Currently viewing the tag: "ADHD"

human_guinea_pigsHow does it feel to be a human medical guinea pig, part of vast research project to determine whether ADHD is a true medical condition or not? And also to determine whether the current prescribed treatment—pharmaceutical speed—is a valuable treatment option for said potential disorder? Forget that the researchers (scientists, doctors, politicians, school officials, teachers, parents) have already made up their minds before the results have come in—that’s today’s medical research, philosophy and practice whether you like it or not. But how does it feel that your children are the ones being indiscriminately tested on? Oh wait…you don’t believe me…ah, I see…well then:

A recent study now suggests that Ritalin and other speed drugs regularly fed to children might cause long-term brain changes. You don’t say? Gosh, I recall some quack with a blog reporting that vociferously over the last few years… Yes, according to the study, users of methylphenidate (most commonly sold as Ritalin) had higher levels of a protein called the dopamine transporter in their brains after one year of treatment compared to before they starting taking the drug. And these increased levels may lead to future drug tolerance, and get this…”could result in more severe inattention”!

Dopamine_TransporterScientists have speculated that people with ADHD naturally have more dopamine transporters in their brains, but according to study researcher Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., the new study suggests that the increase comes from the drug treatment itself and is not associated with the so-called condition alone. Prior to the study, none of the participants had ever been treated with ADHD drugs.

Even scarier is that this study only looked at the effects following one year of speed medication therapy. It is unknown what the longer-term effects might be. Do you still feel good about subjecting your kid to an ongoing medical study?

Among study participants, a 24% increase in the number of dopamine transporters was found in some areas of the brain, while there was no increase in dopamine transporters in a group of healthy participants who did not take Ritalin.

doctor worship (Copy)So my question to parents is, “Why?” Why do some of you so unquestioningly trust the authority of a profession that treats with dangerous drugs first, does research later? Isn’t anyone else out there uncomfortable with the notions of, “We believe that possibly…,” “We think it might…,” and other rationalizations of uncertainty when it comes to the health of your children? I would never, ever, ever subject my child to drugs because some arrogant professionals tell me that they “believe it might help.” Sorry but that’s sloppy parenting.

Unfortunately, too many people still consider medical science their ultimate health authority. No doubt, modern medicine does some pretty incredible things, but I am not placing my faith in a practice and industry that often acts before it knows…not when it comes to the health of me and my loved ones. Yes, I am offended by the modern medical approach to what I have so openly called a “non-condition.” ADD is NOT a disorder. We all have it when we are forced to endure something that doesn’t inspire us. Drugging our children because we can’t understand how to tap into their inspiration is not the answer. Hopefully this study is the beginning of the end to this massive public guinea pig project…but I doubt it.

I keep talking of a better way to view and understand ADD, but what exactly do I mean by that?  I’m going to discuss the idea here that classifying ADD as a “disorder” in need of treatment is erroneous.  I propose that by looking at the brain state currently labeled ADD in a different light, one of uniqueness and not dysfunction at all, we should be better able to help people who express this trait to find inspiration in their lives and thrive, academically and functionally.

I discussed in last post the numerous theories that have attempted to explain the cause of ADD, but so far they have all come up short.  From genetics to environment to evolutionary theories, no explanation has been sufficient to account for what they have found (or not found) regarding ADD.  I have also explained how the parameters for the disorder have grown throughout history–the wider they become, the more people that get the diagnosis.  Although this practice has identified many different similarities among people suspected of having an attention disorder, it has also increased the number of similar differences; in other words, too many symptoms blur the already fuzzy lines.

Further, I have pointed out that there are no clear-cut markers to be found in people diagnosed with ADD, unlike those found in other diseases like AIDS (HIV+), hepatitis (elevated liver enzymes), and prostate cancer (elevated PSA) to name a few.  Brain changes have been noted in some studies, but they are complicated by the fact that they have never been able to be reproduced in further studies.  One study did find that the brains of 50% of subjects labeled ADHD have slower maturation of their frontal cortices relative to “normal” controls, but I contend that it presupposes ADD to be an actual disorder, which I emphatically reject (aside from the possibility of the brain changes resulting from stimulant drug treatments).

