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  #1  
Old 01-14-2011, 08:15 AM
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ADHD...What's the real deal?

This is an excerpt that I wrote in class a while back, I thought perhaps I would introduce the subject here and get opinions and insight from others on the subject just to see what the general consensus on the subject is.

Quote:
Thank you for your post, one of the unfortunate aspects of having conversations, especially of the topics that we are covering in a forum and online environment rather than in a brick and mortar and face to face environment is the limitation of space, and the lack of immediate interaction between views, so often those things that we are passionate about are often presented in a one sided view as there is a limit to the space and time that we can or do take when we deliver them, and though I do have a tendency of making longer than average posts I always have in the back of my mind, there are those that will see the length of it and just continue on to another post.

The point I am attempting to get to is that, let us take this situation as an example, I do not disbelieve in ADD/ADHD as a reputable condition, there are many that have conditions and disabilities of several different types, some are accurately diagnosed, others are never identified or diagnosed properly. ADD/ADHD is one of those conditions though that has such a broad range of symptoms and such a liberal methodology of diagnosing that it is all to often diagnosed in place of other possible conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorder and countless others (Mota-Castillo, 2007).

According to the CDC(2010) there is a statistic of 3% - 7% of school aged children that have ADHD. Further information displays a sizeable difference in the amount of these children diagnosed broken down by state ranging from 5.6% in Nevada to 15.6% in North Carolina. Many states fall in the middle of these extremes. This statistic alone is suggestive that there is likely a broad range of procedural differences when it comes to the diagnostic procedure for those who may have ADHD. This fact alone is enough to suggest that further research into the different diagnostic styles of each area in order to form a new centralized method that is used consistently is needed. Until such broad steps are taken then children, and adults are going to continue to be misdiagnosed and those who do actually suffer from ADHD and those that suffer from other conditions will continue to be treated in methods that are inconsistent with addressing their actual problems. There has also been a 22% increase in the number of parentally reported ADHD diagnosis rate between 2003 - 2007 (CDC, 2010).

Simply from the inconsistency of the statistics, as well as a suggested dependence on the view of the parent and teacher as a predominant tool, mixed with a propensity to treat with medication alone rather than inclusion of other possible method such as therapy, environmental changes, special education in many areas there is a large hole in the methodology used to diagnose, treat, and follow up on the condition of ADHD.

As I started out, this is not a suggestion that this is not a true condition that people do suffer from, nor that pharmacological treatments are never acceptable, simply that there are so many different things that are so closely associated with ADHD that unless there is a central diagnostician that is specially trained specifically with ADHD that the diagnostic rate is to say the least unreliable in both directions, and the following treatment is likely questionable at best.

I am extremely glad to hear that your son did finally receive the help that he needed and is doing so well after the condition being properly recognized and treated. On the other side of the coin so to speak there are many that actually do suffer from ADHD and are never properly diagnosed or treated as it either goes unrecognized, or is misdiagnosed as something else such as depression, anxiety or a different type of learning disability. In many instances there is no median area, either the diagnostics is extremely biased toward diagnosing ADHD, or as with the state of Vermont, legislation is designed that over compensates sending the diagnostic process biased in the opposite direction (Kanapaux, 2002).
Though I have much much more I can add, and have the references to back up my statements this time, so I can make sure not to give such a short sighted suggestion, I will end this one here with the suggestion that there is so much more we can cover if we decide to.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). CDC - ADHD, Data and Statistics - NCBDDD. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
Kanapaux, W. (2002). ADHD--Overcoming the Specter of Overdiagnosis. Psychiatric Times, 19(, na. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/adhd...le/10168/47881
Mota-Castillo, M. (2007). The Crisis of Overdiagnosed ADHD in Children. Psychiatric Times, 24(6), na. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/adhd...le/10168/53786
 
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:29 PM
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adhd is a MADE-UP disorder that EVERYONE has and the government uses this "disorder" to make hard-working parents pay them for riddellin for their children. The biggest cash cow in the entire world, the industry that makes up for the MAJORITY of the government's profits is the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY or legal drugs. I'm sure ADHD makes up for a BIG amount of that industry's profits as well
 
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBlaze View Post
adhd is a MADE-UP disorder that EVERYONE has and the government uses this "disorder" to make hard-working parents pay them for riddellin for their children. The biggest cash cow in the entire world, the industry that makes up for the MAJORITY of the government's profits is the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY or legal drugs. I'm sure ADHD makes up for a BIG amount of that industry's profits as well
Respectfully, please to not state your own opinion as FACT unless you are prepared to offer credible supporting evidence. Thank you...
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBlaze View Post
adhd is a MADE-UP disorder that EVERYONE has and the government uses this "disorder" to make hard-working parents pay them for riddellin for their children. The biggest cash cow in the entire world, the industry that makes up for the MAJORITY of the government's profits is the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY or legal drugs. I'm sure ADHD makes up for a BIG amount of that industry's profits as well
Here is where things begin to get complicated, and one of the reasons I believe that ADHD is such an over diagnosed issue. ADHD actually was discovered in 1902 by Dr. Still. Of course back then it wasn't known as ADHD and wasn't known as such until the late 80's early 90's.

The problem with diagnosing ADHD is that there are so many other issues that could be causing symptomology that closely mimics ADHD. These other things have a wide range of factors from environmental, to physiological, to other mental disorders.

I could go into thorough detail about this but I will keep it short and sweet as I doubt anyone wants to read a 1200 word paper on the subject here

Suffice it to say there are multiple reasons for why something such as ADHD is so misdiagnosed. This ranges from putting to much dependence on the observation of the parents or teachers, to broad of a symptom base in the DSM-IV, the allowance of pediatricians and general practitioners to make the diagnosis and treat without proper input from psychologist or psychiatrists that are specialized with the disorder and the lack of a consistent diagnostic procedure across the country.

ADHD actually is a viable mental condition that involves neurotransmitter and brain region function. The problem is that there is no physiological way of proving or disproving the condition except through direct long term examination by someone who specializes in this.

When teachers fill out their questionnaire they are not focused entirely on a single child all of the time but are answering through the perspective of what behavior is displayed in the classroom and what impact it has on the cohesion of all of the students and their learning environment. When parents are answering this same questionnaire they are viewing through their own perspective along with hosting their fears and reservations of authority figures being able to judge their particular behavior or parenting habits. This causes an atmosphere that is ripe for bias and misinformation.

Parents are not forthcoming that they practice corporal punishment, the habits of how they behave at home. Keep in mind this is a generalization and is not directed to everyone. Many factors can effect behavior that is similar in display as ADHD. Sexual or Physical abuse, neglect (emotional, physical), instability in living conditions, loss of pet or loved ones, consistent tension or violent environment, and the list goes on and on. All of these factors make it nearly impossible to get an accurate read of what exactly is going on in an attempt to explain behavior of a child or even an adult.

When you also add the monetary incentive to the educational system and to the parents this also lends to further bias toward the diagnosis of ADHD. Some parents are desiring the extra income for the disability status, schools are rewarded with extra funds for every child they teach that is classified as disabled. This creates and atmosphere that rewards those that are able to be classified in such a way, in the same instance as mentioned above some places go drastically to the other direction making it almost impossible to diagnose or treat those that really do suffer from ADHD.

I will close by saying that ADHD is a real mental condition just as is anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia and myriad of other conditions. The problem is the way in which they are diagnosed not the disorders themselves. In the 1980's schizophrenia was the big choice for doctors, a large contingent of mental health people were more apt to blame everything that was going on mentally on the parental unit which led to a large portion of children who actually did suffer from a disorder to never be diagnosed from the parents fear of being tagged as an unfit parent. In an effort to compensate the practice was taken drastically in the other direction...a happy an effective median is needed.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:02 AM
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I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2003. Kinda suspected it might be the case after successive clients in the medical industry pointed it out. I do take medication for it, it does help with the symptoms.

My guess is it probably is frequently either over diagnosed or misdiagnosed. In cases where it is correctly diagnosed, the pharmaceutical answer is beneficial. I do get tired of parents thinking ADHD medication is a substitute in a bottle that replaces appropriately disciplining children or simply teaching them manners... People tend to use that excuse far too often.

In my case I wish I'd found out and addressed it much earlier, but bottom line, people tend to make far too many generalizations and sweeping assumptions on the topic. I can personally attest to the validity of ADHD and the efficacy of proper treatment when appropriately diagnosed.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:49 AM
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IMHO, ADD/ADHD is a very real, but relatively rare, condition.

When an ill-defined condition with such a variety of symptoms can get a school district extra money for having 'learning-disabled' students, it serves the district's financial interests to have that condition diagnosed as widely as they can get away with. (It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the level of extra funding and the variations in diagnosis rates on a state-by-state basis.)

Drug companies, of course, share a common financial interest with school districts in this regard.

I believe coupling those factors with the desire of many parents to substitute medication for discipline, as Rob mentioned, tends to make the problem far worse than it would otherwise be.

Last edited by Bob Barr; 01-15-2011 at 09:50 AM. Reason: grammar fix
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:58 AM
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The idea that ADHD makes one learning disabled is silly anyway. It no doubt played a role in a few conduct issues, but my grades were sterling and standardized test results in the top 2% nationally. People just like handy self victimization excuses. Nothing is their fault, it's a medical condition causing everything... Not just the fact that kids with no discipline enforced at home will tend to act undisciplined elsewhere.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barr View Post
IMHO, ADD/ADHD is a very real, but relatively rare, condition.

When an ill-defined condition with such a variety of symptoms can get a school district extra money for having 'learning-disabled' students, it serves the district's financial interests to have that condition diagnosed as widely as they can get away with. (It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the level of extra funding and the variations in diagnosis rates on a state-by-state basis.)

Drug companies, of course, share a common financial interest with school districts in this regard.

I believe coupling those factors with the desire of many parents to substitute medication for discipline, as Rob mentioned, tends to make the problem far worse than it would otherwise be.
This is very true, and the dynamic you are discussing exists in our society far more than it ever has. It is something that makes proper diagnosis of almost any condition, neurological or physiological extremely difficult.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by robjones View Post
I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2003. Kinda suspected it might be the case after successive clients in the medical industry pointed it out. I do take medication for it, it does help with the symptoms.

My guess is it probably is frequently either over diagnosed or misdiagnosed. In cases where it is correctly diagnosed, the pharmaceutical answer is beneficial. I do get tired of parents thinking ADHD medication is a substitute in a bottle that replaces appropriately disciplining children or simply teaching them manners... People tend to use that excuse far too often.

In my case I wish I'd found out and addressed it much earlier, but bottom line, people tend to make far too many generalizations and sweeping assumptions on the topic. I can personally attest to the validity of ADHD and the efficacy of proper treatment when appropriately diagnosed.
This is another example of the broadness of the condition, or severity. Though this is a very bad comparison I will use it any way. Just as when a person is epileptic ADHD has altering affects and affects different regions of the brain. These differences for some can cause behavioral difficulties, for others it can cause inability to retain what they read, this is often misjudged as simply lack of reading comprehension, and in a way it actually is a comprehension problem, but it is due to the memory dynamic not the critical thinking dynamic. Segregating ADHD into levels, or differentiating into categories could help alleviate much of the confusion of this disorder. Some may have ADHD with minimal life function impairment where others may suffer to the point that it severely inhibits life function which would classify as a true disability on the level that it is being treated as a whole now.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:27 AM
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Sorry, but would you repeat that? There was a firetruck going by as I read it.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:53 AM
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There are some concerning habits of states, and the medical profession that really concern me with many things. I often stop to think, am I just being ridiculous or am I forming a perspective without information?

As an example, in Michigan (I'm not from there, just found the site) they have a review board to decide on disability eligibility, ADHD is included yet I fail to see psychiatrist or psychologist on the announced list of doctors, though I am sure they are allowed...just not required, couldn't find a date for the site so the info may be outdated, but it is primarily an example of how things are poorly handled with disorders, not only ADHD but many.
https://www.msu.edu/course/cep/888/A...les/DSM-IV.htm

As I previously stated in the 80's Schizophrenia was the diagnosis of choice, one thing that needs to be considered is that you can go back through the history of medicine and psychology and see a correlation between the alteration of the DSM and the trends in diagnoses. A great enhancement, or decrease in diagnosis of certain ailments is usually not a contribution of societal change but rather either new technology has allowed better identification or the diagnosis criteria has altered allowing for more, or requiring for less to be diagnosed under a certain title. Another issue that has plagued many in the past is the stigma of being diagnosed prior to a new review. Often if one has been diagnosed with something previously, as an example phantom patient Tammy is diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1984, this was not function inhibiting to the point that she is not able to function in normal society. in 1999 she begins having greater difficulty and is again evaluated. The DSM (Manual Doctors Use to help Diagnose) has changed in many key areas. New additions, change in diagnostic criteria. The new physician/psychologist evaluates Tammy's medical history and forms a bias toward Schizophrenia. This inhibits unbiased diagnosis and rather than being diagnosed of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is instead diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.

