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alaskanlaughter
10-02-2013, 06:11 PM
MODS - Please move where appropriate. I just wasn't sure of where it should go.

I wanted to talk with adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The more I pay attention to my eating habits, the more I find that I'm super impulsive when it comes to eating. I don't think it's just "low willpower". I think it's more like "high impulsivity." My teenager was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 and I always assumed it was inherited from his dad who is bipolar.

I'm curious to talk with others who have ADHD as adults and whether this has negatively impacted their lives and their weight loss journey.

I know that I am a very high-energy person and I'm even more high-energy since losing about 40 pounds. I have a demanding job where I am required to multi-task all day and be on my feet most of the day. To me, this is fun! My idea of torture is being forced to sit at a desk for an 8-hour shift and I don't know HOW my husband and others do this and enjoy it. I've never taken a desk job in my whole life. While I enjoy classes, love to learn, and can become extremely focused on an assignment, I can't stand to sit in a classroom for very long and I get very restless and start to have difficulty focusing on the speaker.

I also do the majority of the housework at home, keep track of the budgets, and am very good with details, planning ahead and working efficiently. I love having lots of things to do and I HATE weekends where I have nothing going on. I don't like sitting down for long either and, when I'm on my computer at home, I'm often flipping between a few open browser tabs reading things. I can become engrossed in a novel but lose attention after about half an hour or less and find myself playing on my phone or looking for something to clean at home. Some people dream of a vacation lying on the beach. To me that sounds horribly dull to just sit around and do nothing lol.

I also exercise daily and am involved in a few work-related organizations around town. My mind is always going, always thinking, jumping around topics in my head. Sometimes I can't sleep because my brain won't shut off.

However this IS NOT negatively impacting my life except I am recognizing the impulsiveness around food. I also tend to get focused on food and cannot stop thinking about it. Someone said I could have ADHD or similar since my son does, and I just wondered about others' experiences, if this sounds familiar to them.

Has anyone else experienced ADHD in a mostly positive way? How do you control impulsiveness around food?


GlamourGirl827
10-02-2013, 08:33 PM
My goodness if you lived in Jersey, we could be best buds! lol

I don't know if its ADHD in my case because I can focus on one task if I need to. However I am like you, even with the multiple browsers open for simultaneous reading! I prefer to bounce around from thing to thing, always on the go. I find that if I have down time is when I eat. I am bored with pretty much any down time. I almost find it depressing not to have something to do every waking moment.

I seriously struggle with not being busy and out and about every waking momnet if my day. I was just thinking yesterday, how when I do feel the need to relax, sitting for about 5-10 minutes does the trick and then I'm up and puttering around and onto something else. I tend to start many projects and I have been working on starting one task, then finishing it before moving on to the next. I learned in a recent class that having multiple tasks going at once, is not effective time managment, but I get board with one task if I see it through from beginning to end without switching to something else. Even my house cleaning effects this.

I don't think I'm impuslive though. I'm actually super big on planning, like everything. I do calculate everything I do, which I can see in my eating habits *at times* that I'm actually to calculated with my food plans and I start to feel frustrated then go crazy and then make an unplanned (and often poor) food choice.

My son is diagnosed on the austism spectrum. He also has issues with OCD and anxiety and issues with impulsiveness. He's not considered adhd though for the same reason, that he is able to focus when he wants to.

seabiscuit
10-02-2013, 09:24 PM
Hi alaskanlaughter-

I can definitely relate to what you explained. I was the student in school who daydreamed and had a tough time with homework and had an incredibly messy room. I was diagnosed with "part-ADHD" or "part-ADD" at a young age. I tried Ritalin in junior high, it helped me focus, then I went off of it and I have been on Strattera and Dexedrine at later points in my life. I didn't like the side effects of those meds, and I don't currently take any of those meds but focusing, organizing and not procrastinating are huge challenges for me. I think that what has helped are 'tricks' like keeping my keys, change, cards, etc in the same place, focusing on tackling things bit by bit, not overwhelming myself. I also have tried to accept myself more for who I am, not berating myself for losing things like I used to.

Yes, I can absolutely relate to the frustrations I have had with weight loss, I think that is such an issue because weight loss requires dedication and focus. I never connected the ADHD to weight loss difficulty, but it truly makes sense why it is so tough for me, thank you for connecting those dots with your post! I think for me, I tend to focus more on things that I want to do and that I enjoy, maybe if I saw weight loss as something that I want to do for me instead of a chore, then it wouldn't be so tedious and arduous, which tends to cause me to give up more easily because I lose interest.

There are some good books: Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell and Healing ADD by Daniel Amen.

I sincerely hope for the best with this for you. I have tried to grow to accept myself for who I am with this issue, I hope you can too because you are a lovely person. :)


theox
10-02-2013, 10:48 PM
Has anyone else experienced ADHD in a mostly positive way? How do you control impulsiveness around food?

If ADD/ADHD were "a mostly positive" experience, it wouldn't be classified as a medical disorder. People may cope with it well and be successful in spite of it, but I don't think there's anything inherently positive about having it.:shrug:

I don't know if the mods will let it stay up, but here's an article from NPR about the possible connection between ADHD and obesity:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/20/185521490/adhd-in-childhood-may-feed-obesity-in-adults (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/20/185521490/adhd-in-childhood-may-feed-obesity-in-adults)

And here's an article from Additude (an ADD/ADHD magazine) on how "end impulsive eating":
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7306.html

kaplods
10-02-2013, 11:37 PM
If ADD/ADHD were "a mostly positive" experience, it wouldn't be classified as a medical disorder. People may cope with it well and be successful in spite of it, but I don't think there's anything inherently positive about having it.:shrug:



Actually many experts disagree and even argue that ADHD is classified as a "disorder" only because of the modern method of education that teaches to only one kind of learner. Rather, they argue that ADHD is simply a "learning style" that reflects one way that the brain can be organized.

One theory links the ADHD brain as a genetic adaptation that is highly suited to the skills of "warriors and hunters," while the more common, non-ADHD brain is more suited to "gatherers."

Another theory links the ADHD to PTSD of the parents. ADHD being the adaptation to deal with "war" (again linking to the skills needed as a warrior) and the non-ADHD brain is the adaptation for times of peace and abundance.

I find ADHD fascinating, because my learning style and level of distractibility lines up more with the ADHD model mentally, but not physically. Even as a small child, I had a body that could sit motionless for hours, but a mind that was in constant movement, easily distracted and always flitting from subject to subject. Luckily I my thoughts were SO swift that I could usually hide the fact, in class, that I wasn't paying attention. I would hide novels in my math book for example and read during class.


Hubby calls me "ferret in a glass ball factory, constantly being distracted by all the pretty "ooh shiny" things.

I have the attention span of a gnat for anything that doesn't interest me. Almost everything interests me, but only for five minutes. A few things interest me to the point that I can become hyperfocused (which is sometimes considered an ADHD variant or symptom). During hyperfocus, the rest of the world disappears. If I was caught up in a good book, for example, the house could burn down around me, and I'd never notice.

Such intense hyperfocus is often seen in ADHD as well as in people with OCD and Autism spectrum disorders as well.

Whether these patterns of learning and thought are true "disorders" or just normal patterns that are no longer considered useful, is difficult to say, but an argument can be made for both perspectives.

alaskanlaughter
10-03-2013, 12:46 AM
thank you everyone! :) I've nodded in agreement with so many responses that I can't figure out how to quote them all to reply....but YES I know exactly what most of you are talking about with ADHD-like behaviors....it's taken me a very long time to start wondering "does everyone's brain work like this? and what if i'm the only one?"....I feel like my brain just works 50%faster than anyone else's, zooming all over the place....

for me it HAS been positive, because it allows me to tackle so many things in my life quickly and efficiently and successfully - work, kids, home life, budgeting, extra activities, etc - so maybe it's not worth looking into a "diagnosis"...I doubt I will....because whatever it is, is not impacting me negatively beyond weight loss

kaplods - I agree with the link between PTSD and ADHD...I just was at a conference that touched on that...I posted it in here under another thread title "epigenetics"

kaplods
10-03-2013, 01:45 AM
thank you everyone! :) I've nodded in agreement with so many responses that I can't figure out how to quote them all to reply....but YES I know exactly what most of you are talking about with ADHD-like behaviors....it's taken me a very long time to start wondering "does everyone's brain work like this? and what if i'm the only one?"....I feel like my brain just works 50%faster than anyone else's, zooming all over the place....

for me it HAS been positive, because it allows me to tackle so many things in my life quickly and efficiently and successfully - work, kids, home life, budgeting, extra activities, etc - so maybe it's not worth looking into a "diagnosis"...I doubt I will....because whatever it is, is not impacting me negatively beyond weight loss

kaplods - I agree with the link between PTSD and ADHD...I just was at a conference that touched on that...I posted it in here under another thread title "epigenetics"


I find the field of epigenetics fascinating, perhaps especially because I am adopted. The interaction between environment and genetics makes more sense to me than the either/or debates, or maybe I just want to feel integrated myself.

I became interested in ADHD when I read an article by a physician who linked her own childhood ADHD with her fibromyalgia as an adult. She believes there is a link between fibromyalgia and ADHD and that fibro may be a natural progression of ADHD, or that the brain physiology that causes one, also causes the other.

She believes both are caused by "over active" or overly sensitive neurons which fire too-easily and too-rapidly compared to "normal."

The theory makes sense, but there's not much research support at this point (and most of what does exist was done by the aforementioned doctor herself, so observational bias has to be considered).

Interesting theory though.

Btw, have you ever noticed time "distortion" as a result of your "fast brain?"

Sometimes it seems others are in "slow mo" and it takes "forever" for others to respond or get to the point in a conversation. I literally become distracted during the time it takes for someone to answer or finishing a question I've asked. Or if they're talking on a topic I know a lot about or one I find boring I have to fight the urge to rush them through to "new" or "more interesting" part.