I am certain that the neurological irregularity we currently classify as ADD is a normal variant to the mental attentive function we all exhibit.  Everybody, including those labeled ADD, has the ability to focus their attention at various moments in their consciousness.  The person labeled ADD, however, has difficulty focusing attention at preset moments defined by current cultural norms, most notably during classroom time.  Because we are all expected to learn which moment requires which behavior, this inability to focus is naturally considered a malfunction.  But is it?

It is my opinion that people exhibiting this normal variation of attention, this inability to concentrate at will, is more a reflection of an uninspired mind toward the subject matter–conventional academics primarily.  This is not news to anybody keeping up with these posts: I’ve made it abundantly clear that I believe the problem lies with teachers having an inability to inspire these normal variant minds.  But let me focus even more: People labeled ADD–we’ll say children primarily, because adults have usually learned to adapt to circumstances (as any successful organism does)–do lose their attention more quickly than the so-called “normals”.  I will not dispute this fact, but it doesn’t mean they are somehow dysfunctional; they are simply unique in their needs.

OK, so far I haven’t said anything that goes against today’s conventional wisdom on ADD.*  But here is the difference: By perceiving this unique variation in attention span as a disorder, it opens the door for a particular kind of fix–primarily stimulant drugs.  This has not only had a minimal effectiveness, but it is likely causing more harm than good both to individuals and to the society at large.

By seeing the unique challenges faced by some children (3-5% worldwide according to the latest figures) as a normal variation of a ubiquitous brain state allows the possibility to help these children wide open.  Seeing how the brain state labeled ADD is merely a different similarity to what we all experience when uninspired allows parents and educators to find out exactly what these children are inspired by.  When accomplished, the task will be to then relate all other subject matter back to the areas of inspiration.  Whew.

I know it sounds simple, but that’s because it is.  It’s universal.  Trying to find the fragmented parts that separate some human beings from others in order to account for a perceived abnormality is futile–we all operate under specific laws.  It’s not that I think the entire historical course of this non-disorder was unnecessary.  It served a sort of ruling out process.  But the evidence has been piling up–there is no there there.  Isn’t it wiser to see how people labeled ADD are similar to us and nurture that?

I do not for a second believe that the hunt for a fragmented cause of ADD, and its subsequent pharmacological solution, will end anytime soon.  But if you are a parent with a child that has trouble conforming to the social norms of focusing in the classroom on subjects that are maddeningly uninspiring, then think twice before attaching the label ADD to that child.  I am certain that the drug solution associated with that life-label will never provide anything more than reliance on drugs; at worst it might even harm your child, physically and/or mentally.

I will touch even further on the current treatment solutions for people labeled ADD in upcoming posts.  Until then, rethink conventional wisdom.

*It has recently come to my attention that my thoughts on this subject are similar to those put forth by the Church of Scientology.  I am NOT a Scientologist.  While I have nothing against Scientology, per se, as I know next to nothing of its philosophical teachings, I merely wish to separate my thoughts from that of any organized group or religion.  I respect all peoples’ choices to believe and worship as they choose fit.

Have you ever wondered how the powers that be determine whether a kid is ADD/ADHD or not?  How do they know…like are there specific tests or markers, an ADD litmus of sorts?  Because remember from last post, the predominant “health” paradigm in the world today is a mechanistic medical model–there’s usually a physical problem–so shouldn’t there be distinct physical evidence?  In the next two posts we’ll investigate each one of these questions as well as consider another, perhaps better, way of looking at things.

To be diagnosed ADD/ADHD, a child has to exhibit particular behaviors for an extended period.  Because a number of other disorders have similar (if not exactly the same) symptoms as ADD, it’s important for the diagnosing doctor, school nurse, teacher or principal (ya don’t think so?…then I’ve got a bridge to sell ya…) to be able to differentiate between this behavior disorder and all others that cause lack of focus.