Again, I see many things in research and treatment that when looked at just seems as though it is common sense to know what is being concluded is completely wrong but is often accepted by many as credible.
 
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:59 AM
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With respect to the person that said ADHD is made up - I think I'll give you a bit of history of mental health.
(disclaimer - I run a mental health site, and I'm bipolar 1 myself)

Being 'gay' was a mental health issue until the late 80's, when I believe it was removed from the DSM (and no, I don't agree with that - I think it's a good thing it was removed because it's many levels of wrong and a whole other conversation).
(http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbo...al_health.html)
Depsite being a recognised disorder, there's serious talk of removing Aspergers from the DSM-V and merging it 'down' into autism - http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...liminated.html
Ten years ago bipolars, people with Borderline Personality Disorder, and schizophrenia were treated with the same medication - Lithium. Now, we've all got different meds, and even lithium is being shunned for treating bipolars.
Ten years ago, if I'd presented with half of the symptons I did this time last year, not only would I have been hospitalised (paranoia, hallucinations, severe depression), but I'd probably have had a new diagnosis - now it's recognised that atypical bipolars do what I do.

Mental health is an evolving community- ten years ago I was told that without medication I wouldn't live to see my 30th birthday, or that, at least I would live in an asylum from around then.

Back to the subject at hand - ADHD is real. It's also new (at least in terms of the DSM), so is probably over-diagnosed - that's not to be flippant about the diagnosis, far from it - but the fact of the matter is that when someone sees a bad child they go one of two ways - they think that a mother isn't disciplining the child enough or that the child has some form of attention disorder. Having been through both sides, she's actually come out with an entirely different dx, which is fine, but I really did get sick of people asking why she wasn't being treated for ADHD (she being my youngest).
There's a study kicking around somewhere that suggests that the first X years of a diagnosis existing or being adopted that it's all people see. I was unlucky enough to be caught right at the beginning of the BPD movement in the UK, and I was tagged, at first as a sociopath and a narccisist. I was just *really* manic.
Meeting adults that have a DX of ADHD is a bit different - there's one of two reasons for it - either you genuinely have problems or you've learned to split your attention - having a small measure of ADHD is probably common now because of how tech is impinging on the world we live in, but it's difficult to diagnose in adults. Mind you, having said that, my only issue with dx's coming in later life is when an adult takes one on without actually being diagnosed, which is a whole other rant - this is a great site for the information - http://helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm.
In CHILDREN - there's a specific spectrum scale- I can't remember what it's called, but my youngest had it done - it's a combination of a psyhciatrist, and a psychologist's report and a report from teachers. It combines a whole pile of things, but one of the main charts at the top can tell if a child is ADHD/ADD - at least that's how they did it in the UK. The problem with that is whatever the youngest has, so do I - and I've been definitively proven not to have ADHD (I can sit and work for 12 hours at a time, rarely get distracted and can write like a pro... Even I get the 'oooh shinies' sometimes though.

And as mentioned - my biggest problem with mental health - it isn't overdiagnosis - that comes a close second - my biggest problem is with self diagnosis or diagnosing children if you're not a professional. While it's true that people soemtimes get it right - and that doctors sometimes get it wrong - I know people wandering around who say 'I've got ADHD' when they mean 'I'm a bit scatter-brained and I've seen people don't get angry if they think there's a reason for it.
Or 'I'm bipolar' when someone is trying to explain poor behaviour and outbursts. It's not to say they *aren't* but jezum crow, after everything I've been through to actually get my dx, which is what I am, and I'm fine with, I think others should be subjected to most of the least traumatic of the same.

And 'the gamerslink' - if it's mentioning DSM-IV it's about 1994 - around now, though we're actually now using the DSM-iV TR edition - I believe that's when that one was introduced, and has been used until now - not sure if the DSM-V has been introduced yet, but it's coming.

Kai
(sources - I'm bipolar, I'm the parent of a mental health challenged child and I'm a psychology undergrad - Postgradding in Forensic Linguistics )

Last edited by Kaiberie; 01-15-2011 at 12:07 PM.
 
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:37 PM
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Unless you have walked in the shoes (or lived in the mind) of someone with ADHD you cannot even begin to understand what it is truly like.

I have said it before, but it is worth mentioning again. It is not that a person with ADHD cannot focus, it is that we focus on too much.

