"Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School" - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I read this article today and I am outraged!

 

Here's a few highlights:

 

"When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall."

 

He gives the meds even if the child doesn't have ADHD!

 

The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

 

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

 

I just don't even know what to say, I am speechless.

 

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.

 

I just needed to vent and share this information with people.

 

Thanks!


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#2 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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I don't know what to say to that! And the parents go for it, too?!


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#3 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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And the parents go for it, too?!

 

 

they think it's GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I felt many were on meds now I really feel so irked.gif


 

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#4 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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I was shocked to read that article this morning. Really, really disturbing. And the doc and parents were on the same page about it!!!
 


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#5 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 09:17 PM
 
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And the parents go for it, too?!

i dont think the parents have a choice.

 

its low income area.

 

the parents are probably working two jobs. 

 

they have no options. they dont know what to do. the kids have to go to school. 

 

if that means take adderall - so be it. 

 

it makes me sick to my stomach, but i understand why the parents go for it. 

 

i dont blame Dr. Anderson either. he is doing his best to help the kids. this is NY folks. 

 

who should we blame? the doctors? the parents? nope. 

 

just shows how low our society has fallen. the same NY that limits the size of soda allows their poor kids to be medicated. who is to blame? everyone who allows this to happen. 

 

if those kids dont do well in the first couple of years or even in elementary school- all is lost for them. they have VERY LITTLE hope. there are no support services to help struggling students.  

 

how can i let this happen? write letters to the representative that we will not allow it. that school budget cant be cut as we continue a war that should never have been started. 

 

the more we accept what is handed down to us, the more those in power gets away with. 

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#6 of 61 Old 10-09-2012, 09:55 PM
 
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I'm a pharmacist and I see this all day. Kids are being modified by medication to fit into their environment because the environment doesn't fit them. I suspect the same about the vast swaths of adults on antidepressants--in low-income areas, being on an antidepressant is about survival. 

 

It's terrible. It points to a larger problem with society for sure. 

 

The parents just want the best they can for their kids. Also probably a lot of them don't/can't/don't know how to parent well.

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#7 of 61 Old 10-10-2012, 04:53 AM
 
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i dont think the parents have a choice.

 

its low income area.

while the Times story seemed to focus on this one Dr and area- it it NOT a low income things! It's happening all over! There are many parents that want this! greensad.gif and also they don't just want ADD or ADHD meds for their kids-you are really able with the right Dr to med up your kid how you want, regardless of need............the replies on the Times site are very interesting - IMO


 

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#8 of 61 Old 10-10-2012, 05:18 AM
 
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while the Times story seemed to focus on this one Dr and area- it it NOT a low income things! It's happening all over! There are many parents that want this! greensad.gif and also they don't just want ADD or ADHD meds for their kids-you are really able with the right Dr to med up your kid how you want, regardless of need............the replies on the Times site are very interesting - IMO

yup yup you are right. i think that's why some east coast states have legislation against the drugs. in those cases yeah the parents DO have a choice.

 

but i too was focusing on the low income parents. and THEY are the ones who dont have a choice. and the dr. recognises that and if the dr is the kind of advocate he is made out to be, then he is genuinely trying to find a solution.   

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#9 of 61 Old 10-10-2012, 06:14 AM
 
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i dont blame Dr. Anderson either. he is doing his best to help the kids. this is NY folks. 

 

Actually, it's not NY. It's Cherokee county, Georgia, as mentioned in the OP. It's just a story in the NY Times, not in NY.

 

These are not poor inner city kids. Canton, Georgia is a small town with a pop of about 25,000 about 40 miles north of downtown Atlanta. Both parents work in a car wash. If you click through to the slide show you can find a caption that says that and also see pictures of the family and their home. They have a fairly nice home with new looking furniture. They may have debt, but they don't look to be indigent or homeless.

 

I think it's lazy parenting and poor doctoring and poor teaching/school environment.

 

 

 

Quote:

Quintn was seeing people and hearing voices that were not there, a rare but recognized side effect of Adderall. After Quintn admitted to being suicidal, Dr. Anderson prescribed a week in a local psychiatric hospital, and a switch to Risperdal.

 

...

 

Despite Quintn’s experience with Adderall, the Rocaforts decided to use it with their 12-year-old daughter, Alexis, and 9-year-old son, Ethan. These children don’t have A.D.H.D., their parents said. The Adderall is merely to help their grades, and because Alexis was, in her father’s words, “a little blah.”

”We’ve seen both sides of the spectrum: we’ve seen positive, we’ve seen negative,” the father, Rocky Rocafort, said. Acknowledging that Alexis’s use of Adderall is “cosmetic,” he added, “If they’re feeling positive, happy, socializing more, and it’s helping them, why wouldn’t you? Why not?”