Yes, that’s right, I said a behavioral disorder.  That’s a crucial distinction to be made for ADD; in other words, NO PHYSICAL MARKER–no specific test or neurophysiological change that can be measured, just the observation of a professional.  Don’t worry, medical science is working hard to find that marker.  And as I always say, “If you look hard enough, you’re bound to find something.”  But, I know, you’d think after more than 100 years, and being the best studied disorder in all of medicine that, well…

The signs necessary to classify a child (or adult) as ADD are the following (six or more must be present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for the developmental level):

  • Inattention:
  1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  2. Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  4. Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  5. Often has trouble organizing activities.
  6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (such as toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  8. Is often easily distracted.
  9. Often forgetful in daily activities.

For hyperactivity-impulsiveness (six or more must be present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for the developmental level):

  •  Hyperactivity:
  1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  3. Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
  4. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
  5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
  6. Often talks excessively.
  • Impulsiveness:
  1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  2. Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
  3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (example: butts into conversations or games).

Interestingly, these are the criteria used in the U.S.; they come from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).  In Europe, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) is used instead.  According to one review, use of the DSM criteria increases the likelihood of an ADD diagnosis 3-4 times more than if the ICD-10 is used.

And what causes ADD…according to the current model, that is?  Well, no one really knows for sure.  Here are a few existing theories:

  • Genetics: Researchers believe that a number of genes may be implicated in the cause of ADD; but alas, with the sheer numbers so high, they admit it doesn’t follow the typical pattern of a “genetic disease” and thus must instead be a complex genetic/epigenetic interaction.  Sigh, always the genetic explanation when things don’t add up.  I always say, “Genetic cause means ‘we just don’t know!'”
  • Hunter vs. farmer theory: the idea that hyperactivity may actually have evolutionary advantages.  So back when man was a doltish hunter, hyperactivity likely served him.  As he moved into more intelligent means of survival (read: farming), requiring more complex tasks, he shed his hyperactivity trait.  People with ADD contain a sort of vestige of this once useful trait.  Uh…any of my hunter readership like to comment on this harebrained hypothesis?
  • Environmental: Cigarette smoke, head injuries, toxins, pesticides, organophosphates, global warming, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
  • Diet: Artificial foods, preservatives, food coloring, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
  • Social: Family dysfunction, child abuse, inattentive parents, time in orphanages.
  • Neurological: Underdeveloped neurological pathways, and the list goes on…

In all of this, the pathophysiology (the functional changes) of ADD remain UNCLEAR!!!  Did I get that point across strongly enough?  Many signs, many symptoms, no consensus, many theories…but no clear-cut evidence.  Frickin’ duh!!!  Part 2 tomorrow.

Welcome me back from the dead, with a long awaited followup on ADD.  As I’ve threatened, I’m going to touch on several aspects of ADD in the next few days, starting here with a brief history of the “disorder”.

ADHD was first classified in the 18th century by Scottish-born physician and author, Sir Alexander Crichton.  He described what seemed to be a mental state of inattentiveness that he called “mental restlessness”.

His words: “When born with a person it becomes evident at a very early period of life, and has a very bad effect, inasmuch as it renders him incapable of attending with constancy to any one object of education. But it seldom is in so great a degree as totally to impede all instruction; and what is very fortunate, it is generally diminished with age.” (emphasis mine)

He suggested that children afflicted with this restlessness, or fidgets, should obtain special education and that it was apparent that these children could not focus no matter how hard they tried.  Again his words: “Every public teacher must have observed that there are many to whom the dryness and difficulties of the Latin and Greek grammars are so disgusting that neither the terrors of the rod, nor the indulgence of kind intreaty can cause them to give their attention to them.”

Yeah, no kidding.  And that’s a disorder?

The classification continued to grow in the twentieth century, as one British pediatrician gave a series of lectures to the Royal College of Physicians in London under the name “Goulstonian lectures” on ‘some abnormal psychical conditions in children.’ The doctor’s name was Sir George Frederick Still.

Dr. Still described 43 children that were considered to have serious problems with “sustained attention and self-regulation, who were often aggressive, defiant, resistant to discipline, excessively emotional or passionate, which showed little inhibitory volition, had serious problems with sustained attention and could not learn from the consequences of their actions; though their intellect was normal.”

He further described these children as having a certain “moral defect” without a general impairment of intellect.   Make note, he was describing Moral Control–a “control of action in conformity with the idea of the good of all.”

Still proposed a biological predisposition to this behavioral condition that was probably hereditary in some children and the result of pre- or postnatal injury in others.  Keep that in mind–it will come up later.

ADHD was not the original term given to this condition.  In fact, it has had several in its long history including “minimal brain damage”, “minimal brain dysfunction”, “minimal brain disorder”, “learning/behavioral disabilities” “hyperactivity”, and the aforementioned “Defect of Moral Control.”  ADHD wasn’t used until the mid-20th century, and the definition has grown to such a degree that now there exist three subcategories, one of which is the disorder without hyperactivity.  In fact, the entire description of ADHD–which has been labeled one of the “best researched disorders” in all of medicine–has changed so often that it is a wonder the current definition has stayed intact for the last sixteen years (concomitant drug-therapies have a way of doing that)

Looking at the history of ADD, it is easy to knee-jerk a “but of course it’s a disorder” reaction out of most people.  I mean, come on–how could anybody doubt modern science?  Except for one problem–the science doesn’t show all that much (for a later post).  Oh, no doubt, children…er, people…have a difficulty focusing at various moments or during certain activities, particularly those “to whom the dryness and difficulties of the Latin and Greek grammars are so disgusting.”  No kidding.

Categorizing this normal functioning of the human brain a disorder was understandable during a period when “conformity with the idea of the good of all,” was more than a virtue…it was a freakin’ law whether in the books or not.  Any behavior considered morally defect might lead one into an insane asylum, or even subject to a number of “medical treatments” that today we consider barbaric (think lobotomy).

I in no way wish to suggest a conspiracy of sorts…but modern science did what it could with the information it had available.  And at the time, it was best to consider any deviation from “normal” behavior a disorder.

But today we know better.  Many people have different ways of learning.  Some are labeled with one learning disability or another.  Perhaps the so-called learning disabled just have different processing styles.  That was my experience working with learning disabled kids at UC Berkeley.  Most came from Montessori schools where individual or self-directed learning is emphasized.  Once these kids came into the stringent learning models that predominate in our educational system, they began failing.  These kids were geniuses–they just needed different methods to help process material.

One reason ADD has had such a long history, I believe, is because it is a normal physiological variant.  Clearly, as the pioneers in the classification of this disorder pointed out, there is usually no deficit in intelligence.  No kidding.  From personal experience, I assure you I could have been labeled ADHD at many points in my education, but they weren’t doling out the drugs at that time the way they are now.

Further, despite being one of the “best researched disorders,” to date, no clear solution has been found to combat this disorder that afflicts “3% to 5% of children globally.”  Why?  Because we all have an attention deficit when we are not inspired by something we are forced to sit through.  They will never find the chemical cause because like depression, chemical changes are the result of a brain state, NOT the cause.

Yes, the experts had to propose a biological cause, because they could find no mental construct that explained the disorder beyond a “Defect in Moral Control.”  Whereas sodomy could be pinned on sexual deviancy, and thievery on a criminal defect, lack of attention had to be biological.

Conformity to societal norms was then, as it still is now, of the highest tenor (debate someone on this issue to get my point), and as such, the inability to do so in the educational structure was a defect without defense.  It was unfathomable that it might be a defect in the structure itself.  More to come.

A reader has asked me to explain that if I don’t believe ADD/ADHD is a disorder, then what do I believe it to be?  This is a complex question because it requires an understanding of history, politics and human dynamics.  I’m going to attempt a concise explanation here that, hopefully, will bring a new understanding to a controversial health issue that may never be solved due to its ubiquitous nature as a component of the human mind.

So I’ve set out to uncover ADD/ADHD piece by piece in this blog over the next two weeks.  I’ll discuss how the “disorder” got its start, the belief system that gives it life, some neurological facts, and discuss why ADD remains a controversial topic, despite “most health care providers accept ADHD as a genuine disorder.”  We’ll investigate a new way of approaching what people call the symptoms of ADD, and we’ll look deep into why the current medical treatment for ADD is counter-productive and harmful.