The fibro has allowed me to see the reverse. During the "brain fog" of bad flare, my brain can work so slowly that my husband will have time to repeat his question twice, or ask, "Did you hear me?" before I've finished processing the question.

Hubby says now I finally know what it feels like to try to talk to me on my normal or manic days (that is with someone who thinks at a higher speed). He says I also often leave vital information out of a conversation because I've "said it in my head" and don't always realize I haven't said all of it out loud.

From my perspective, he isn't picking up on the obvious... that what I left unsaid was so obvious he should have made the connection.

Even though I know it's my fibro or normal brain at work, being out of sync is equally frustrating whether my brain is working much faster or much slower than the people I'm talking to.

It's one of the reasons I'm more comfortable with written communication, because I can use whatever pace I need.

Song of Surly
10-03-2013, 10:27 AM
A few things:

There are three different types of ADHD. I noticed that Kaplods spoke about not having the physical manifestation of ADHD, and I thought I would share.

There's ADHD combined, where an individual exhibits both qualities of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention.

There's ADHD Predominately Inattentive Type where a child or adult has more aspects of inattentiveness. They may still exhibit some of the hyperactivity/impulsivity, especially in thought-processing, but they show more signs of inattentiveness. This is your disorganized daydreamer, and people with this kind of ADHD often go undiagnosed due to not having the more in-your-face symptoms. This is what type of ADHD I have.

Then there's ADHD Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type. These are your individuals who have more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, but are more capable as far as staying focused on their environment. I worked for a woman like this, and it was somewhat strange. Her mind would go 90 miles an hour, and she would talk that way to people. Everyone that worked for her was always confused, as she went so quickly with directions and where she was going in her thought-process. She was always flying off half-cocked on things; however, when I would walk into her office, it was sooo organized. When she started rattling off to me, however, I could clearly see how disorganized her mind was.

Anyway, I hope that cleared some things up. Now, as far as ADHD being a way of thinking or a syndrome. Hm. I would put it in the same category of autism. It's a way of seeing and interacting with the world, and it's all along a spectrum.

Now, there are many benefits to having ADHD, but I can't say that many feel it is a positive experience. My ADHD students are always creative. They're mover and shakers if you keep them on the right track. Most of my ADHD students have been very bright. Most are capable of picking up and understanding complex concepts much quicker than some of my other students.

On the flip side, however, for the hyperactive types, they have a number of social issues. Students (and unfortunately, teacher) become annoyed by their behavior, thinking that it is rude. They make poor decisions in a split moment that can cause great damage to their lives. My inattentive types? They're always forgetting their homework. Always forgetting their books. They ace their tests, but fail to follow directions carefully on a big assignment. They lose their cellphones, their keys, their... everything. It's a life of frustration.

And Kaplods picks up one of my greatest challenges... the distortion of the fast brain. This functions a little differently with the inattentive type, but I can live inside my brain fog for hours. I jump quickly from one place to another in my head, leaving those I'm talking to behind. I often find myself being the one in the vehicle saying random things I have noticed. I am a TERRIBLE conversationalist in a car, and it often leads people to just kind of ignore me when I'm commenting on my surroundings so much. When things pile up with multi-tasking, my brain moves so quickly from one thing that I need to do to another that I end up not getting anything done. It's frustrating, because I know that I'm doing this in my head, but it is hard to stop. Some one will have a whole conversation with me on the phone, and I won't remember a bit of it. Some one can have a whole conversation with me to my face, and I come out of some never-ever land that I was in to realize this person is talking to me and I have no idea what they're talking about. It is distressing. I've received multiple benefits from my fast brain as far as processing, but it's not done me much good because I have trouble properly applying it.

alaskanlaughter
10-03-2013, 12:06 PM
Btw, have you ever noticed time "distortion" as a result of your "fast brain?"

Sometimes it seems others are in "slow mo" and it takes "forever" for others to respond or get to the point in a conversation. I literally become distracted during the time it takes for someone to answer or finishing a question I've asked. Or if they're talking on a topic I know a lot about or one I find boring I have to fight the urge to rush them through to "new" or "more interesting" part.

He says I also often leave vital information out of a conversation because I've "said it in my head" and don't always realize I haven't said all of it out loud.
.

YES exactly!! I talk so much to my DH in my head when he's not around...I'm just thinking through conversations...and sometimes I'll forget to ACTUALLY tell him something because we already "had" this conversation before, it was just in my head though

I also find myself getting bored during conversations....And I struggle not to interrupt someone else because, when I have a comment or question in the conversation, I need to ask it NOW because by the time they're done talking I will have forgotten what it was...OR I'm trying so hard to remember what I wanted to say, that I then don't listen to what they're finishing saying

alaskanlaughter
10-03-2013, 12:08 PM
A few things:

There are three different types of ADHD. I noticed that Kaplods spoke about not having the physical manifestation of ADHD, and I thought I would share.