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#10 of 61 Old 10-10-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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“a little blah.”

 and also the part about not as "social",,,,,,,,,,,ROTFLMAO.gifoh and the part about having to take more meds to sleep twins.gif and there is no way I think those kids will ever get off them even later in life!

 

 

 

 

Quote:

I think it's lazy parenting and poor doctoring and poor teaching/school environment.

 

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#11 of 61 Old 12-28-2012, 06:36 PM
 
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I have a family member doing just this with their child to keep on top of things :( So sad!

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#12 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 11:44 AM
 
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This doesnt surprise me at all.  The concept of adhd never made much sense to me, but seems to be the diagnosis for inconvenient  behavior in school. Thanks for posting this.

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#13 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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This doesnt surprise me at all.  The concept of adhd never made much sense to me, but seems to be the diagnosis for inconvenient  behavior in school. Thanks for posting this.

 

ADHD is real. I have no doubt about it. However, it's also massively over-diagnosed, imo. I remember my cousin telling me, years ago, that several people, including a doctor, had suggested that her oldest son had ADHD, based on his behaviour. He showed fewer symptoms of ADHD than ds1 did, and ds1 isn't even close to having ADHD. There's a large contingent of people, including medical professionals, who are ready to scream "ADHD" at the slightest sign of high spirits or mischief. It scares me. Medicating kids with Adderall to bring up their grades scares me even more.


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#14 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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I think ADHD is often used as a diagnosis for inconvenient behaviour at school, simply the result a child's physical and emotional needs are not being met in a particular environment.

 

But I do believe that there are some children and adults for whom problems with attention are profound, for whom the term "disorder" is apt. Most adults are able to adjust their environments such that they can cope without medication, but I know several who cannot function without it. One of my friends functions 90% of the time just fine without medication because he has made a lot of smart choices about how to live his life, but he still cannot drive a vehicle safely unless he takes Ritalin, and is unable to attend any of his daughter's choral performances without it, and can't read to learn without it. I believe that there are some children who have the same profound level of difficulty. 

 

Just because the diagnosis is vastly over-applied doesn't mean it doesn't apply to some people.

 

The original story in this thread appalls me. But I still believe there is such an entity as ADHD.

 

ETA: Haha, cross-posted with Storm Bride. I think we're saying the same thing.

 

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#15 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 12:25 PM
 
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I was also interested by something - think it was in the comments, not the article - about kids still being addicted to the drugs, once they'd outgrown their ADHD. I've known five people with ADHD in my life. (I mean that I've known five of them well. I've known a few others casually, and only when they were children.) These people are all adults now, and none of them have outgrown it. They've learned to manage it, one way or another (two of them chose very physically demanding careers, involving a lot of activity and a lot of time outdoors, which helps them), but their brains still don't function like other people's brains. They just don't.

 

I have to say that the cover picture on that article really bothered me. The boy in the picture doesn't look happy, healthy, etc. He actually looks drugged.


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#16 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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I understand it, it doesn't mean that it isn't a shame. There should be other options to where this is never an option. I'm sure there are many "middle class families" that do this just because. Others are doing it because modifying the environment is impossible and this is the only way for the child is function. I would have more sympathy for those families, but we never truly knows what goes on in other homes.

 

My Dh takes Adderall. I say that it would be highly doubtful that we would still be married if he didn't take his meds. Half the time he can't even remember he needs meds or even has them or where they are at. The script can sit at the pharmacy for days before he remembers it is there.  He is that scattered. It effects every single aspect of his life and therefore mine and the children's.  

 

Our oldest takes Zoloft. I think I understand how families with kids that are on ADHD meds might feel. It was not an easy decision for me and it took years of trying so many things before finally waving the white flag and asking for meds. She truly needs her meds, she is an entirely different child when she is off of them. One interesting side effect is that while she did not have any issues concentrating or with attention before the Zoloft, she can actually focus so much better while on it. She is dyslexic and honestly this has been a very helpful *side effect* to have although I would not be placing her on this med just for that, I could see the appeal though for some. 


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#17 of 61 Old 12-29-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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That article is pretty concerning, especially the part where Medicaid or other insurance pays for medication that is 'cosmetic' in nature. Of course it doesn't help that pharmaceuticals market directly to parents and even kids on these medications.
 


 
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#18 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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I don't know how a doctor can fail to 'believe' in a disorder with the huge amount of evidence behind it that ADHD has.  

 

I have ADHD.  It profoundly and continuously impacts on my life and always has.  I was not a badly behaved child.  I wish there were more articles demonstrating the importance of correct identification and treatment in children and adults who do have this difference instead of the constant stream of reports that focus on this sort of thing.

 

I am not addicted to the medication.  If I was I'd remember whether I'd taken it or not.  And I'd probably remember to get a repeat prescription.  Instead, like everything else in my life, I forget about it.

