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  • A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

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    Old 12-31-2003, 08:39 AM   #1
    Raes*Mom
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    A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    There is a question that nags at me regarding ADD and medicating our children. Just about any book you read on the subject begins by telling you the great minds in history that possibly had this disorder such as Einstein, Edison, Mozart, etc. My question is, would we even know these names if they had been placed on medication as a child? My fear is that by medicating our children, our we creating a society of bland, complacent humans that will not understand the struggle of being different and from those experirences, rise above the norm. Are we medicating out the differences that make each one of us unique?

    I'm lucky in the sense that my daughter doesn't suffer from an extreme case of ADD. I know for many parents, medication is their only choice. My daughter's is the inattentive type and if her disorder wasn't addressed, she would be one of those spacey girls that would barely squeak by in school, never realizing her full potential. Much like her mother. I guess the other side of the coin to my question is, would there have been more Mozarts and Einstein's had we understood ADD and had medication in their time?

    My daughter is very creative and artistic. When taking medication, she is motivated to create and draw and achieves better on her tests at school. When not taking medication, she tends to be less motivated and her scores start lagging behind. But on the medication, she is not the happy, loving child that I know so well. She's somewhat withdrawn and short-tempered. We've tried different medications and they all have the same effect. And her current dosage of Adderall XR is very low - 10mg. This past spring, she began complaining about taking the Adderall and said it makes her feel like she doesn't have any personality. Which is the lesser of 2 evils?

    Please forgive my ramblings but this is a question that has been really nagging at me. I just wondered how other's felt about this. And please, I'm not bashing anyone that is giving their children medication. Like I said, my daughter and myself have been taking it for 2 years. I've just begun to rethink my opinions on medications. I know in my area, doctors are so quick to give out prescriptions for these meds with so little evaluation. It seems to now be the front line of treatment rather than the last. I tend to look at the big picture and am concerned about the big picture of a generation of children that have been medicated their entire school career.

     
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    Old 12-31-2003, 09:24 AM   #2
    Palms1
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    Re: A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Raes*Mom
    When taking medication, she is motivated to create and draw and achieves better on her tests at school. When not taking medication, she tends to be less motivated and her scores start lagging behind. But on the medication, she is not the happy, loving child that I know so well. She's somewhat withdrawn and short-tempered.
    To me it sounds like she is not having big problems with her ADHD in school. When her scores are lagging behind, what do you mean by that. Does she only make D's and F's? Or is she still able to learn and be an average student. Reading your post, it also does not seem like you are having any problems with her at home. Some parents put their kids on drugs because they want their child to be on the honor roll and - in my opinion - way too much emphasis is placed on having our kids on honor rolls and principal lists etc.
    So if she is still able to learn what is taught in school and you don't have tremendous problems with her at home, I would never put her on ADHD drugs.

     
    Old 12-31-2003, 11:17 AM   #3
    Raes*Mom
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    Re: A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Palms1
    To me it sounds like she is not having big problems with her ADHD in school. When her scores are lagging behind, what do you mean by that. Does she only make D's and F's? Or is she still able to learn and be an average student. Reading your post, it also does not seem like you are having any problems with her at home. Some parents put their kids on drugs because they want their child to be on the honor roll and - in my opinion - way too much emphasis is placed on having our kids on honor rolls and principal lists etc.
    So if she is still able to learn what is taught in school and you don't have tremendous problems with her at home, I would never put her on ADHD drugs.
    She has never made below a C on her report card. But I think you hit the nail on head about the honor roll and such. When she started public school, I was shocked at how much emphasis was placed on scores and honor rolls. It was almost like a competition between parents of whose child scored the highest. And if you're child didn't measure up, you weren't a good parent.

    We are so blessed to now send her to a small private school where the majority of the student body are special needs children. I couldn't even tell you who are the high and low achievers in her classroom. She's in the 4th grade and still can't properly tell time, she has to add on her fingers and math word problems blow her away. After much reading and speaking with other parents, I've really come to the conclusion that my daughter's problem is not so much "ADD" but possibly dyslexia and sensory issues. Her inattention is a by-product of these issues. In my opinion, Adderall is not going to help, it's just a band-aid. But who knows, in the long run I may be wrong and she ends up going back on meds.

    I guess I'm rambling again and thinking out loud. Afterall, I'm supposedly ADD too. I just hope parents will think when giving their child that pill every morning and be sure they know who it's really for.

     
    Old 12-31-2003, 01:36 PM   #4
    mandevu
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    Re: A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    Your nagging question, I think, is an extremely important one. There may not be an easy answer, but there may be a best or optimal answer.

