he talking about?

He goes on to argue that some people are depressed in response to a life event. Right – psychiatrists call this a “reactive depression” because it is already recognized, and not confused with a chronic depression. That is why the diagnosis of clinical depression excludes depression that follows a major trigger, and must continue for greater than six months to be considered a disorder.

From reading the entire interview I am left wondering, exactly what Kagan is criticizing? He is certainly not criticizing the standard of care within psychiatry. He seems to be tilting at a straw man of the worst possible malpractice that deviates from that standard. He is raising issues as if these are not already part of a vigorous evidence-based discussion within psychiatry itself.

A kernel of truth

We often take a sharply critical approach to medical science here at SBM. Self-criticism is critical to improvement. That is the essence of science itself, it is designed for error correction through self-criticism.

Our nuanced position is that science basically works, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Enemies of science, however, or those with a specific ideological axe to grind, use the same evidence to argue that the institution of science is fatally flawed and can be comfortably dismissed or ignored.

I find the same is true of much of the public criticism of psychiatry. There is a lot to criticize in the profession (as in medicine in general), and a lot of room for improvement. Some of that is just the current status of the science. We don’t know everything, and yet medicine (including psychiatry) is an applied science. We have to make important decisions with limited information.

There are also many issues of quality control. Medicine is hard, and keeping quality standards high is challenging.

So there are many legitimate criticisms of ADHD and psychiatry, but that does not mean ADHD is a fraud. The scientific evidence, both clinical and neuroscience, is robust. Kagan’s criticisms are mostly greatly exaggerated, or they are straw men because they are already incorporated into the standard of care.

Unfortunately, you will not be exposed to any of that from reading any of the popular press breathlessly reporting that ADHD is a fraud.

Source:https://sciencebasedmedicine.org

Renowned Harvard Psychologist Says ADHD Is Largely A Fraud


Renowned Harvard Psychologist Says ADHD Is Largely A Fraud

http://curiousmindmagazine.com/harvard-psychologist-says-adhd-largely-fraud/

 

An irritable, inattentive, and disruptive child: Is it ADHD or bipolar disorder?


Differentiating the irritable, oppositional child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from the child with bipolar disorder (BD) often is difficult. To make matters more complicated, 50% to 70% of patients with BD have comorbid ADHD.1,2 Accordingly, clinicians are often faced with the moody, irritable, dis­ruptive child whose parents want to know if he (she) is “bipolar” to try to deal with oppositional and mood behaviors.

In this article, we present an approach that will help you distinguish these 2 disorders from each other.

Read more:

http://www.mdedge.com/currentpsychiatry/article/83302/adhd/irritable-inattentive-and-disruptive-child-it-adhd-or-bipolar

source:mdedge.com

Could Psychedelics Be The Future Of Children’s Medicine?


Since their discovery, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin (which makes certain mushrooms so magical) have collected tons of cultural baggage. Decades of recreational use obscure their pharmacological origin stories and potential medical applications. But today, many researchers are optimistic that the compounds could treat mental health issues ranging from depression to autistic spectrum disorder without the side effects or addictive nature of today’s prescription drugs.

magic mushrooms

While drug prohibition made research into psychedelics impossible for most of the 20thcentury, restrictions were lifted in the 1990s. Promising results already surfaced, including a pair of studies published in late 2016 showing that psilocybin use eased depression and anxiety for terminal cancer patients.

As the medical director of the Heffter Institute, George Greer explores medical possibilities for psilocybin and other psychedelics. He believes the future of psychedelic research holds vast potential. And while he cautioned extreme care with regards to dispensing it to the developing mind of a child, he predicted possible pediatric applications for psychedelics within the 21stcentury.

Solving The Mystery of Mushrooms

While there’s been increased research into psychedelics in recent years, researchers don’t know exactly how psilocybin works in the brain. The compound interacts with receptors for serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood and affects functions including sleep, appetite, memory and sexual desire. But, according to Greer, the details of that relationship are unknown. In fact, psilocybin may adjust or change the way serotonin receptors work in a lasting way. “How that leads to symptom reduction is a major question,” Greer says. “We don’t know for sure. But with most psychiatric drugs, the mechanism of action is not well known at all.”

Wikimedia Commons

The Psychedelic Shutdown

Thanks to brain regions that create what’s called the default mode network, your thought-organ is always busy. Repetitive thoughts cycle constantly in the background of our minds. It’s part of our identity, for good and bad — it can reinforce patterns of behavior our conscious mind knows are unhealthy. Psychedelics temporarily shut down that network, and the pause allows for a different perspective on your own behavior. “Those thoughts are silent, so new perspectives can come into the mind,” Greer said.

Tripping Away Addiction

Paradoxical though it may sound, psychedelic compounds may be a boon for parents of teens struggling with addiction. Before it was criminalized, researchers and addiction experts including Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, believed psychedelics had great potential to combat addiction. “With addictions, they would ask why am I doing this? Why am I doing this self-destructive thing?” Greer says. “It’s an emotionally painful realization.”

mdma pills

LSD Versus ADHD

Researchers haven’t explored whether psychedelics could help treat attention deficit disorders, but, per Greer, anecdotal evidence suggests it could. Because even though psychedelics travel a different neurochemical circuit than that associated with ADHD they still seem to calm some symptoms. “ADHD is linked to dopamine and norepinephrine receptors, which psilocybin has no effect on,” Greer says. “There are reports from people on their own that micro-dosing LSD, meaning a dose so small they don’t feel the effects of LSD directly, helps with attention and focus.”

The Autism And Psychedelic Connection

In the 1950s, LSD was given to autistic children and it showed benefits in their behavior. “Right now another study is in process of using MDMA for adults with autistic spectrum disorder,” Greer says. The research follows anecdotal reports of MDMA helping people on the autism spectrum relate more socially. MDMA appears to activate parts of the brain that help people read expressions and ease anxieties related to social communications.

psychedelic tunnel

Will Kids Be Tripping Anytime Soon?

Your pediatrician isn’t going to prescribe your kid LSD anytime soon. Greer says that while there are promising indicators, research is still in very early stages. Ethical rules governing testing drugs on children — and common sense — keep researchers with psychedelics away from kids. “Children’s brains are developing and you don’t want to risk disturbing that development in an unhealthy way,” says Greer. “So there has to be a very clear and good reason to believe it will help the children and not cause problems before doing the research.”

Source:www.fatherly.com

%d bloggers like this: