We Are All ADHD Now

ED had an interesting video on his site about educational reform, and it mentioned that ADHD is a bit of a regional phenomenon. I wondered if that was true, so I took a look and found that not only is ADHD regional, but it’s also a growing “epidemic”:


Here’s 2003 (click to embiggen).

This is 2007.

Apparently the Southeast is a hotbed of inability to sit still and pay attention, while the Southwest is stocked with well-behaved children.






134 replies
  1. 1
    greennotGreen says:

    It might be cultural, but it would be interesting to overlay that map with one showing rates of diet-related diabetes, obesity, and/or high cholesterol.

  2. 2
    PeakVT says:

    Looks somewhat similar to the obesity map (and for high-schoolers).

  3. 3

    Am i the only person who took nothing away from that article but a bunch of word salad fence-sitting, ahistorical claptrap with a subtle dig at public unions?

    Also, Kain is back polishing the horns on his “free market” unicorns again.

    Has he no idea that modern education has always been beholden to fadish reforms?(new math, whole language, etc.)

  4. 4
    Marc says:

    The obesity map hasn’t changed over the past 4 years. This is a fad driven by high-stakes tests. Everyone supports it – troublesome kids get medicated, you get dispensations on test scores for special ed children, and lots of money gets made by the medical profession. The only losers are the kids, but who said that this was actually for their benefit anyhow?

  5. 5
    mistermix says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Watch the video – that’s where I got the ADHD stuff.

  6. 6
    spark says:

    It seems especially prevalent in the arc of territory traditionally settled by Scots-Irish.

  7. 7

    For an example, watch this painful video of country singer Kellie Pickler (from North Carolina), who thinks Europe is a country and everyone speaks French there.

  8. 8

    I thought New Mexico was one of those states that always ranks high on obesity charts…

  9. 9
    Olivia says:

    It would be interesting to see a map of the number of medical personnel trained in the diagnosing of ADHD. Or a map of the saturation of advertising of medication that treats ADHD.

  10. 10

    @Olivia: Like the ad right above this article.

  11. 11
    Mary says:

    Oh boy. Another ADHD hysteria piece. Never mind that most clinicians believe that ADHD is widely UNDER-diagnosed or that the adulthood outcomes for untreated ADHD are abysmal.

  12. 12
    wonkie says:

    ADHD is not just an education fad. After all it is supposedly a medical condition diagnosed by a doctor.

    Of course a really determined parent can get almost any label stuck on their kid if they try eough doctors. And generally people percieve their kids as being fine until the kid hits the school system and doesn’t fit in.

    It’s a complex situation. There are children who are pretty far out there on the extreme end of the continuum in regard to the ability to concentrate or control impulses. Should natural variations it the population be called disabilities? If a talent for art was essential for survival in this culture there would be special classes for the artistically impaired.

    Not everyone fits into a regular class. If fact lots and lots of kids are square pegs in the round hole of a regular class for a whole variety of reasons. That’s one of the reasons teaching is such a difficult job.

  13. 13

    @Mary: Do you have a link?

    Also, a pet peeve of mine: how many is most? 50 + 1? 75%?

    I’m not disputing your assertion, but would like further info.

  14. 14
    srv says:

    stocked with well-behaved children.

    Of all the things fucked up in this country, nothing is so much fubar’d as en-masse pharmacological experimentation on children.

    Would be interesting to do a poll on redstate and BJ or GOS. I’d bet one in three of the people on this blog are on some kind of anti-depressant, whereas 1% of wingnuts are on anti-psychotics.

    Flipping those numbers is the real answer to all our problems.

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    @wonkie:

    The parents I know who have gone to the incredible trouble to get a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD for their kids are people who have gone through hell with a child who simply can’t function in an ordinary school. Its incredibly difficult to get schools do to an IEP or to get a kid on a dose of medicine that doesn’t also destroy other aspects of their lives. So parents are far from eager to do it for those reasons and have to very carefully monitor their kids to make sure the medications aren’t worse than the original problem.

    I’d like to see how these maps relate to other factors in education and in social/cultural milieu such as the educational attainments of the parents, the socio-economic status of the community, and the pressures on other aspects of the school environment.

    Basically what I’d expect to see is low diagnosis/reporting in areas in which the parents don’t have high educations, access to medical care, or high expectations for the kid’s school experience. I’d also expect to see high diagnosis where education is prized, the parents have access to health care, and other aspects of the school system are under stress so that you can’t easily get the teacher to pay attention to your kid’s problems, there’s no sports or art or drama to help kids who learn differently cope with the school environment, and etc…

    aimai

  16. 16
    mistermix says:

    @Mary: Where’s the hysteria? I put a couple of CDC charts up and linked to a recent study about ADHD prevalence. It’s pretty obvious that what I said is true, namely, that there’s wide regional variation in ADHD diagnosis, and that diagnosis is way up over just a couple of years (“epidemic”). I didn’t dispute that ADHD is a real phenomenon (which, btw, I believe).

  17. 17
    lawguy says:

    I’d think that ADHD is a lot like most other diagnosises for, hmm, I’m having a hard time pulling up the right term. Mental health diagnosis?

    That is there are those who are way out there and there are those who have just a slight touch. I figure out I’ve got it to a lesser rather than a greater extent, since I was put on some meds a few years ago (long after law school) for something else and all of a suddent I was able to concentrate in a way I was never able to before.

    So, there are those who are running around unable to finish anything, and those who have a some trouble concentrating and they all have the same diagnosis. Or is that thought all hooey?

  18. 18

    Interesting map on the ADHD.

    It makes me suspect some environmental cause – perhaps something that pregnant women are exposed to in that region more than their sisters in other regions.

    A particular insect, perhaps? Or a fungus? Or . . . .

  19. 19
    WyldPirate says:

    @srv:

    Would be interesting to do a poll on redstate and BJ or GOS. I’d bet one in three of the people on this blog are on some kind of anti-depressant, whereas 1% 99% of wingnuts are on anti-undiagnosed psychotics.

    There. Fixed.

  20. 20
    techno says:

    Whenever I see the term ADHD, I think about my kid brother. When he was young, he absolutely could NOT sit still. If a group of kids got into trouble, everyone just assumed (usually correctly) that he was the ringleader. He once seduced the daughter of the judge who was administering his probation. He had so many run-ins with the cops that I had to drive him away from his own wedding because he had lost his driver’s license and they were waiting for him across the street from the church.

    These days, they would have given him Ritalin by IV. He would have spent years with shrinks. And yet, there was nothing wrong with him. He had a lot of energy. He loved his friends. His solutions for boredom were VERY creative. And now as he approaches retirement he has hundreds of loyal friends and his office wall is covered with pictures and other documents of a highly accomplished and well-lived life. And he still has that mischievous sparkle in his eyes that just shouts, “We’re going to have fun today!” They WOULD have drugged all the meaningful life out of him with their ADHD diagnosis. And the world would have lost one of the most interesting people I know.

  21. 21
    drew42 says:

    Seems to correlate with the map of growing obesity rates in the U.S.

    ADHD, or just too much corn syrup?

  22. 22
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    or fungus or mold spores….

    It looks to be related to humidity?
    http://etc.usf.edu/maps/pages/900/918/918.htm

    Wild guess

  23. 23
    PeakVT says:

    @lawguy: ADHD and ADD (now AHAD inattentive subtype) are different diagnoses, if that’s what you are asking.

  24. 24
    D. Mason says:

    I dunno what this was worth, but I grew up in the era of ADHD birth. When I was in elementary school, it didn’t exist. When I was in middle school, it didn’t exist. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that this disorder burst onto the scene(at least in my little high school world), and burst it did. I had never known so many people my age with daily prescriptions. Every period a few kids had to go to the nurse for their meds.

    It’s one of those surreal things from my childhood that no one else seemed to notice and I could never figure out how.

  25. 25

    There’s lies, there’s damn lies, and then there’s the Wall Street Journal opinion page.

  26. 26
    Marc says:

    I had a son who had some trouble in school, and the pressure to medicate him was overwhelming. He got “studied” a bunch of times until they got a score that they wanted. We gave in for six months until he reacted badly to the medication – which made his academic behavior much worse – and then we had enough and got off the carosel. We had to take him out – to an experiential charter school. He did fine and is now in college. The entire ADD thing was the way that the public schools wanted to deal with a problem, not a medical condition. Being restless in school is not an illness, it’s called “being a kid.” Or, especially, “being a boy”.

    Actual medical conditions aren’t diagnosed at a rate a hundred times greater in the US than anywhere else. Actual medical conditions aren’t diagnosed at a rate that varies by a factor of three from state to state.

    However, if you tell schools that they’ll be penalized if kids score low on tests – but not if they are classified as ADD – you’ll all of the sudden find a lot of ADD kids.

  27. 27

    Aimai, the maps show the opposite — very high diagnosis and reporting in Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and West Virginia, and very low diagnosis / reporting in California, NY, and Vermont.

    I’m one of the skeptics. Maybe it has something to do with policies put into effect by the boards of education of various states. Perhaps a competing diagnosis is favored in some states. Perhaps some states are quicker to declare kids to be problems.

    I’ve always been suspicious of the mental health diagnoses of primary and secondary schools. Even the mental health diagnoses of MDs seem pretty haphazard. They all end up with dropping some pills down to see if they work. And if they work for everyone concerned, great.

  28. 28

    ADHD and pesticides:

    http://www.time.com/time/healt.....64,00.html

    or for those who prefer to look at the original:

    http://pediatrics.aappublicati.....9c60dfd9a6

    I don’t know if this is the answer but it looks like a good place to do some investigation.

  29. 29

    @Cliff in NH:

    Humidity might be a factor. Of course, humidity is a factor in the habitat of a lot of plants and animals, too.

    It is probably caused by overexposure to those goddam Baptists.

    [My mother, rest her soul, would kill me for that. :-)]

  30. 30
    Cliff in NH says:

    @drew42:

    I had always thought it would be corn syrup, but that map seems to imply otherwise… I’m surprised by that map really.

  31. 31
    wolfkin says:

    I’m not sure how much of this is sarcasm if at all but for the record. This is very clearly a possible case for Correlation does not imply causation.

    Just because we’re seeing more ADD doesn’t necessarily mean it’s growing in incidence. It’s my understanding that the more logical explanation is that more kids are being diagnosed with ADD (especially in the south… etc etc etc). The argument is whether more kids are being diagnosed because it’s becoming more recognized, or if it’s because doctors are becoming ‘lazy’ and just writing kids off as ADD rather than trying something else. That’s the real story. in no way it is a ‘growing epidemic’. Anymore than Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder has become an “epidemic” since the 19th century when noone ever heard of it.

  32. 32
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    ahh… I remember that pesticide study .. that would make more sense since pesticide use has increased greatly in recent history, and humidity hasn’t changed…(that much)

  33. 33
    lawguy says:

    @wolfkin: Wasn’t Manic depressive/bipolar called melancholia in the 19th century?

  34. 34
    harlana says:

    In response to techno: Your point is well-taken. I wonder if the pressure to conform is greater now than in the past? Adults medicate themselves very often to maintain the relationships and the jobs they have, to prevent their depression or bipolar conditions from destroying their lives. In return, you develop lower expectations of yourself and so very often, lose your creativity and zest for life in the process.

  35. 35
    Hugh says:

    My daughter is diagnosed with ADHD and is now taking Concerta. She’s been taking it since late December 2010.

    ADHD left untreated often produces awful emotional, interpersonal and narcissistic consequences for the individuals who have it. Kids with ADHD are typically shunned by their peers, as was our daughter, because they can’t follow rules. Adults become angry with them for causing trouble. Kids with ADHD are vulnerable to feeling stupid and unwanted. Our daughter would describe herself as “disgusting”. It broke our hearts. Academically she was having trouble and was at risk of being held back a grade (she’s just finishing second grade now). Mind you, our daughter is quite smart. She just couldn’t pay attention and couldn’t control her impulses much of the time. It looked like she was just being oppositional and she got in trouble multiple times per day.

    Since taking medication she feels much, much better about herself because she can pay attention and follow rules. Her academic performance has skyrocketed and she is even becoming a bit of a math whiz, a subject that had given her horrible trouble before. She gets along better with her peers. She now gets into trouble no more than her peers. Her teacher is thrilled with how she’s doing and we are so relieved. The legacy of her time untreated is there so she still feels insecure about attachments but we’re working on that with her.

    ADHD is a serious condition. It’s no joke. If we hadn’t figured out what was going on with our daughter she would have been in for a very rough ride and probably been at serious risk for lots of bad stuff as a teenager. I have no link but I believe this is an under-diagnosed condition given our experience. Our daughter had been in therapy and her therapist didn’t pick it up. I’m a therapist too and it took me a long time to pick it up because it’s hard to know with a child what is developmental and what isn’t.

  36. 36
    harlana says:

    @lawguy: I would associate “melancholia” with standard depression. Bipolar disorder is a bit more complex, wherein you respond to antidepressants positively in the beginning but later develop serious mood swings, a condition that requires a mood stabilizer in addition to an antidepressant. Very often, continuing on antidepressants alone can lead to serious negative consequences for bipolars.

  37. 37
    wolfkin says:

    @wolfkin: as an addition I should point out that the corallary argument is that doctors in “the North” are then for some reason refusing to diagnose ADD and that technically is also a problem.

  38. 38
    Cliff in NH says:

    @drew42:

    found this study on obesity and pesticides:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....140845.htm

    and this more recent one:
    http://www.sciencenews.org/vie.....tudy_finds

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    @John Emerson:

    Thanks for reading the map more closely than I did! I stand corrected.

    But I think Hugh’s post, right above mine, reflects the experience of more of the parents I know who have sought a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. I’d like to see stats on where the diagnosis is coming from–are parents asking for help or are schools pushing it on them?

    aimai

  40. 40
    Shalimar says:

    Maybe there are more drug reps in the south because doctors are more accepting of all the freebies and prescribe medicine accordingly? I would love to see the same charts for all different kinds of medicine.

  41. 41
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Hai mistermix!
    I guess you missed EDK’s new post where he changes his mind about teacher’s unions?
    Beyond Unions: Where ED is persuaded that teachers unions are baddie bad bad bad.

    Recently we had the Labor Roundtable and much interesting discussion on the nature and necessity of organized labor in America ensued. I’ve cooled on the idea of unions lately, at least in their current form, and have had a number of really good conversations in the past couple of days after writing this post, about unions and particularly teachers unions.
    __
    Certainly teachers unions represent a major obstacle to reform of our education system. In that sense, I both approve and disapprove of their influence. I approve of any efforts to curtail high-stakes testing, and unions certainly are avid opponents of such testing. But it’s also true that at least part of the reason we’ve come to this point in the first place is that unions have consistently opposed reforms across the board – not just high-stakes testing. Using tests as a metric for teachers is one way reformers are attempting to break the inertia created by unions. I think it’s an unfortunate way to go about it, but it’s not surprising that this – along with school choice efforts – have focused on curbing union power.

    How many times will you link this jackass?
    He is a garden variety free market libertarian. He is McMegan with a Y chromosome. Don’t you get it yet? He headfaked a conversion narrative to get readership.
    The LoOG is just another glibertarian circle jerk.
    Give up already.
    Move the LoOG into the mockable column please, and give up trying to rehabilitate his image here. He is a fucking market-fapping glibertarian, no matter how you try to spin it.
    Point and laff.

  42. 42
    aimai says:

    Oh, I’d like to add that of course, as Hugh himself points out, early presentation can look like a “developmental” issue and can also be a developmental issue. A school and teacher which can’t be flexible, or can’t handle small differences in behavior in the classroom early on, may exacerbate a problem which could be merely developmental and make something the kid would grow out of in a different environment really harmful. But that’s true of a number of behaviors/situations in school. My own daughter was ruthlessly bullied last year. She became depressed and didn’t function as well in school. We tried to move her and that probably would have been sufficient. We certainly wouldn’t have medicated her for symptoms of depression and grief that were social and not biological in origin. She “developed” out of her problems within the school by growing up, finding better friends, and ruthlessly ignoring the bullies. My point is that even behavioral issues can become severe problems if they are left untreated. But the treatment might be as little as having a better teacher, more supportive friends, a new environment, etc…

    aimai

  43. 43
    Cliff in NH says:

    so studies linking DDE to both obesity And add/adhd

    hmmmm…..

    The study probed for correlations between pollutants in the moms’ blood and growth differences among their children. Only DDE exhibited such an association.

    and

    Exposure to Hexachlorobenzene during Pregnancy and Children’s Social Behavior at 4 Years of Age

    http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/art.....2Fehp.9314

    Edit:
    Many more links:
    http://www.feingold.org/Research/pollution.html

  44. 44
    batgirl says:

    @techno: My nephew can not sit still either. But he has no problems concentrating, as long as they [the school] allows him to move. In fact, he is brilliant, already three grades ahead in math. He is lucky in that he is in a small progressive school that understands this, I’m really not sure how the public school in his town would handle him.

    ETA: Oh, by the way, there were suggestions of putting him on meds very early on but as my sister very clearly pointed out the kid has no problems learning and concentrating. He just can not keep his body still.

  45. 45
    D. Mason says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I always wondered if it had anything to do with the amount of stimulation kids receive at home. I mean, we live in a society of hype but some kids are much more exposed to that aspect of our culture than others.

  46. 46
    WereBear says:

    @Hugh: Your daughter is a great example of the good proper diagnosis and medication can bring.

    I’ve also seen the other side; we were told my stepson had it; but in 7th grade. We were suspicious since he’d been an adequate academic performer until then, and when something did interest him he could concentrate on it for hours quite happily.

    It turned out to be a poor teacher, which shot his boredom level through the roof, and we avoided the medication, since it didn’t seem to be the problem.

    But such nuances are often beyond certain parents; his mother, for instance, is a slave to authority and loves medical solutions; she would have had him whisked to the pharmacy in a heartbeat.

    And since it was something he didn’t actually have, it would have been a problem.

  47. 47
    WyldPirate says:

    @wolfkin:

    That’s the real story. in no way it is a ‘growing epidemic’. Anymore than Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder has become an “epidemic” since the 19th century when noone ever heard of it

    This.

    The psychiatric profession is in danger of complete irrelevance. There is no money to be made by MDs who are psychiatrists in seeing patients for 1 hr counseling sessions. This is mostly farmed out to psychologists and social workers now.

    The shrinks make their money by dosing up folks with the latest and greatest overpriced variation of neuronal receptor “tickler”, have the patient swing in every month or two for a “hi, how are you you doing, that will be $150+, please” 15 minute med monitoring.

    ETA: Billions are wasted on treatment of non-existent “mental disorders ” for those that don’t need it.

  48. 48
    lawguy says:

    These kinds of diagnoses are more than a little iffy.

    I just got a client, a 13 year old girl whose birthday is in May. She was diagnosed with ADHD and they treated her for that and she got worse. So bad she was expelled and is now placed out side her home.

    Then about 2 weeks ago, I’m told, she was diagnosed with bi-polar, put on different medications and is doing much better according to her P.O. So where is she on the pretty maps.

  49. 49

    California has a low rate of diagnosis, and perhaps some of the people who have had to beg to get their kids treatment came from there. But the 10%+ diagnosis in Louisiana and elsewhere looks completely fishy to me.

    I’m definitely of the opinion that a lot of the mental problems kids have come from external factors (unhealthy HS social environments, rigid expectations of kids, unhealthy communities) and that parents and especially schools often use medication prematurely. This doesn’t mean that I think that there’s no such things as ADHD or that no one should never be medicated.

    My educational reform bias is to trust teachers but not administration. It’s disgusting the way the supposed education reformers, who mostly pretend to be anti-bureaucratic, invent new bureaucracies and increase their arbitrary powers over the people who actually do the teaching).

    I feel the same way about the diagnosis of depression in adults.

  50. 50
    D. Mason says:

    @batgirl: The parents should be glad no one suggested muscle relaxers. I guess that’s the public school option you mentioned.

  51. 51
    HRA says:

    The above responses are very enlightening. I raised 6 children and did not have the problems described above. I do have a son-in-law who some in the family say is ADD. I have known him since his teens. I know his family’s problems were trying as he grew up. His father deserted them. A sister was mentally ill and he had to take his turn babysitting her after school while his mother was at work. To me it seemed like he was always searching for something to keep his attention and/or his pleasure. Now it has subsided slightly as he grows older.

    I wonder if the mother’s diet while pregnant could be a reason for the ADD or ADHD in the children.

  52. 52

    @batgirl:

    buy him a drum kit, you can teach a singer, but you have to be born to be a drummer.

  53. 53
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    And i wont give a link to that slimeball at Forbes. They are going to shitcan him for lack of clicks and that is why mistermix is tossing him a mercy link.
    But has anyone mentioned lead paint? That could easily be a hidden variable linked through state eradication programs and parental SES.

    It could also be linked to obesity.

  54. 54
    JRon says:

    It’s just that kids are expected to be quiet conformists down here.

    And their parents are on meth.

    Now let’s compare to state murder rates.

  55. 55
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Linda Featheringill: @Cliff in NH: obesity, pesticides, secondhand smoke, homes with lead paint, can all link through a single composite variable– parental SES.
    Prolly ADHD is a threshold trait like diabetes.

  56. 56
    DPirate says:

    The Northeast is chock full of parents gullible enough to drug their children at the drop of a hat, while the rest of the country needs more convincing.

    EDIT: In other words, ADHD is bullshit. Thank you, television advertising, for record drug profits.

  57. 57
    Hugh says:

    @lawguy:

    Yes, differentiating between bi-polar and ADHD is difficult. Diagnosing children correctly is, as a rule, difficult. But when a diagnosis is correct and treatment appropriate results can be significant. It doesn’t help anybody to be uniformly dismissive of mental health/medication interventions with kids. You’re not doing that I know. That’s a general response to some earlier comments. It is also not helpful to look for pathology in what is within the range of developmentally normal behavior. It IS helpful to keep an open mind while exploring what a child is presenting, and to acknowledge that sometimes things aren’t clear.

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    It’s all well and good that the South gets a lot of its kids treated for ADHD.

    But I’d like to see some results.

    Because down here in Georgia I don’t see too many signs of increased concentration.

  59. 59

    There’s a lot of variation within every region but the South, which is consistently high or very high. I don’t see any other consistency in the state-to-state variations, which makes me think that it’s a matter of school policy and maybe state boards of health or state medical cultures.

  60. 60
    Hawes says:

    @DPirate:
    My eldest son has an ADHD diagnosis, but he’s nine, so we don’t medicate him. But there is NO doubt that he has trouble sitting still or doing complex tasks that require attention over sustained periods. (Oh, I live in CT.)

    Our youngest son doesn’t have the same problem, so if it’s environmental, the only explanation is that our eldest may have had more exposure to lead as an infant.

    Some of ADHD is just developmental. Some of it is a way to focus resources on kids in a class with 25-30 students. My son got a PPT for additional tutoring that did wonders for him.

    I have no idea if he’ll outgrow it. But right now, it’s real, it’s observable and it’s dramatically effecting his educational experience.

  61. 61
    dr. bloor says:

    @HRA:

    If I was doing the initial interview, I’d actually be interested in learning more about why dad deserted the family. Intrauterine environment counts, but probably not as much as genes in most cases.

  62. 62
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Heres a thought.
    Lets link ADHD incidence to evangelical christianity.
    Now obesity.

    In the 50s the philippine government wanted to reduce family size, so they commissioned a study known in the annals of statistics as the Philippine Toaster Test. The highest negative correlate with number of children was number of eletric appliances. In theory, one could implement birthcontrol by handing out toasters.
    In the ADHD maps above, one could theoretically reduce ADHD AND childhood obesity by outlawing evangelical christianity. There is a hidden composite variable, likely parental SES.

  63. 63
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @mistermix: Thanks for this, mistermix. I don’t see hysteria, but then I’m not neurotypical, so I’m gonna have a different view of this stuff.

  64. 64
    dr. bloor says:

    @lawguy:

    Interesting, but I’d say that initially going with ADHD over Bipolar was still the smart play. The construct validity for the pediatric bipolar diagnosis is, IMHO, pretty miserable, and if you have to medicate, it’s far safer to initiate a trial of short-acting stimulant meds than going to mood stabilizers–many of which are used off-label for kids, and lacking in long-term outcome studies.

  65. 65
    dr. bloor says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Genes and regional differences in the frequency of referral and treatment for attention symptoms, I’d say.

  66. 66
    sb says:

    Posts 35 and 42, for those visiting.

  67. 67
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Hugh:

    It doesn’t help anybody to be uniformly dismissive of mental health/medication interventions with kids.

    Or adults either. Thank you for this observation.

    I hope for the day when the larger society can recognize “mental” illness for the somatic disease process that it is; no more controllable in its onset (mostly) than heart disease or diabetes, and stop blaming people for what they cannot control or avoid. I’m launching a website this summer in attempt to advance that date.

  68. 68
    Ohio Mom says:

    About using a diagnosis to avoid standardized tests: not so easy, at least here in the Buckeye state.

    There is a limit on how many students can be given an “alternate assessment” instead of the NCLB tests, and it’s less than 3% of the students in a building (sorry I can’t remember the exact number but if you’re interested, there’s google). Considering that typically, about 10-12% of a school’s kids will be on IEPs, those alternate assessments are given to only the most “involved” kids (what we’re calling “severely disabled” these days).

    For the high school graduation test, every kid who is excused is given a big, fat zero, so that brings the whole school’s average down. A school district would rather give a kid with a cognitive disability the test and have him/her score a 30 than excuse him and have to average in that zero. Parents have to fight to get their kids excused.

  69. 69
    Ohio Mom says:

    About using a diagnosis to avoid standardized tests: not so easy, at least here in the Buckeye state.

    There is a limit on how many students can be given an “alternate assessment” instead of the NCLB tests, and it’s less than 3% of the students in a building (sorry I can’t remember the exact number but if you’re interested, there’s google). Considering that typically, about 10-12% of a school’s kids will be on IEPs, those alternate assessments are given to only the most “involved” kids (what we’re calling “severely disabled” these days).

    For the high school graduation test, every kid who is excused is given a big, fat zero, so that brings the whole school’s average down. A school district would rather give a kid with a cognitive disability the test and have him/her score a 30 than excuse him and have to average in that zero. Parents have to fight to get their kids excused.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    lawguy says:

    @dr. bloor: Interesting point. Certainly the ADHD meds made her worse, or so I’m told and I don’t know how long they held to the original diagnosis.

    One part of the equation that hasn’t been delt with in my case are the facts that the parents are separated and continue to fight and there are other half siblings in both families. So who knows what the ultimate cause[s?] is/are.

  72. 72
    Sly says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Has he no idea that modern education has always been beholden to fadish reforms?(new math, whole language, etc.)

    In fairness, not many people know this precisely because they come and go in such a rapid fashion, and the one class of people who would know about this the most (teachers) are in a profession with a high turnover rate. When nearly half of all teachers quit within their first five years, the new edu-jargon that comes along every ten years seems like wisdom passed down through the ages. One of my professors in grad school was a public school teacher since the Eisenhower administration. Everything was a fad to her.

    And administrators are no help, because if you walk into an interview today not knowing what Understanding By Design or differentiated instruction is, down to the precise technical details, you’re probably not getting a teaching job no matter how qualified you are otherwise. In five years they’ll have moved on to 21st Century Learning (which many already have) or something else currently baking in the minds of educational consultants.

  73. 73
    WyldPirate says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    There is a hidden composite variable, likely parental SES

    c’mon, dude. define your acronym SES. This is the second time you used it and it is doubtful that many folks know WTF it means.

  74. 74
    Sly says:

    @WyldPirate:

    c’mon, dude. define your acronym SES. This is the second time you used it and it is doubtful that many folks know WTF it means.

    An educated guess: Socioeconomic status.

  75. 75
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @WyldPirate: SES is socio-economic status, and “dude” will use that and other acronyms with both wild abandon and no concern for who understands them. It’s part of her unique and discrete charm.

  76. 76
    Alex S. says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    I hope the Toaster Test is an example to demonstrate the difference between causation and correlation. Because I would guess that this kind of relation has nothing to do with the appliances themselves, but with the observation that poor people tend to have more children and people with electric appliances (in the Philippines during the 50’s) are relatively rich.

  77. 77
    THE says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    In theory, one could implement birthcontrol by handing out toasters.

    I don’t believe the toasters theory.
    But it could be electric blankets.
    I could believe that.

    People who are cold in bed might be more tempted to get dangerously close.

  78. 78

    Overlay map with wind drift patterns of radioactive fallout from Operation Plumbbob (and preceding above ground tests which ended in 1957) to the subsequent explosion of hyperactivity disorder. Try to forget the link between thyroid poisoning (which regulate activity levels) and those radioactive elements rained down on the northwest and midwest (see the weather maps). Note that the area immediately at the test site has less disease because the poisons were lofted states away.

    Enjoy.

  79. 79
    Marc says:

    There have always been a few kids who are jumping off the walls. But this fraction – you know, the kids that we all knew were “hyper” 20 years ago – is and has always been a tiny proportion, of order a percent or so, of all children.

    15% of boys diagnosed with a condition requiring medication.

    Only in the United States.

    Only in some states in the United States.

    And this doesn’t raise any alarm bells at all?

    The rate of diagnosis multiplying like crazy doesn’t raise any concerns?

    *Of course* if you medicate kids so that they can tolerate repetitive tasks they’ll do better in schools. Might, perhaps, the better question be whether the schools should change instead?

  80. 80
    Cassidy says:

    It would be interesting to see a map of the number of medical personnel trained in the diagnosing of ADHD.

    There has been a shortage of Developmental Pediatrics for a few years now. Expect this to get worse when the new DMSV comes out.

    I’m curious how this map compares to an overlay of business influence in school? For instance, I don’t know which company, but they have a monopoly in Duval County where my sister teaches. Everything from books, to curriculum, leading to the standardized test, comes from them.

  81. 81
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @WyldPirate: I USE IT ALL THE TIME.
    Socioeconomic status.

  82. 82
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): you are about as hiphop as michael steele.

  83. 83
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Alex S.: it is the classic example of correlation and causation.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    @Marc:

    “This is a fad driven by high-stakes tests. Everyone supports it – troublesome kids get medicated, you get dispensations on test scores for special ed children, and lots of money gets made by the medical profession. The only losers are the kids, but who said that this was actually for their benefit anyhow?”

    Only someone who isn’t the parent of an ADHD kid could write such transcendently stupid shit.

  85. 85
    Citizen_X says:

    @DPirate:

    The Northeast is chock full of parents gullible enough to drug their children at the drop of a hat, while the rest of the country needs more convincing.

    Well, both maps clearly show higher incidence rates in the southeast (and Ohio-River-Valley midwest) than in the NE. So what’s your excuse?

    (To be more fair, though: a map which uses two color scales–blues, then grays–to show gradational data is confusing, and a poor example of map design.)

  86. 86
    Violet says:

    What about P.E. classes and their disappearance from the school scene? Along with kids just generally getting less exercise than they used to 20, 30, 40 years ago. Some of that may come into play in the increase of ADHD. Activity is known to increase seratonin levels. Who knows what else it may do neurologically that affects the ability of kids with ADHD to sit still and concentrate better. I’m not saying it’s a panacea, but it may be part of the issue for some kids.

    I remember seeing something about a boys-only classroom with stand up desks. I think they said behavior problems dropped because the boys were essentially moving all day and burning many more calories.

    As for food being an issue, that’s definitely part of the equation as well. I think it was the film “Super Size Me” where they switched kids at an alternative school from the usual school food crap to healthy organic food and behavior problems dropped. There’s definitely a connection.

  87. 87
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet:

    I think it was the film “Super Size Me” where they switched kids at an alternative school from the usual school food crap to healthy organic food and behavior problems dropped. There’s definitely a connection.

    I know that film was going for a certain angle (and I confess I haven’t seen it) but I wonder if this is any relation to the fact that for a lot of kids the school lunch is the only good solid meal they get in their day. If what they get is rather junky and burned off quickly, it leads to issues, whereas the slower digested organic stuff is better on their systems. It’s hard to say from one example in one movie. Might be worth exploring however.

  88. 88
    Marc says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If you read my note above, you’d see I have direct experience in the same subject. I know that a lot of folks are investing in the idea that they made the right choice for their particular kid. If the entire thing is being drastically misdiagnosed, however, then we’re not doing parents a favor by pretending that we have no grounds to criticize. And I’m very strongly of the opinion that’s precisely what’s going on.

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @Yutsano:
    It was Appleton Central Alternative School in Wisconsin. You can read about what they did here. Excerpts:

    In 1997 Natural Ovens of Manitowoc, WI initiated a five-year project to bring healthy food into area schools. The goal was to show that fresh, nutritious food can make a real difference in the student’s behavior, learning and health.
    __
    Just prior to the beginning of the program, Greg Bretthauer was offered the job of dean of students at the school. What he saw were teens who were “rude, obnoxious, and ill mannered” and he turned the job down. Because the school had so many problems with discipline and weapons violations a police officer was recruited to be on the staff. He found a school that was out of control.

    and

    Mary Bruyette, a teacher at the high school, believes “If you’ve been guzzling Mountain Dew and eating chips and you’re flying all over the place I don’t think you’re going to pick up a whole lot in class.” She reports that the students are now calm and well behaved. “I don’t have to deal with the daily discipline issues; that just isn’t an issue here.”
    __
    Mary goes on to say, “Our biggest problems now at the school are parking in the parking lot and student tardiness. I don’t have the disruptions in class or the difficulties with student behavior that I experienced before we started the food program.”
    __
    Students who previously had been headed for trouble have turned their lives around, according to Dr. Thomas Scullen, Superintendent of the Appleton Area School District. He told the interviewer, “We have kids who have had a lot of problems and got through the whole last year without an expulsion. Drop-outs dropped to non-existent. Kids came to school. They have learned that with healthier foods it’s going to make them a better person. It keeps them more focused and makes them happier.”

    I don’t think that these kids are low income kids whose only meal is at the school, but I could be wrong.

  90. 90

    @Marc: I agree with Marc that there’s a real question here. That doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as ADHD, but that it’s overdiagnosed.

    A lot of the mental health I see (personal experience, the experience of friends) is very basic: “Something seems to be wrong — let’s see if this works”. It’s not like medicine, where they know who has diabetes and who has high blood pressure. And I have known at least one neglectful parent decide that her misbehaving son should be put on medication. The parent tried to solve their own problem with medication instead of behavior change, and it didn’t work for them either.

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: This definitely seems worth exploring in say another region of the country to see if this success can indeed be duplicated. If so, even if all it does is ameliorate the ADHD problem with a rather small expense (there’s a soup kitchen in LA that does gourmet meals that shows that smart purchasing leads to controlled food costs) that definitely seems worth it to me. In fact isn’t the FLOTUS pushing something along these lines?

  92. 92
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: why the fuck isnt the LoOG in the blogs-we-mock column?
    Its a vomitorium for market-based glibetarian bulshytt.

  93. 93
    Violet says:

    @Yutsano:
    Jamie Oliver, the British chef, did something like this in Huntington, WV and they made a TV show about the process. Currently the second season is airing and he’s in L.A. Apparently the L.A. school district was a real pain. The show didn’t do well in ratings, so they pulled it after two weeks, but they’re burning off the episodes now.

    There’s a lot tied into the issue, between food providers, people who cook, lack of actual kitchens in schools, etc. It’s a huge issue.

    It seems so short sighted to me not to do something about it because providing good food for kids does a bunch of good stuff, including improving their health and their academic performance, not to mention modeling good food choices as a life long skill that will potentially reduce health costs.

  94. 94
    WyldPirate says:

    @Sly:

    Thanks, sly. It was early b4 my two cups of joe landed me in fully-awake land.and that one escaped me as I tried to figure it out earlier.

    Just a pet peeve of mine when folks use non-standard acronyms w/o introducing them with the first use.

  95. 95
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    a bunch of word salad fence-sitting, ahistorical claptrap with a subtle dig at public unions?
    Also, Kain is back polishing the horns on his “free market” unicorns again.

    Why the fuck is mistermix linking this bulshytt?
    Is he being paid?
    The LoOG is a vomitorium for glibertarian bulshytt, and EDK is the bulshytt-talker in chief.
    AMG

    I find myself wandering hither and thither across the frozen sea. I suppose to me these are both phrases that ought to be uttered by anyone who cares about either issue. Perhaps that makes me a bleeding-heart-libertarian. I know that I have become more and more disenchanted with the left, and yet I cannot help but think that libertarians would be better off avoiding too much affiliation with the right. Liberal-tarianism is not dead yet, and I aim to pick up where I left off. Liberalism is a big tent as far as I’m concerned, even if icy lakes lie between one pole and the other.
    __
    I’m not sure exactly what differentiates classical liberals, liberal-tarians, and bleeding-heart-libertarians. What I do know is that I am too Hayekian not to be a bottom-up liberal (to borrow Tim Lee’s phrase) and too egalitarian not to be a bit of a lefty nonetheless. I don’t mind speaking of social justice and economic freedom in the same breath. In many ways they are complimentary, not mutually exclusive, as Jason has admirably illustrated in these pages.

    jesus mary and joseph.
    TAKE THESE FUCKERS OFF THE BLOGROLL COLE!

  96. 96
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @WyldPirate: it is a standard acronym and i personally have used it and defined it multiple times ON THIS VERY BLOG.
    google is your friend

  97. 97
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: Jamie Oliver is enough of an evangelist for the good food movement to continue this work even without the cameras rolling. Granted it’s the job of producers to grease the gears in order to make this happen, but even without that Oliver could still manage it. And you’re right that kids keep their food habits into adulthood (for the most part, I know mine have changed for a variety of reasons) so getting them started early on getting in the good stuff is a smart socioeconomic idea.

    @WyldPirate: FWIW it took some thinking on my part to figure it out as well. I may need to start drinking coffee in the mornings again. :)

  98. 98
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @mistermix

    I have become more and more disenchanted with the left

    he is disenchanted because juicers wont shut up and swallow his glibertarian/”freed” market/GaJo/we-are-all-the-same crapology.
    EDK is McMegan with a dick for cripes sake.
    Except he’s not as tall.
    ;)
    WHY ARE YOU LINKING THIS HUMAN WEATHERVANE?
    he has more positions than the kama-sutra, and they are ALL just cover for hardcore free market fuckery.

  99. 99
    Alex S. says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    If I may add something:

    Recently we had the Labor Roundtable and much interesting discussion on the nature and necessity of organized labor in America ensued. I’ve cooled on the idea of unions lately, at least in their current form, and have had a number of really good conversations in the past couple of days after writing this post, about unions and particularly teachers unions.
    Certainly teachers unions represent a major obstacle to reform of our education system. In that sense, I both approve and disapprove of their influence. I approve of any efforts to curtail high-stakes testing, and unions certainly are avid opponents of such testing. But it’s also true that at least part of the reason we’ve come to this point in the first place is that unions have consistently opposed reforms across the board – not just high-stakes testing. Using tests as a metric for teachers is one way reformers are attempting to break the inertia created by unions. I think it’s an unfortunate way to go about it, but it’s not surprising that this – along with school choice efforts – have focused on curbing union power.

  100. 100
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    For EDK, since I cant comment there.

    I’m not sure exactly what differentiates classical liberals, liberal-tarians, and bleeding-heart-libertarians.

    NOTHING differentiates them you assclown.
    They are all weasel words FOR THE EXACT SAME THING.

  101. 101
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Alex S.: so why is mistermix linking this intransigent assclown?
    His true colors are gobsmakingly obvious at this point.
    He has nothing to say except bulshytt.

    …a technical or clinical term denoting speech (typically but not necessarily commercial or political) that employs euphemism, convenient vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges to create the impression that something has been said.
    usage note: It is inherent in the mentality of extramuros bulshytt talkers that they are more prone than anyone else to taking offense (or pretending to) when their bullshytt is pointed out to them.

  102. 102
    Cromagnon says:

    @Olivia:

    Exactly. The ADHD ‘epidemic’ is mostly just about selling drugs.

  103. 103
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    I don’t know about the rest of the juicers but I’m fucking sick of EDK “wandering hither and thither across the frozen sea” and mistermix and dougj perpetually linking his eternal meaningless meanderings.
    Lets chop a hole with our ice axes and drown the fucker.

  104. 104
    aimai says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    Jeezus christ GA do you have ADD yourself? Stop whingeing on about your current obsession EDK. He’s just not that into you.

    aimai

  105. 105
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @aimai: I dont have ADD I have aspergers. I was diagnosed at Children’s Hospital when I was 10.
    there is a simple remedy for my whingeing.
    mistermix can stop linking the dishonest little fucker.
    And move the LoOG into the blogs we mock column.
    Then i’ll gladly stop.
    ;)

  106. 106
    Violet says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    there is a simple remedy for my whingeing.
    mistermix can stop linking the dishonest little fucker.

    Just out of curiosity, how is mistermix responsible for your behavior? You are in charge of your behavior. You are the one doing the whingeing and only you can stop it. What mistermix does or does not do is unrelated to you controlling your own behavior.

  107. 107
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @aimai: and….what do you and kay the rest of the EDKfanboiz and grrls have to say about EDK’s new revelations on teachers unions?
    Don’t you feel a bit betrayed for all the praise you lavished on him?
    Do you want to see links aimai?
    I am the master of google-fu and the interwebz are FOREVAH.
    I bet you would rather i just shut up so you dont have to be embarrassed by your past slobbering over EDK’s “conversion” narrative.

  108. 108
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @WyldPirate:
    I suppose this is one of the liabilities of reading comments on a left-of-center site, you occasionally run into this strain of anti-psychiatry nuttery.

    I think it’s important to separate out the “psychiatry by pharmacology” practiced by overworked, pressured GPs and psychiatry practiced by its specialists. You know about the pressure GPs get from parents to give kids antibiotics when they’re not needed? It’s similar with ADD/ADHD diagnosis. Most of these disorders are “diagnosed” by GPs/school nurses who have almost no context/background to diagnose the disorder, other than that it’s a convenient way to get themselves out from under parent/teacher pressure.

    On the psychiatry side, I think an underappreciated nature of our modern lives is the affect they have on our psyches and the physical results of that. Humans didn’t evolve for most of their history under modern conditions, and it’s not surprising that exposure to the isolation/stress level of modern life unmasks lots of latent psychological issues in a large minority of people.

    I think a great analogy to this situation is to look at skyrocketing numbers of dogs going to rescue organizations for “behavior” disorders. By and large, these dogs don’t actually HAVE problems; they are, however, dealing with the disconnect between the function they have evolved for (largely working) and their modern function as companions who spend a lot of time sitting at home alone. The problems they experience, however, are real–that can’t be denied: they often become insecure and act out, become depressed, etc.

    The solution isn’t to ignore the problem but to help them adapt to their new role: this involves behavioral training, often short-term medication to decrease anxiety, and some amoutn of accommodation on the part of owners. I think humans are not as different, psychologically, from dogs as we’d like to think. Just as it’s not reasonable to say “But the dog should be working! We should relocate all city dogs to the country!”, so it’s unreasonable to say “the boy is lively! he shouldn’t have to sit in a classroom, he should be out working and interacting!”. The solution isn’t to ignore that the problem is there: it’s to develop a strategy to adapt to the new normal.

  109. 109
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Violet: mistermix linked a crap post by a free market glibertarian. Usually this blog makes fun of glibertarians.
    So im entitled to bitchslap mistermix for pimping a glibertarian, I think.
    ;)
    And why move sully to the mock column and not the LoOG?
    Got a good reason for that?

  110. 110
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Violet: and you guys are calling it whingeing.
    I’m just deconstructing another libertarian free market fucktard.
    Its what I do.
    ;)

    aimai and the rest of you are embarrassed that you got spoofed.

  111. 111
    Violet says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    and you guys are calling it whingeing.

    You are calling it whingeing.

    there is a simple remedy for my whingeing.

    If you don’t think what you are doing is whingeing, don’t call it that.

    If you think your comments are justified on their own merits, then own them. If you blame mistermix or John Cole or anyone else here for your own behavior you are not telling the truth. You are in charge of your own behavior.

  112. 112
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Ghanima Atreides: Or you could go the fuck away so the rest of this blog could read as we please in peace. I know, I need to pie you, but it’s a pain in the ass with your passive aggressive nym changing.

    @Violet: Exactly. But controlling one’s own behavior isn’t as much fun as she’s having doing what she’s doing, apparently.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    As someone whose ADHD went undiagnosed for 40 years because in the 1970s, girls didn’t have ADHD, only boys did, I think it’s a combination of factors.

    I really think that the way many schools are run now — regimented “teaching to the test,” no PE, no recess, junk food in the cafeteria, etc. — is making kids who may have a minor or borderline problem with ADHD have much more major problems because there’s no flexibility in dealing with them. I know that when I was in school, I did better at schools where they could give me some flexibility. I was reading at a third-grade level in first grade, and I can only imagine how much worse my behavior would have been if I had been forced to follow along with the class instead of being put in an advanced group.

    There’s also the fact that some diagnoses become code words for other problems. You’re a nice middle-class family, so it can’t be that your child is (whisper) retarded or has other developmental disabilities. It must be ADHD, or autism, or another “respectable” diagnosis. Which makes it even worse for the child, of course, because now s/he is being treated for a problem they don’t have while the actual problem they do have is being ignored or denied.

  114. 114
    Arclite says:

    @greennotGreen:

    It might be cultural, but it would be interesting to overlay that map with one showing rates of diet-related diabetes, obesity, and/or high cholesterol.

    This was my first thought. ADHD rates are linked to TV watching. I wonder if those in the south watch more TV?

  115. 115
    Hugh says:

    @WereBear:

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. Also please forgive any Android-induced errors in this comment.

    I am in full agreement with you. Diagnostic assessment has to look at environmental conditions. In our case we knew our daughter had a good teacher through meetings and visiting the classroom. We also knew our daughter’s difficulties were experienced at home, in school and atplaydates. We put her in therapy and met regularly with the therapist. We looked hard at our parenting. It finally became clear that what was going on had to be more than environmental. The school didn’t present this to us. We presented it to them once we saw a pediatric psychiatrist (who was very careful to differentiate regarding bi-polar).

    Some have commented here reducing ADHD to a school-centric experience. It isn’t. It is pervasive in one’s life. I’m sure there are situations where neglectful schools and parents will point to something like ADHD to shift blame. That doesn’t mean ADHD as a whole and its treatment is a sham.

  116. 116
    Aimai says:

    Aspergers is not actually a synonym for aggressive rudeness and patent stupidity. You should apologize to everyone out there with aspergers and their families.

  117. 117
    Aimai says:

    Aspergers is not actually a synonym for aggressive rudeness and patent stupidity. You should apologize to everyone out there with aspergers and their families.

  118. 118
    Lysana says:

    @DPirate:

    EDIT: In other words, ADHD is bullshit. Thank you, television advertising, for record drug profits.

    Fuck. You.

    I have ADHD and unipolar depression. I have ex-bosses who could testify in court that I space out partway through conversations for no good cause. That I start out the best employee ever and wind up on written warnings because I can’t keep up after the unavoidable boredom sets in. And trust me, it’s unavoidable. Even on the medications, I can’t do the same thing for more than a year to 18 months before I lose my grip on the routine. My housecleaning shows this. My personal hygiene shows this. Tell me it’s bullshit that I have to trick myself into brushing my teeth. Tell me it’s bullshit that I can’t even keep up freelance writing after a year. Do that and I’ll gladly find enough focus to kick your ass.

    ADHD is real, people. Overdiagnosed, sure. But for those of us who are real sufferers, who slipped under the diagnosis gates for years because of gender and type of ADHD (inattentive in a female is not something they looked for when I was a kid), being told it’s bullshit is hateful and damaging. So go fuck yourself if you think so.

  119. 119
    Mike M says:

    I have two sons, now grown, that I adopted from Eastern Europe as children. My older son suffered from Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) and my younger son had/has severe ADHD among other issues. I had expected that my older son would have more problems in school due to his brain damage — and he did get special ed assistance — but it turns out that my younger son had a more serious challenge.

    Following prevailing medical advice, we didn’t medicate our son during his first two years in school in the US so as to distinguish between problems with adjustment and a chronic medical condition. When we finally decided to put my younger son on Concerta, if was like a miracle drug. He suddenly was able to sit still in class long enough to participate and pay attention. Prior to medication, I received calls from the school every day due to my son’s serious behavioral issues (and I mean serious) and he made almost no educational progress, Part of the reason for his behavior, according to my son, is that he couldn’t follow what was going on in class, so he would intentionnaly do things to distract the teacher and other students. It got him attention and it stopped the boredom.

    After medication, even though he was far behind his peers, he was able to progress steadily, if slowly. On days that he would miss his medication, I knew immediately because he would have a disruptive day in school.

    I have no doubt that ADHD is over diagnosed in many cases and in some areas more than others. But I have no doubt that it is a real mental health issue that can have severe life-long consequences if left untreated. Many other parents have given me well-intentioned advice that my son just needed to watch less TV, avoid sugar, play more sports, etc, but none of those home-grown remedies had much of any impact. Mental health issues are much more difficult to diagnose and treat than other physical ailments, but that doesn’t mean that the conditions aren’t every bit as real.

  120. 120
    Lysana says:

    @Arclite: As someone with ADHD, I personally think the TV watching is a symptom and not a cause. I know I find watching the television to be calming. I can focus on a screen. Or use it for background noise and let that carry me into focusing on something else. Perhaps the parents tend to plunk the kid down in front of the tube because it’s the only way he’ll stop bouncing off the walls?

  121. 121
    mclaren says:

    ADHD is a medical condition known as “adolescence.” Its cure involves growing up.

  122. 122
    Hugh says:

    @Mike M:

    Well said. Your story is very familiar.

    Lysana well said to you too.

  123. 123
    Lysana says:

    @mclaren: See my earlier comment. You’re another shit-for-brains.

    And thank you, Hugh. Gods, I get so tired of being told I’m a fraud.

  124. 124
    Marc says:

    @Lysana:

    Oddly enough, it cuts both ways – as noted above, the authorities in my sons school desperately wanted him to be diagnosed as having a problem. So the pressure on parents to get their kids medicated is real and enormous too.

    Coming back around, however, why can’t we adjust the system if it is serving so many children so badly? If we ignore this then the rush to medication is actively destructive. People have a spectrum of personality traits, and we’ve decided that a wide range of that spectrum is an illness. That’s tragic, in my view.

  125. 125
    Hugh says:

    @Marc:

    Marc you raise a legitimate systemic issue that ought to be looked at. Your son’s school did not serve him well. It hurt him.

    Yours and his experience has nothing to do however with the legitimacy of ADHD as a diagnosis. It has everything to do with a system that pushes people to find short cuts. You’re right to be angry about that. But in some of your comments you imply that there’s something dodgy about ADHD as a diagnosis. This is insulting to those who struggle with ADHD and to those whose loved ones struggle with it.

    When people casually claim ADHD is a fantasy (you did not out and out say this but others have) it is the opposite of being empathic. It is especially galling when the person making that claim probably feels like s/he is advocating on behalf of children. Lysana’s experience is a clear example of what ADHD can be like, hence her passion. It sounds from your last post like you are open to being more nuanced. I appreciate that.

    (quick edit – I used ADHD in regard to Lysana whose experience is in that spectrum but it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of H. Is that right, Lysana?)

  126. 126
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Aimai: sure i will.
    as soon as you apologize for being stupid enough to get scammed by a glibertarian grifter faking a conservative narrative for page clicks.
    What part of being an aspie do you not unnerstand, aimai?

    I have no UI. I have no manners. My adab is truth and I simply don’t give a shit about whos fee-fees i hurt.

  127. 127
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): no, poseur.
    linking EDK is the same as linking mcmegan. that is my point.
    if mistermix linked mcmegan juicers would scrream blue murder.
    theres no difference.

    and again, you are about as hip hop as Michael Steele.

  128. 128
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Violet: im quoting aimai, dimbo.
    If mistermix or cole linked mcmegan in a non-mocking fashion i’d do the same thing.
    I hate libertarians.
    And stupid people.

  129. 129
  130. 130

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: The solution isn’t to ignore the problem but to help them adapt to their new role: this involves behavioral training, often short-term medication to decrease anxiety, and some amoutn of accommodation on the part of owners. I think humans are not as different, psychologically, from dogs as we’d like to think. Just as it’s not reasonable to say “But the dog should be working! We should relocate all city dogs to the country!”, so it’s unreasonable to say “the boy is lively! he shouldn’t have to sit in a classroom, he should be out working and interacting!”. The solution isn’t to ignore that the problem is there: it’s to develop a strategy to adapt to the new normal.

    Your post confirms my worst beliefs about psychiatry. This was exactly the wrong thing for you to say. What you said is the very thing that sets anti-psychiatry people off.

  131. 131
    Anne Laurie says:

    As another individual whose scholastic career would have been far less complicated if I’d been diagnosed with ADD before I was almost 40, I have to add that telling a kid with ADD/ADHD “You just need to concentrate more” is as useless and cruel as telling a kid with a hearing defect “Well, listen harder“.

    Concerning Mistermix’s maps, epidemiologists have established that the cluster of ‘non-neurotypical’ problems that include ADD/ADHD, autism-spectrum disorders, bipolar, crohn’s disease & colitis (which are serotin-related), and a tendency towards substance abuse have a strong genetic component. ADD/ADHD is probably both under-diagnosed and over-diagnosed — kids who need help, including drugs, aren’t getting it; kids who don’t are being medicated for no reason. But it is not really surprising that the South, with its long history of high-impulsivity, hard-drinking, violent settlers going back to the failed Cavaliers and indentured Celtic servants of Jamestown, should produce a relatively high percentage of kids with ADD/ADHD. My “Scotch-Irish” people have the ADD “gene” (polygenetic cluster, probably) like people with Mediterranean ancestry have the thalassemia gene — it’s not much use in this modern world, but we’re stuck with the side effects regardless.

  132. 132
    aimai says:

    @Ghanima Atreides:

    You need some therapy. Seriously. I’ve been reading your stuff since you posted as Matoko Chan and I can honestly tell you that you have emotional and mental problems that go way beyond Aspergers. I have a cousin with Aspergers, by the way, and a lot of respect for people with Aspergers who struggle to fit in and lead more or less normal and productive lives. If you are struggling, as I think you are, you really need to struggle harder and get some professional help. Watching you perseverate here with your stupid, childish, hysterical attacks on everyone, your garbled arabic, your misunderstood statistics and anthropology, is just painful. Its like watching a toddler drive a car over a cliff. One feels helpless to intervene as the kid mangles himself into a bloody mess. I’m going to pie filter you not because your insults mean anything to me but because its just too horrific to watch you spiral down into incoherence, vituperation, and just plain stupidity.

    aimai

  133. 133
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @aimai: tant pis
    if you know anything about aspergers as you claim, you know that not only do i NOT CARE what you think of me, i am INCAPABLE OF CARING what you think of me.
    I do not attack everyone. I do shred EDK, Kuznicki, Kowal and the rest of the glibertarian grifters that Cole and mistermix and DougJ STILL insist on linking and blogrolling for god only knows what reason.
    And the pathetic dimwitted kumbayah subsapients that defend them.
    Like you.
    ;)

  134. 134
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @aimai: I also attack deBoer, Greenwald and Yglesias. Libertarians are just stealth conservatives, they are teabaggers with college degrees.
    And you and at least half of BJ got totally rolled by EDK’s fake-conversion narrative.
    Those guys aren’t reaching across the aisle…..they are just giving you a reacharound.
    I’m not the stupid one here, aimai.
    you got rolled.
    and bend over because they come again, and mistermix is holding the jar of vaseline for them.

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