    Personally, I have come to suspect that poor short-term memory was hampering me a lot. Because I cannot remember things well, I frequently have to figure things out "from scratch". This can be very tedious and inefficient. Reinventing the wheel is quite unnecessary if there are very good and highly refined wheels already out there. But if you cannot remember them, you have to reinvent them. This has 2 consequences: on the downside, this can be very inefficient; on the upside, one gets very good at inventing/innovation. At one point, I tried a medication used for Alzheimer's patients to help with their memory (I forgot the name...!). For the first time, I found it possible to learn to play a new piece of (easy) music on the piano. Before, despite years of music lessons, I never made much progress even though I love music (and compose some on my own). Usually, when reading the music, I forgot where my fingers were, when I looked to see where my fingers were, I forgot the notes I was supposed to play. This time I could remember both the notes and the positions of my fingers making sight reading significantly easier. I found with work too, that it was easier to remember things, but I have functioned without the benefit of working memory for so long, that I did not really know how to use it! More importantly, I noticed a pronounced decrease in my creative drive. These experiences make me think that you are asking a very important question indeed. (I had to stop taking the medication because it made me very aggressive and irritable).

    As to possible answers, there seems to be 3, generally speaking (and rather oversimplified).
    1. Treat and risk losing the creativity. The person may still be able to lead a happy and fulfilling and less stressful life;
    2. Do not treat and retain the creativity. The person's creativity may still go unnoticed or undeveloped because it is being impeded by LD or ADHD and they may lead an unhappy creative life full of stress;
    3. Do not treat (or treat very targeted) and support the creativity. One of the books I just read (Everitt and Everitt) suggests that finding and supporting an area of competence (sport, art, computers) for a person with ADHD may have considerable benefit in allowing that person to retain some sense of self-worth and help them to combat the negative effects of ADHD which often result from social interactions as much as from the direct symptoms. I think this is a very valuable suggestion (and perhaps the only really fair one - I don't know). The person with ADHD, like everyone else, needs their small successes, but they are often especially starved of these.

    My suggestion is that people consider these options and especially option 3, to see if the symptoms and signs of ADHD could not be harnessed in a way that is of benefit to an ADHD person and their community.

     
    Old 12-31-2003, 05:27 PM   #5
    ShantillyLace
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    Re: A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    Hi Raes*Mom
    In my opinion since there isn’t any objective proofs that ADD/ADHD exists and there isn’t any measurable scientific method of determining chemical imbalances of the mind by any medical or scientific standard and the fact that psychiatry is unable to define “Mental Illness” then I must conclude that a fraud has been committed on the public. If you take the names in your posting of Einstein, Edison, Mozart, etc, ect with a realization that the individuals have been dead by many years and that any personal friends and relatives for that era of time are deceased then a conclusion of them having a problem with ADD/ADHD or any other mental disorder is a falsehood based on speculation or to promote a falsehood of ADD/ADHD or other mental health issue for their personal gain. Since the Mental Health and Counseling Industry has a cash cow of false diagnoses listed in their “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM) of many mental health issues that their profession has stated exists in the mental health of individuals worldwide and that pharmecutical druggings seems the only method to control or cure deseases leading to profits for the services rendered then I think that the mental health idology of pharmecutical drugging poses a threat to any individual including child that is forced to engage in their practice of what could be considered modern day voodoo leading to alteration of mental thought and the complexities of young personalities. I would have a difficult time in exceptance of this industry to facts.

     
    Old 01-01-2004, 10:15 PM   #6
    Aurashim
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    Re: A Nagging Question re: ADD/ADHD and Meds

    Very interesting conversation...while I do find a great improvement in my son's behavior with some medication, I do think about all of the above often. Yes, he is creative and luckily the meds haven't stopped that. But the point about the pharmacutical industry determining what mental health actually is a very valid question; I know, due to the nature of my job, that pharmacutical companies are making donations to organizations that should be determing mental health needs in the community. They are getting cozy, I wonder what kind of seduction they are trying to pull. Yes, no doubt without medications we'd have to revert to "locking people" up for lifetimes, as we did not so many decades ago, but now that we can better treat severe mental illness, I have to wonder if some of the drugs marketed are "failures" for severe mental illness treatment, so now we have mild mental ---differences being labeled as illness so that we are willing to treat them. Where did all these ADHD kids live when we had a farming culture? Did they just have "boxed ears" all the time and suffer? Or was it just accepted that everybody had their quirks?

     
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