As I respond to this thread, my mind hears the traffic outside, the sirens off in the distance, the train passing over a mile away, the sound of music from my kid's room, and I am aware that the cat is knocking stuff down. I hear the water dripping in the kitchen sink, and the clicks of messenger friends going on and offline, along with the sound of a dog barking somewhere. I also note the headache just above my left eye, along with the fact that I have the heat set a bit too high. To all of this, add the fact that my brain is already racing ahead to the next topic, something I saw earlier, along with an issue I need to solve shortly.

People without ADHD have filters that decide which of these things are important to what they are doing. People with ADHD do not. To a person with ADHD these things all come at us with the same priority level. Some people with ADHD take medication to bring it to a tolerable level. Others learn techniques to keep their focus on what is important or learn to avoid those things that cause the biggest issues.

For me, too much stimuli is a huge issue, so I avoid things like malls. When I go to the rodeo I avoid tents that keep all the distractions within, and the loudest areas, such as the carnival. I still find enjoyment there, but in quieter areas, such as the barns and training arenas, not in the middle off things, but off to the side.

I have also learned that there are some things that can quiet all the stimuli, such as seeing the world through the lens of my camera. When I am shooting, nothing exist but the scene I have in focus.

When I hear someone say ADHD is a made up disorder, I take it personally.

Just my 2 cents...
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:51 PM
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WOW! Did I kill this discussion?
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Cricket View Post
WOW! Did I kill this discussion?
I think everyone just feels like you have had the last word
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBlaze View Post
adhd is a MADE-UP disorder that EVERYONE has and the government uses this "disorder" to make hard-working parents pay them for riddellin for their children. The biggest cash cow in the entire world, the industry that makes up for the MAJORITY of the government's profits is the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY or legal drugs. I'm sure ADHD makes up for a BIG amount of that industry's profits as well
I agree with everything you said except I do believe some people truly do have disorders. As a matter of fact, I know I have some type of disorder but I have not been officially diagnosed. What the disorder is, only my wife knows for sure...
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:06 PM
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If it's any consolation, I agree with her. [I'm married, I'm trained to do that.]
 
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by pctec View Post
I agree with everything you said except I do believe some people truly do have disorders. As a matter of fact, I know I have some type of disorder but I have not been officially diagnosed. What the disorder is, only my wife knows for sure...
Hi there pctec!,

I can confidently say you do indeed have some disorders...hold on! Wait!! Let me explain

Research shows empirically that nearly everyone...in my personal opinion everyone has some degree of one or more disorders be them emotional or neurological in nature. To expand on the difference between emotional and neurological even further, which came first, the proverbial chicken or the egg?

Neurological function has a direct impact on our emotions. If neurotransmitter firings are altered so is our emotional state. If certain regions of the brain, or certain physiological functions are altered then important neurotransmitters are most likely going to be either over produced or under produced. At the same time however, our emotional state directly impacts our neurological workings as well as our physiological system. An environment or a stimuli that causes anxiety, apprehension, fear, love, or relaxation all have a direct effect on how our bodies function and in turn effect how our brains and cognitive functions are working. So to say that both are inter-related or inter-dependent is probably somewhat of an understatement but you get the general idea....

As for what I said about you having disorders....we all have disorders to a degree, are they emotional or physiological? Well that really is a good question and it is likely the answer is both. The determining factor though of those who get diagnosed and treated for disorders are not someone who has a specific disorder in comparison to the rest of us who don't, it is a matter of their particular disorders are inhibiting their life function, in other words creating such a large scale problem that they are unable to live their lives or hold a job. They have reached a point of dysfunction that prevents normal or close to normal life function and social interaction...if that makes any sense....
 
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricket View Post
WOW! Did I kill this discussion?
Hope not, I like these types of topics, even though they do have the danger of becoming quite heated even in the psychological world.

One, well actually a few theories that are held and discussed in the anthropological side of psychology is that ADHD and other disorders are not actually disorders at all, they are actually hereditary and genetic in nature. A couple of interesting references...

The Edison gene: ADHD and the gift

and

Evolution and Revolution in Child Psychiatry:
ADHD as a Disorder of Adaptation
 
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:07 AM
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I will never find the source, it was based on a study, that said this dis-order in children of school age is often misdiagnosed. The real cause in those cases studied was parents rushing them to school at the earliest possible age. They just weren't ready to buckle down and study.

I realize that many children exhibit problems before school and this study did not address those cases.
 
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