Jan 16, 2013 Posted Under: Mental Health

Opinions on ADHD

Opinions on ADHD vary widely and are molded and packaged to fit neatly into one point of view or another. A couple of these opinions on ADHD that most accept as fact are that ADHD is solely neurologically or biologically based and prescription stimulant medications are without a doubt the best way to treat the disorder. In this article we will explore these two so-called facts in a little more depth.

In our discussion why don’t we start with the first of these opinions on ADHD and see if we can’t shoot some holes through what most medical professionals, and parents of over 10,000,000 children taking stimulant medications have been lead to believe, accept as fact.

When scientist, researchers, drug reps, and doctors talk neurological or biological based they are talking about an imbalance in brain chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. When it comes to ADHD the two most often mentioned are dopamine primarily and norepinephrine secondarily.

Honestly, from where I am sitting it sounds like a viable possible cause, and after all there have been hundreds of thousands of articles written on the subject by those with many extra letters in front and behind their names giving them that extra credibility we all look for when doing our research.

But when you get right down to it there is no objective test to identify dopamine or norepinephrine abnormalities in the brain. There have also been two very important studies released as of late pointing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder being a bigger picture problem than just simply a biological disorder.

The first, study used brain scan technology to link differences in the pace of brain development in children and adolescents with ADHD behaviors. Put simply, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to develop the areas of the brain linked to self-regulation slower than their peers. As these areas begin to mature ADHD symptoms disappear. If these areas remain underdeveloped symptoms persist.

Now let’s take our premise a step further and say since we don’t know for sure if neurotransmitter chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine are the cause we really don’t know what type of long-term effects stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall may have on brain development.

Could these drugs actually slow growth in the areas of the brain in charge of self-regulation to a point where someone might become dependent on the medications for the rest of their life?

The truth is no one can tell you without a doubt that our radical statement above if false. The fact is we simply don’t know and likely will not know the answer for decades if ever.

According to Professor John Breeding, Ph.D., Psychologist ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) could be caused by any combination of physical problems, emotional problems, system problems, educational shortfalls, over stimulation through excess video game playing or television watching, sleep irregularities, family trauma, physical trauma, and child abuse. He goes on to deliver the thought provoking statement that “Failure to adjust is the result of mental illness and failure to adjust in school is ADHD.”.

Our medical professionals seem to be quick to tell us that prescription stimulants are safe and there is nothing much to really worry about. Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration classifies prescription stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall as controlled substances right alongside cocaine and methamphetamine?

Once again we have an opinion on ADHD that prescription stimulants are generally the best treatment option and very safe but this seems not to be based in fact.

Few would argue that a child that concentrates poorly, doesn’t remember well, regularly loses things, exhibits impulsive behavior, and is incessantly disorganized will be at a disadvantage in school.

What seems to be clear is that stimulant medications do help level the playing field in the short-term but what we don’t know is at what cost. Additionally, new research seems to suggest that these harsh medications lose their effectiveness over time and do not provide any long-term benefits.

On the other hand statistics seem to support the belief that behavioral therapy combined with homeopathic ADHD remedies do provide side effect free long-term benefits about 60 percent of the time.

In conclusion, opinions on ADHD seem to multiply with each passing day with many gaining undeserved factual status. For parents trying to determine the best treatment option for their children this creates a slippery slope.

According to John Breeding, Ph.D., every parent should ask these three questions when someone tells you attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is biological thus requiring stimulant medications: ” Could you show me the lab tests. Can you do a test to diagnose or identify this chemical abnormality? Could you show me the scientific literature whereby you can identify the signs and distinguish between someone who has this disorder and someone who does not?”.

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