 

For those who don't believe in it, here's a leading expert on it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF1YRE8ff1g

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Re lazy parenting - most parents are forced to accept substandard schooling for their children, which caters for a small minority of children while labelling the rest deviant and blames them for their 'failure'.  I reject any idea that parents are to blame for medicating their children so they can get through the nightmare that is modern schooling.  And I reject the notion that parents are 'lazy' if they medicate their children.  I wish my own parents had been 'lazy' enough to go to the doctor and find out what was wrong with me instead of labelling me lazy and stupid.

 

And here's the reality of one family's experience of having an ADHD labelled child.  It's a shocking read.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01183.x/pdf

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#20 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 11:44 AM
 
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Thanks Silverring. We can't lose sight of that fact, even as many are overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. For those who have these issues, regardless of what name it receives (executive function disorder is one that is growing in favor) it is a very real thing.
 


 
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#21 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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I like using 'executive function' in the name.  It covers more of the issue and gets rid of the idea that it's just about 'naughty' boys by eliminating the misleading 'hyperactive' label.  

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#22 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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Re lazy parenting - most parents are forced to accept substandard schooling for their children, which caters for a small minority of children while labelling the rest deviant and blames them for their 'failure'.  I reject any idea that parents are to blame for medicating their children so they can get through the nightmare that is modern schooling.  And I reject the notion that parents are 'lazy' if they medicate their children.  I wish my own parents had been 'lazy' enough to go to the doctor and find out what was wrong with me instead of labelling me lazy and stupid.

 

 

 

To the bolded - why? Are parents never lazy? Are parents always acting in the best interests of their children? (The answer is no.)

 

The chronic, non-stop parent blaming in our society is out of control. I won't argue, and have commented on it many times, myself. That doesn't mean parents are always right, never to blame, or always doing their best. Sometimes, they're really not doing any of that.

 

These parents flat out said that they put their daughter on medication, because she was "a bit blah". She doesn't have ADHD. They don't even think she has ADHD. They thought she was "blah". That's a pretty poor reason to put someone on serious medication, with known serious side effects (such as the fact that it had already caused one of their other children to hallucinate).

 

I tend to agree about school. School was a non-stop nightmare for me (starting about 4th or 5th grade). I medicated myself (mostly pot, but a hefty dose of alcohol at times, as well) to get through it. But, my problems went way beyond being "a bit blah". And, the picture of Quintn really, really disturbed me. I knew kids at school who were smoking pot regularly, doing coke occasionally, dropping acid semi-regularly, smoking cigarettes and drinking to excess, and none of them looked that wasted. That boy looks as though he hasn't slept for a month.

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#23 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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Quentin isn't on a stimulant though, he is on an atypical antipsychotic which is pretty sedating. Not sure why they chose that--he has to have issues beyond ADHD in order to have dr. use that medication. Usually prescribed for children with anger issues that are way over the top.
 


 
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#24 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 12:03 PM
 
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Here is info on the use of disorders of executive function alongside ADHD.

 

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/executive-function
 


 
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[QUOTE]And, the picture of Quintn really, really disturbed me. I knew kids at school who were smoking pot regularly, doing coke occasionally, dropping acid semi-regularly, smoking cigarettes and drinking to excess, and none of them looked that wasted. That boy looks as though he hasn't slept for a month.[/QUOTE]

 

The picture on the front is supposed to make you feel like that.  And the quotes are supposed to make you feel like that.  It is possible that the article is a true representation of these few parents.  It's also possible that they've been misrepresented.  

 

However, what is the article saying?  Isn't it just doing exactly what most of us hate?  It's continuing the out of control non stop mother blaming (almost always mothers, though occasionally fathers too.) We should be shouting about the article, not the parents in it - whom we have never met and should not be judging based on a biased article.

 

All it would take is a photographer to take a picture of a kid half way through a blink to get a 'druggie' look in a child.  I take the article with a pinch of salt.  I'm not disputing that there are some parents who do this to their children.  I'm FAR more concerned that there are hundreds of thousands of kids going undiagnosed because doctors and parents have this attitude that it is a made up problem - caused by this sort of article.

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#26 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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Quentin isn't on a stimulant though, he is on an atypical antipsychotic which is pretty sedating. Not sure why they chose that--he has to have issues beyond ADHD in order to have dr. use that medication. Usually prescribed for children with anger issues that are way over the top.

 

Of course there's no way to know without actually knowing the family, but the article said he was put on it after the Adderall caused him to have delusions. While that makes no effing sense whatsoever, I've personally witnessed more than enough cases of "prescribe a drug to treat the side effects of another drug" in my life to find it completely believable.