There's ADHD combined, where an individual exhibits both qualities of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention.

.

My teenager was diagnosed with ADHD combined when he was 5.

theox
10-03-2013, 10:26 PM
Actually many experts disagree and even argue that ADHD is classified as a "disorder" only because of the modern method of education that teaches to only one kind of learner. Rather, they argue that ADHD is simply a "learning style" that reflects one way that the brain can be organized.

One theory links the ADHD brain as a genetic adaptation that is highly suited to the skills of "warriors and hunters," while the more common, non-ADHD brain is more suited to "gatherers."

Another theory links the ADHD to PTSD of the parents. ADHD being the adaptation to deal with "war" (again linking to the skills needed as a warrior) and the non-ADHD brain is the adaptation for times of peace and abundance.

I find ADHD fascinating, because my learning style and level of distractibility lines up more with the ADHD model mentally, but not physically. Even as a small child, I had a body that could sit motionless for hours, but a mind that was in constant movement, easily distracted and always flitting from subject to subject. Luckily I my thoughts were SO swift that I could usually hide the fact, in class, that I wasn't paying attention. I would hide novels in my math book for example and read during class.


Hubby calls me "ferret in a glass ball factory, constantly being distracted by all the pretty "ooh shiny" things.

I have the attention span of a gnat for anything that doesn't interest me. Almost everything interests me, but only for five minutes. A few things interest me to the point that I can become hyperfocused (which is sometimes considered an ADHD variant or symptom). During hyperfocus, the rest of the world disappears. If I was caught up in a good book, for example, the house could burn down around me, and I'd never notice.

Such intense hyperfocus is often seen in ADHD as well as in people with OCD and Autism spectrum disorders as well.

Whether these patterns of learning and thought are true "disorders" or just normal patterns that are no longer considered useful, is difficult to say, but an argument can be made for both perspectives.

There are certainly a lot of theories about the origins and appropriate classification of ADD/ADHD. I think I come down pretty close to Russell Barkley on this, because I do believe that there are no inherent advantages to having the condition. I also think that what is currently classified as ADD/ADHD is probably actually a number of different types of problems that haven't yet been conclusively identified and incorporated into clinical practice. (Not an original idea, I know.) "Learning differences" may account for some cases, but I don't think they account for all of them. That explanation certainly doesn't account for mine, and I don't think the evolutionary adaptation answers fit well either. But what do I know?

On a related note, unless I'm mistaken, the current version of the DSM, as full of cowpies as it probably is, does include language in its diagnostic criteria for ADHD that the behaviors considered when diagnosing the condition be disruptive, developmentally inappropriate, and interfere with the individual's ability to function. Assuming that they have competent and thorough physicians (:lol3:), this should more-or-less rule out a clinical diagnosis of ADHD in people who display above-average levels of the triad of behaviors used to diagnose the disorder, but who don't actually have any major problems functioning (i.e., who consider having their unusually wired brains "a positive experience"). You can be impulsive and daydreamy without having ADHD.

kaplods
10-04-2013, 12:36 AM
Ah, but functionality, developmental appropriateness, and disruptiveness are all, in part, culturally defined and therefore largely "in the eye of the beholder." After all, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and included in the early DSM editions. It was considered dysfunctional, developmentally inappropriate and disruptive.

Also no disorder is considered to have absolutely no advantages. So a person diagnosed with or having symptoms of ADHD may have mixed experiences, both positive and negative. Even being a sociopath or psychopath has some advantages.

Many ADHD diagnosed children thrive in a homeschooling environment. Does homeschooling "cure" ADHD? Or is it more likely that the ADHD behavior was maladaptive, inappropriate, and disruptive only in a conventional school environment. If the learning environment were more flexible, it's likely fewer children would be diagnosed ADHD.

I would agree that I do not meet the diagnosis of ADHD, but I do know people who "grew out of the diagnosis" only because as an adult they had more control over their environment and choices.

sacha
10-04-2013, 08:52 AM
For me, mindless multi-tasking makes me struggle. I am one of those people who really just can't focus, for example right NOW, I am browsing here with my morning coffee, spoon feeding a baby in another hand, watching a toddler on the floor and seeing a cartoon, while eating. No wonder I loved being a 911 operator, doing 50 things at once.

As you all know, food and distractions = overconsumption. That's just me though, so I premeasure things.

Song of Surly
10-04-2013, 09:38 AM
I think we have to remember that diagnosis is for the purpose of treatment. If the symptoms are not causing negative effects in an individual's life that would be eased if they were medicated or went through more behavioral based counseling (can't think of the word for that right now), then there would be no point making a diagnosis. That is why the proper diagnosis of ADHD deals with those individuals who are having negative consequences in their lives. Whether others have ADHD brains without those negative consequences, some one much smarter than me would have to say.