Before we begin, let’s define some terms.  Since ADD and ADHD are essentially the same thing with a hyperactivity component to the latter, I will refer to both together as ADD.  If a distinction needs to be made, then I will do so.

Let it be understood that I am in no way advocating people on ADD medications to stop taking them.  These pharmaceuticals are serious and must be discontinued under the supervision of a medical doctor.  These post are for informational purposes only.  They are not intended, nor are they to be relied upon, as a diagnostic tool, professional medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment, or a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis, opinion or suggested course of treatment by a qualified health care professional.  We assume no responsibility for what you do with the information contained.

Stay tuned.

Wow!  My last two posts on ADD/ADHD were right up there with the one on cesareanslet the emotions fly.  Sorry…but here’s some more information I find relevant to the issue.  It’s on latent learning:

Rats were placed into two groups and allowed to gain experience in a maze.  The animals in one group received food when they reached the goal area of the maze; they ran to that area more and more quickly in successive daily trials.  Animals of the other group were allowed to explore the maze for a few daily sessions without receiving any daily reward.  Then, in one session they found food in the goal area.  In the next trial they raced to the goal, reaching it just as rapidly as the rats that had been rewarded on every trial.  If the experimenter hadn’t offered the reward, he would not have realized that the previously unrewarded group had learned the maze as well as the uniformly rewarded rats; until the reward was introduced, the learning was latent, just as an image on a photographic film is latent until the film is developed (Blodgett, 1929; Tollman and Honzik, 1930).

One of the study’s authors (Tollman) proposed that there are different kinds of learning and that each may have its own laws.*  Think about it.

*From the text, Biological Psychology, Fifth Edition, Breedlove, Rosenzweig, and Watson

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Last post I described a phone conversation between me and a fifteen-year-old boy that called asking about ADD drugs.  When I explained to him how drugs like Ritalin and Concerta are essentially speed he asked what he could take as an alternative.  I said it depends on what the person you are asking believes about the label “ADHD.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, for instance, some people, myself included, don’t really believe that ADHD, as it’s defined, is a disorder.  The inability to concentrate, being disruptive in class, or any of those other things that irritate teachers are characteristics we all have when we aren’t inspired by something.  It just tells me that the kid labeled as ADHD isn’t inspired in school.  That says a lot more about teachers than children in my book.”

“Well, I’m just bored in school.”

“Exactly.  But I’ll bet there are things you do that you have no problems concentrating on.  What do you like to do?  What do you love?”


“What do you play.”

“Football…and baseball.”

“What’s your position in football?”

“Defensive end.”

“So when the ball is snapped, and you’re going after that quarterback, ready to crush his skull…are you thinking about something else?”

“Ha ha…no.”

“So you don’t have ADD when you’re playing sports.”

“No, I guess not.”

“Everybody has ADD when they are forced to do something they are uninspired by.  When you are in school, you are likely uninspired.  Unfortunately for you, you’ve got to go to school until you are eighteen–that’s the law.  In the meantime, find what you love and do it.  And when you are old enough to make your own life decisions, do what you love, and do it well.  You’ll be more fulfilled that way.”

He got it.  I don’t believe there are any dumb children.  But I do believe that there are plenty uninspiring teachers out there.  Maybe they’d be better labeled babysitters, because if they are not inspiring every one of their students, then they are failing as teachers.  In my opinion, teaching is finding what the student loves and showing them how the subject matter relates to what they love.  Give me a room full of football players and I will teach them every math concept under the sun.  All it takes is teacher creativity.  But we all know that’s lacking in our schools…we’ve all been there.

That wasn’t my experience in college, however.  I was so lucky to have outstanding and highly creative professors.  My college algebra teacher was a comedian and a genius.  Nobody finished that class without a basic understanding of math and a hell of a lot of laughs.