I do believe it is true that society has created the workplace and schools around an ideal set of personality and cognitive traits. In terms of Myers-Briggs, one only has to be an IP (Introvert/Perceiving) in an EJ (Extrovert/Judging) world to see that it was not set up for with that particular set of strengths in mind.

pnkrckpixikat
10-04-2013, 08:18 PM
So after reading this thread and those articles I am 99% sure I have ADHD lol

Which actually cracks me up a little because yesterday after my behavioral neuroscience class i was joking with my hubby that I need to get on ADHD stimulant meds because they rev up a hormone in the body that promotes appetite suppression and ups the metabolism.

His story discussing it talked about children he had that started losing weight after starting their ADHD meds so he told their parents to feed them milkshakes and other high fat high cal food every day and were still losing even after. I was like I need THAT drug lol

JuvenileNarcissist
10-04-2013, 10:22 PM
Ah, but functionality, developmental appropriateness, and disruptiveness are all, in part, culturally defined and therefore largely "in the eye of the beholder." After all, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and included in the early DSM editions. It was considered dysfunctional, developmentally inappropriate and disruptive.

Also no disorder is considered to have absolutely no advantages. So a person diagnosed with or having symptoms of ADHD may have mixed experiences, both positive and negative. Even being a sociopath or psychopath has some advantages.

Many ADHD diagnosed children thrive in a homeschooling environment. Does homeschooling "cure" ADHD? Or is it more likely that the ADHD behavior was maladaptive, inappropriate, and disruptive only in a conventional school environment. If the learning environment were more flexible, it's likely fewer children would be diagnosed ADHD.

I would agree that I do not meet the diagnosis of ADHD, but I do know people who "grew out of the diagnosis" only because as an adult they had more control over their environment and choices.



I'm fascinated by this concept as well of certain disorders only being disorders because of the cultures we now find ourselves in. And when I was a kid, I was put into "gifted" class. And except for math, we didn't learn anything more advanced than my peers. They simply taught us using various teaching methods. Sometimes we read and wrote papers, sometimes we built things, sometimes we had round table discussions. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the rest of the students in the school weren't being taught the way we were.

And as far as sociopaths go, I see it as an evolutionary alternative to normal social functioning. While most people are empathetic in order to live within our social species, sociopaths not only lack empathy, but they possess charm. They are predatory. I don't think this was an accident. I think it was selected for. And their numbers are the result of evolutionary equilibrium. You don't want too many predators. The system would fall apart.

We seem to like to point at people whose brains work differently and declare, "there is something wrong with you, we need to fix it." I think the milder forms of autism fall into this category too. Not everything that's different is broken.

theox
10-04-2013, 10:43 PM
Ah, but functionality, developmental appropriateness, and disruptiveness are all, in part, culturally defined and therefore largely "in the eye of the beholder." After all, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and included in the early DSM editions. It was considered dysfunctional, developmentally inappropriate and disruptive.

Do you really think homosexuality, which, as far as I know, has no inherent disadvantages, is similar enough to warrant comparison to a condition that causes people who have to have immense difficulties in planning, following through on their plans, and focusing on themselves and others long enough to gain insight into motives and behaviors (things that are common in ADD/ADHD and seem likely to almost always be disadvantageous to me)? Other than offering evidence that psychiatry has historically had a relatively weak basis in actual science, what's the point?

Also no disorder is considered to have absolutely no advantages. So a person diagnosed with or having symptoms of ADHD may have mixed experiences, both positive and negative. Even being a sociopath or psychopath has some advantages.

Quite probably, but if something is primarily disadvantageous, and it's disadvantageous to the extent that both statistical and anecdotal evidence indicate that ADD/ADHD is (and that my personal experience and observation leads me to believe it is), why pretend otherwise?


Many ADHD diagnosed children thrive in a homeschooling environment. Does homeschooling "cure" ADHD? Or is it more likely that the ADHD behavior was maladaptive, inappropriate, and disruptive only in a conventional school environment. If the learning environment were more flexible, it's likely fewer children would be diagnosed ADHD.

"ADHD behaviors" can stem from a boatload of things. When the symptoms occur in more than one setting (as they are supposed to for a diagnosis of ADHD to be made), and especially when they are pervasive, pre-date enrollment in a school setting and cannot be explained by other factors (e.g., environment, abuse, brain injury, etc.), the argument that ADHD is a problem related to the (admittedly often counterproductive, even for "neurotypical" students) structure of most schools kind of falls apart. ADHD probably is relatively frequently misdiagnosed, and there's some evidence to support the claim. That doesn't mean that the disorder is simply the result of a culturally-specific set of behavioral standards. For kids (and adults) who actually do meet the clinical criteria ADHD, being able to function well in an environment that's been adapted to their needs doesn't mean they don't have a disorder. It just means that they're receiving the support they need to function. To imply otherwise is as ridiculous as saying that a paraplegic doesn't really have anything more than a situational problem just because he can get around just fine once he's got a wheelchair and is in an environment that's set up to accommodate its use (never mind the difficulties that can be involved in setting that up or the obstacles and expenses people can incur when they try to venture out into a world that can still be surprisingly unaccommodating to wheelchair users).