Just watch the movie, Stand and Deliver, to understand what I’m talking about.  Teacher Jaime Escalante, “is able to win over the attention of the students by implementing innovative teaching techniques, using props and humor to illustrate abstract concepts of math and convey the necessity of math in everyday lives.” ~ from Wikipedia

No, I’m not buying into ADHD one iota.  Find what inspires a kid, nurture it, and use that to teach them academic concepts, and that kid will thrive.  Giving them doctor-prescribed speed drugs is a cop out.

Got an interesting call this evening from a fifteen-year-old boy who asked, “Why is taking ADD drugs bad?”

I asked why he wanted to know this, and if he was on one of these drugs.  He said he was, and his parents wanted him to wean off.  Hmmm….

I asked the lad why he had chosen to call me, and how he found me in the first place.  Expecting him to say, “From your informative blog, sir,” I was somewhat surprised when he said he found me in the Yellow PagesDoh!

Tucking my chest back in, I informed him that I am not a medical doctor, I am a chiropractor, so I can’t give him medical advice; but I certainly know enough about various drugs, ADHD meds included, to give him some general, if not pertinent information.

So I asked him which drug he was on, and why his parents wanted him off it.  He said he was taking Concerta (a lighter version of Ritalin).  His parents were concerned because it made him tired all the time and non-functional when he wasn’t on it.  Basically, he said he was sleeping more than usual when not on the drug.

I asked him what it was like when he was actually on the drug, and he said it made him lose his appetite and his stomach hurt.  I told him what he was describing was very much like what people who take methamphetamine experience.  In fact, I said, ADD and ADHD drugs are essentially speed; his parents and he were observing the side effects that come along with a speed trip.  The sleeping all the time is called “the crash,” and his loss of appetite (upset stomach) was his body’s reaction to taking a speed-like drug.

I told him that the rationale behind giving speed to a child labeled ADHD was to help the child focus, and indeed, one of the effects of any stimulant–meth and coke included–is a heightened concentration when taken at low to moderate levels.  The problem, I explained, is that these effects are relatively short-lived, and ultimately, tolerance and withdrawals set in.

Further, I told him, the body has to neutralize the drug, which it does through the liver; and it also needs to filter out and remove the drug from the body, which is carried out by the kidneys.  So when taken over a long period or in high quantities, any drug (even those prescribed by a doctor) can cause stress internally, leading to illness and disease.

This is why his parents were concerned, I explained.  But more importantly, why was he still on the drug if his parents didn’t want him to be?  Where was his doctor in all of this?  He said that he just saw his doctor today, and the doctor wanted to give him his Med Card.

“What’s that?” I asked, naively.

“For medical marijuana.”

“Your doctor wants you to have that…why?

“Because I have high blood pressure.”

“Where did you find this doctor?  And do your parents know about this?”

“I just moved here and I went into this place, and there was a medical doctor there.”

“OK, listen; you need to go see a real doctor, not just one that’s out to make money.  I know that no responsible doctor is going to give a fifteen-year-old kid a prescription for medical marijuana.  You need to go to a real doctor, with your parents in tow, tell him/her about your high blood pressure, your Concerta meds, your parents concerns, and go from there.”  I also let him know that I was not telling him to get off the doctor prescribed speed; that wasn’t my place.  But, I said, your parents know what’s best for you, so listen to them.  OK kid, I’ve got a patient waiting…call me anytime.

“You should be a real doctor,” he said.

Thanks kid, I’ll think about it.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Driving under the influence is a crime, but some researchers think we should make an exception…for the ADHD driver. Doh! According to research recently present to the American Psychiatric Association, adults with ADHD are more prone to auto accidents. So to combat this phenomenon, researcher recommend ADHD drivers to be cranked out on speed. Nice.

The study showed that adult ADHD drivers had significantly more auto collisions than the general public and received more citations. ADHD teens and adults have also been shown to be nearly twice as likely to having their licenses suspended. According to UC Berkeley psychologist Nadine Lambert, Ph.D., “People with ADHD have serious difficulties planning ahead, following through, and staying on task—things you need to do to drive safely.”

Apparently ADHD drivers are more likely to be convicted of speeding, not obeying signs and signals, following too closely, improper passing, and not following road markings. Additionally they’re somewhat more likely than non-ADHDers to participate in reckless driving, drunk driving, and poor lane placement.

So what’s the solution? Give ’em speed. Now that’s responsibility in the psychiatric research profession–recommend drugging our drivers, yeah! I’m never for the drugging solution, especially when it comes to mental health. Instead of encouraging our unfocused fellow citizens to develop good driving skills, we resort to the simple solution—drugs. I’m not anti-drug, but giving legalized speed, and that’s essentially what these ADHD drugs like Ritalin are, is foolish. It’s not going to make one a more attentive driver. Why don’t we just put a kilo of coke in their trunk—that’ll make them pay attention–guaranteed. But no one would seriously suggest that because it’s nonsensical. And so is drugging our drivers.

I deal with a lot of auto accident victims in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office. Accidents caused by people under the influence are some of the worst I see. If the general public is considered impaired even under the influence of cold medications, why recommend speed for ADHDers? The use of drugs to treat mental “disorders” will remain somewhat controversial for years to come; but let’s hope cranking out our ADHD drivers won’t cause more problems than they fix.

Wow! Being a parent is tough. So much to think about–so much to know. My daughter has been sick for two weeks now with a cold, and it has turned into a pretty nasty ear infection. It’s been rough. Check out this months article titled, Putting a New Light on Illness, to see how I believe we need to approach such matters.But again, being a parent is tough. Take, for example, childhood learning. As parents we want to do the right things for our tykes. So we buy them Baby Einstein products, enroll them in music classes, and read them Goethe. But is it really doing anything or are we just fools for marketing? According to new research, one of the best things you can do to enhance your child’s language development is give them a set of blocks. Blocks? Wooden or plastic geometrically cuboid shapes? Not computer programs, DVDs, language tapes, or Graciela, the Guatemalan Spanish tutor? Just plain old blocks?

Yup! So says a study out of the University of Washington. Unstructured play with blocks stimulates thinking, memory and physical mastery of objects at a time when a child’s brain is growing rapidly, says Dimitri Christakis, the author of the study. Apparently blocks “are the precursors of thought and language,” he wrote in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, “Older children begin to make up stories or scripts for these objects …” And even better, such play may substitute for less stimulating activity like watching television.

Speaking of T.V., you must know how I feel about watching too much of this junk. Just call it brain Twinkies. It isn’t great for adults, but it’s particularly problematic for children. At a time when their delicate nervous system and brain are developing rapidly, children should really be engaging in stimulating activities like playing with toys, imitating Mom and Dad doing household chores, reading (if they are old enough), and listening to wholesome music (it doesn’t have to be Beethoven, but you probably want to lay off the Tupac for a while). Watching T.V. should really be minimal, if at all.

According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children younger than 2-years-old shouldn’t watch any T.V. at all, while children older than 2 should limit their viewing to less than two hours a day. These conclusions are the result of multiple studies showing high levels of television viewing in children leading to social and behavioral problems–like ADHD–later in life. This current study, though, is the first to point out that, even if television viewing is high in toddlers, parents can prevent problems by curbing the bad habit by age 5 1/2. That’s good news for parents who have been unaware. But now you know folks, so pull that Dummy Tube out of Junior’s bedroom tonight.

On a final note, yet another recent study shows that less than one third of all U.S. children are recieving nutritional supplements. Now c’mon people–getting adequate nutrients is essential to good health (it’s one of the key points in my upcoming book), and let’s face it, today’s American diet is severely lacking in nutritional value. So you’ve got to supplement, as do the kids. Saying that–supplements should never substitute for a nutritious and wholesome diet. They supplement. But to ensure both you and your child good health, you probably want to get a good vitamin and mineral supplement today. According to the study, “children using supplements were more likely to be thinner, from a higher-income family without smokers, and spend less time with television and video games.” What do you know? Sounds like these families know what’s up. You can too–just start today. As I said before, being a parent is tough, but keeping up with the latest information helps significantly. I hope this info has made your job just a little bit easier.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.