I would agree that I do not meet the diagnosis of ADHD, but I do know people who "grew out of the diagnosis" only because as an adult they had more control over their environment and choices.

Yes, and I know people who couldn't function effectively in most/any settings at any age until they were diagnosed and treated for ADHD as adults.

Some people who are diagnosed with ADHD as children claim to have "outgrown" it. However, that doesn't really tell us much. They may have outgrown it. They may have been misdiagnosed. They may have a mild case that really doesn't give them problems if they don't actually try to do much with their lives. They may have it and have found careers or lifestyles that provide them with enough structure to function or enough freedom to do whatever they can focus on. They may have it but think it's normal to need to do heavy exercise for two hours every day and set a timer to go off every 15 minutes just to be able to focus on the daily tasks that need to get done. They may be completely delusional. They may....whatever. At any rate, if "outgrowing" a neurological condition like ADHD is not a natural, internal process like outgrowing a developmental stage, but rather a process of adapting one's environment and choices around pre-existing mental factors, then it sounds like they're not really undergoing a maturation process, but simply how to cope and compensate for whatever their problem actually is.

This sort of argument also doesn't deal well with the problem that there are a lot of people who continue to have ADHD into adulthood, and some who were not diagnosed or treated until they were adults. Some of these people function well, others don't. For the most part, they're no longer in school or subject to the environment created by parents and peers. They've had the chance to shape their environment and make choices that they think will help them, and they still experience substantial problems in many or most areas of their lives.

theox
10-04-2013, 10:47 PM
Sorry alaskanlaughter, I think we've hijacked your thread. :o

alaskanlaughter
10-04-2013, 10:50 PM
Not everything that's different is broken.

YES!!!!! If I could stick this up on my wall, I would!

I work in the school system and I see SO MANY kids who struggle in an academic setting but function just fine in an open-ended after-school program where you learn through so many different methods.

And that's what I SO want parents to hear...Your kids AREN"T broken! A diagnosis, spec ed help, behavioral support, whatever they need to succeed does NOT mean they are broken in any way.

alaskanlaughter
10-04-2013, 10:51 PM
Sorry alaskanlaughter, I think we've hijacked your thread. :o

No worries :) I love discussions like this, even if I don't agree with everyone. I find these topics fascinating. I will have to read the last posts when I get home.

theox
10-04-2013, 10:52 PM
We seem to like to point at people whose brains work differently and declare, "there is something wrong with you, we need to fix it." I think the milder forms of autism fall into this category too. Not everything that's different is broken.

Very true. But if people have difficulty functioning (in life in general or in society in particular), it makes sense to try to do something about it. If the most efficient pathway to effective functioning/acceptance in your society runs through a doctor's office, why not take it? No matter how long it takes, it'll be a heck of a lot faster than waiting for society-at-large to become more empathetic and accommodating.

kaplods
10-05-2013, 12:15 AM
Very true. But if people have difficulty functioning (in life in general or in society in particular), it makes sense to try to do something about it. If the most efficient pathway to effective functioning/acceptance in your society runs through a doctor's office, why not take it? No matter how long it takes, it'll be a heck of a lot faster than waiting for society-at-large to become more empathetic and accommodating.


People literally have said (and sadly, many continue to say) this is true for homosexuality as well. There are still crackpots (sorry, letting by biases show) arguing that sexual and gender orientation can and should be "fixed."

I use homosexuality as an example because it's culturally and histirically relevant, and there are many parallels both in how homosexuality was seen, diagnosed, treated, and hidden.

Really, it's only been in the last 40-50 years that our culture has begun to question the idea that ALL deviations need to be fixed (or hidden, if an attempt at fixing isn't possible or doesn't work). Even the concept of allowing people a choice in their treatments or choice to refuse treatment is a very new concept. Thirty years ago, you may not have been given a choice. Fifty years you almost certainly wouldn't have been given a choice, and sixty years ago, you could have been committed simply on a family member's request.

This isn't just about the often barbaric history of mental health treatment, it's also a reflection of how our culture has changed (and possibly might change in the future) in it's tolerance for deviancy.

As with most "non-typical" traits, ADHD traits fall on a spectum from "mildly odd" (little or no treatment or special treatment necessary) to "extremely and disturbingly freaky".

Are you an odd duck with people who like you (be they odd themselves or not) or do the villagers shun you or chase you with pitchforks?

Do you "get by" reasonably well, or do you have virtually no ability whatsoever to function or fit in?

Do you need or want to be "fixed."

These are all very complex social issues, and the answers have to be tailored to every single individual. The point at which one person will want or be persuaded into treatment is not going to be the same for every person.

There's been some research and education experts suggesting that the ADHD spectrum is actually an advantage for tech-based learning and functioning. Attention spans as a rule are getting shorter, as a result. And while there will always be people (on both extremes) who are unable to adapt, that in the future many of the people currently diagnosed with ADHD will have the advantage. In fact, it's possible that a new diagnostic term might be created for those who cannot adapt to the new norms. At which fewer ADHD cases will be identified and some of the people now considered "normal" might be deviant enough to warrant a "new" diagnosis.

I am not saying that diagnosis and treatment is wrong or unnecessary (far from it, actually). I'm just saying there is no easy, simple, quick way to determine who needs treatment and what the treatment needs to be. It ALL needs to be considered case-by-case and within as broad a context is possible.

Someone who has no need or desire for treatment today may be desperate for help in the future (even if the only thing that has changed is their environment or desire to function differently). And the reverse is just as true. An artist may have different needs than an accountant, and if someone would like to change careers from one to another, the may need a different skill or functioning set.

Context is everything. That fewer children are diagnosed with ADHD in more flexible learning environments does raise the possibility that ADHD (at least in the mild to moderate range) might be more an artifact of the current style of education and cultural standards for behavior than anything else.

I just believe treatment has to be considered carefully and the question asked whether treatment is focused on functioning, labeling or forcing people into a "normal" mold whether they like it or not.

novangel
10-05-2013, 11:45 AM
I have ADD and OCD since as long as I can remember. Grade school was ****. Honestly it drives me insane (worry wart) but I don't know anything else...I just work around it and deal.

I can multi-task like a mofo and have always been considered an excellent employee at just about every job. I'm never late and never call in unless I am severely ill. I always wind up promoted to a supervisor or management position. I was offered manager at the salon I just started at in May but declined.

It was a negative in school but positive as an adult. My son now has the same struggle since 2nd grade. I feel bad for him but I know he will be ok in the long run.

kaplods
10-05-2013, 12:28 PM
In graduate school, I remember reading of research that found that medicating ADHD children had no effect on their school performance (grades), and the professor asked us to consider whether children were being medicated for the benefit of the child, or for the parents, teachers, and other students.

At the time I remember arguing that "fitting in" and "being less annoying" to parents, teachers, and peers might ultimately be in the child's best interest, but now I wonder.

Are we forcing square pegs into round holes, rather than allowing children to develop and learn in a way that utilizes and develops their natural skill set?


In the future, will we look back at some of the ADHD treatments as unnecessary (if not barbaric) as we now view the formerly common practice of forcing left-handed children to write with their right hand for the sake of making them "normal."

Again, I'm not saying medication is never justified. I just wonder how many cases, especially on the "borderline" would require medication if the school environment encouraged and appreciated and took advantage of more cognitive diversity.

An intelligent, resourceful and self-aware adult (with or without ADHD symptoms) can use their strengths and weaknesses to pursue a career and lifestyle that is compatible with their strengths, weaknesses and resources.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure our current educational system does enough to foster the needed types of intelligence, resourcefulness, and self-awareness in "non-typical" students.

Our current system teaches to the norm - the average. The further a child falls from average, the less his or her individual needs will be met. Children who need extra help get left behind, and children who are not challenged enough become bored and unmotivated. And children with different needs entirely are SOL.

novangel
10-05-2013, 12:43 PM
Few years back the school nurse at the time used to argue that I NEED to put my son on medication. She'd say if he was a diabetic I wouldn't question insulin so why question ADHD meds. I wanted to tell her to go eff herself. None of her business. My son gets A's and B's so I didn't feel it was necessary and neither did his pediatrician. The school nurse was way out of line.

Wannabehealthy
10-05-2013, 12:57 PM
Since I am a step-mother, I never dealt with a young child. My step children were 9 and 11 when our lives joined. But my husband raised them and knows how kids are. Kids don't just sit still and say "Yes mam" and do everything you tell them to do. My grandson is 5. He has been in daycare since he was 3 months old. Around age 3 he started being the bad boy who would not do what the teacher said. My husband said he is just being a boy. He is very active, inquisitive and we think he is smart. (of course!) It got so bad at daycare that he started not wanted to go. It seemed that as soon as he got there they were ready for him to act up. One time he locked the bathroom door and would not open it when they told him to. Once he took the fire extinguisher down off the wall. Why was the fire extinguisher mounted so low that a 5 year old could reach it???? Finally the school suggested he be tested for ADHD. He was tested, and was found to be "borderline." My step son and wife said they will never medicate him. He is going for therapy. Fortunately they moved 20 miles away and he is now in a different daycare and things are a little better. Everyone is upset because he talks about monsters and zombies etc. They are blaming us, saying we let him watch things on TV. I have seen children's cartoon that have monsters and zombies!! I don't think it's really a big deal. They get upset that when they tell him to brush his teeth and go to bed he doesn't do it, and even after going to bed he keeps coming out of the room to see what they are doing. I think this is typical boy. I know there are some boys who are quieter and more serene, but my husband says his son was very active, and my grandson seems to be taking after his dad. My DIL came from a family of all girls. Dainty little ladies. So anyway, now they have held him back from kindergarten. He is upset that all the other 5 year olds went on to kindergarten and he is still in daycare with all the 4 year olds. I feel bad for him and feel that he is being labeled and this will follow him through grade school.

Song of Surly
10-06-2013, 06:25 PM
Whether it is correct or incorrect, there are students who do benefit from medication and counseling when it comes to ADHD. What I mean from benefit, however, is that they are more capable of functioning in the education environment that they are currently stuck with. It may not be right, but it is the current realty, and I have recommended students for testing due to the fact that I see them helplessly struggling. When a high school diploma is so necessary, it would seem criminal to me to not give a child every chance to succeed in the environment they may unfortunately be placed in. Then, teachers are legally forced to give that student proven accommodations that aid ADHD children in the classroom. I have a student currently who has been recommended for testing for years, but parental support is basically non-existent. I give the boy some of the same accommodations that my other ADHD students have, but I know most of his teachers do not. He is actually passing my class so far this year, compared to his 30 average in English the year before.

I don't see an end in sight to any of that really until student to teacher ratio becomes something reasonable again. I currently feel like I am on an assembly line. 150 students a day. They walk in my class for 45 minutes, they move out, and then the next set move in. You try to individualize instruction through differentiation, but there's really only so much that can be done, and unfortunately, it's not enough for anyone.

seabiscuit
10-06-2013, 08:39 PM
I don't usually get caught up in threads once they have posters creating a hot topic/controversial type debate but I do make an exception here,

Kaplods,

I don't agree with your labeling people as "mildly odd" to "extremely and disturbingly freaky"

Unless you are an expert in this field, which I never read that you are, it is inappropriate to label people that way. Who defines who is "normal?" I would be interested to know who defines normal and other variations from normal because everyone is a different, unique individual. We shouldn't have to worry that we are classified as an odd freak because we don't fit the mold.

Alaskanlaughter, I am also sorry that your post has been hijacked, I needed to say what I did though.

kaplods
10-06-2013, 09:17 PM
I don't usually get caught up in threads once they have posters creating a hot topic/controversial type debate but I do make an exception here,

Kaplods,

I don't agree with your labeling people as "mildly odd" to "extremely and disturbingly freaky"

Unless you are an expert in this field, which I never read that you are, it is inappropriate to label people that way. Who defines who is "normal?" I would be interested to know who defines normal and other variations from normal because everyone is a different, unique individual. We shouldn't have to worry that we are classified as an odd freak because we don't fit the mold.

Alaskanlaughter, I am also sorry that your post has been hijacked, I needed to say what I did though.

Well I wouldn't use the term expert, especially since I haven't worked or taught in the field for about 15 years (though I try to stay current so that I could get back to work if my my health improves) - but actually yes, developmental psychology IS my field. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology with a strong emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapies and a master's degree in developmental psychology. Fifteen years ago, (after about 10 years in the field) I was working in an adolescent research program and teaching Psych and Developmental Education classes in a Community college and was intending to start work on my doctorate, when a strange assortment health problems disrupted those plans and eventually progressed to the point I could no longer work and had to apply for disability.

Of course, odd and freaky aren't clinical terms, and I was not using them to "label" anyone. I was directing the term at and for those of us who use the terms humorously to describe ourselves, and who do not consider the terms perjorative.

I'm extremely odd myself, and pretty darned freaky, even disturbingly so to some of my extremely conservative family. My friends are odd and freaky too (many of them, including my husband, are somewhat proud to use the "disturbingly strange" descriptor) and most of us are darned proud of the fact.

"Let your freak flag fly," is pretty much my personal motto.

As for "normal" whenever I've used the word, I've used it in the mathematical sense - that is referencing the average - that is the mean, mode, median - essentially the middle 50% of the population as plotted on the standard bell curve.

A synonym for "normal" as I used it would be "average" or "common."

Likewise I used "odd" and "freaky" only as opposites of that kind of normal. "Uncommon" or "different."

Personally, I'm more likely to use "normal" as a perjorative, because I consider "normal" pretty darned boring. Quite frankly, I think "normal" sucks donkey butt.

seabiscuit
10-06-2013, 10:52 PM
Kaplods,

I now see how you were attempting to use humor when describing traits such as odd or freaky, I think that caution should be taken when using those terms because many people may be offended if told that they were odd or freaky. I don't think many people would see that as a compliment, at least I wouldn't.

That's great that you are into psychology, it is a fascinating field.

mainecyn
10-06-2013, 11:05 PM
I can only comment on myself. I was diagnosed with adult Adhd less than a month ago and have been put on medication. In some of the info I was given they used two examples of impulsive behavior that might not normally seem impulsive but are common in adults, impulsive or even binge eating (especially in women) and excessive shopping, I'm told it is an impulsive or control thing I am honestly hoping the example of binge type eating is true because I have suffered from extreme binge eating my entire life. When my other adhd type symptoms got so extreme, focus, memory, etc. And effected my new job, etc. I went to the Dr for help. I have yet seen any change on the medication. I do know however that the med I have been put on has been approved to treat binge eating, its been studied with success the Dr, and Internet, both say.