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#27 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 12:46 PM
 
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[QUOTE]And, the picture of Quintn really, really disturbed me. I knew kids at school who were smoking pot regularly, doing coke occasionally, dropping acid semi-regularly, smoking cigarettes and drinking to excess, and none of them looked that wasted. That boy looks as though he hasn't slept for a month.[/QUOTE]

 

The picture on the front is supposed to make you feel like that.  And the quotes are supposed to make you feel like that.  It is possible that the article is a true representation of these few parents.  It's also possible that they've been misrepresented.  

 

Yes - I'm sure the picture is supposed to cause a certain emotional reaction, but it's still a picture. Do you think it was photoshopped?

 

 

However, what is the article saying?  Isn't it just doing exactly what most of us hate?  It's continuing the out of control non stop mother blaming (almost always mothers, though occasionally fathers too.) We should be shouting about the article, not the parents in it - whom we have never met and should not be judging based on a biased article.

 

Actually, I got far more of a doctor blaming vibe than a parent blaming one, with some serious slams at the school system thrown in for good measure. You're right - the article could be entirely wrong, in which case why bother discussing it at all? If the father wasn't misquoted, these parents are whacked, imo (and please note that I'm talking about a quote from the father, not the mother). You don't give your child hardcore medication - medication that's already caused one of your other children to have delusions - for being "a bit blah" and not very social. While I'm not fond of the constant parent blaming that goes on in the media (and on street corners, in checkout lines, on blogs, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum), that doesn't mean that all parental decisions are off limits to criticism. Deliberately medicating children for conditions they don't have isn't cool.

 

 

All it would take is a photographer to take a picture of a kid half way through a blink to get a 'druggie' look in a child.  

 

Really? I"ve taken dozens - maybe hundreds - of crappy pictures of my kids, in the middle of a blink, strange expression, or whatever. None of them looked like that. There's a picture floating around of me, mid-blink, stoned out of my skull, and I don't look like that.

 

 

I take the article with a pinch of salt.  I'm not disputing that there are some parents who do this to their children.  I'm FAR more concerned that there are hundreds of thousands of kids going undiagnosed because doctors and parents have this attitude that it is a made up problem - caused by this sort of article.

 

How do you know there are still hundreds of thousands of kids going undiagnosed? People with ADHD not receiving the correct diagnosis is bad news, but that doesn't mean it's any worse than people being put on Adderall when they don't have ADHD. In any case, the vast majority of people in the comments who got the "ADHD is made up" vibe from this article were people with ADHD. Almost nobody else read it that way. (And, yes - I did read the entire comment thread yesterday.) I certainly didn't. Saying that it's not okay to medicate someone for a condition that person doesn't have isn't the same thing as saying that condition doesn't exist.

 

And, that attitude is not caused by this sort of article. It's caused by people not understanding ADHD. It's caused by people thinking their own experience is a universal truth ("I took all artificial food colourings out of my son's diet and his symptoms disappeared, therefore all ADHD would disappear if the parents did the same thing" and "my ex was to permissive, but as soon as I cracked down on our son, his so-called ADHD vanished, therefore all ADHD would disappear with stricter rules" and other stupid variants on the theme). It's caused by people mistakenly thinking that ADHD didn't exist when they were kids, because they never realized that the "troublemaker" in seventh grade wasn't just some punk with a bad home life. It comes from people diagnosing ADHD where it doesn't exist. People who don't believe in ADHD will read this article as validation of their viewpoint, but they'll read all articles as validation of their viewpoint. People who put kids on ADHD medication, when those kids don't have ADHD, do a lot more damage to ADHD awareness than the article does. Most people know at least one person who clearly doesn't have ADHD, but has been put on ADHD meds, and that tends to prop up the belief that ADHD isn't real. 

 

This article isn't about kids with ADHD. This article is about kids who are receiving prescription medication for conditions they don't have. Their parents don't think they have it, and the prescribing doctor either doesn't think they have it, or doesn't think it exists. (I had trouble figuring out his views from the quotes - at first I thought he didn't think those kids had it, then later it looked as though he doesn't believe it exists.) I wouldn't be impressed by parents and doctors loading a kid up with prescription painkillers when they weren't in pain, or chemotherapy drugs when they didn't have cancer, or Lipitor when they didn't have high cholesterol, either. For a more apt comparison...I wouldn't be impressed if the doctor and the parents were putting the kids on steroids, so they'd have an edge in gym class, either.

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#28 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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Yes, i heard about this terminology recently too. I apologize for my post upthread, in that i posted without thinking or explaining myself clearly.  i believe certain  disorders exist, but i dont think the  term adhd defines them well, and i am happy to see that  changes are being made to clarify what the disorder really is. I also  think that it is overdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silverring View Post

I like using 'executive function' in the name.  It covers more of the issue and gets rid of the idea that it's just about 'naughty' boys by eliminating the misleading 'hyperactive' label.  

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#29 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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ps.not to mention that the article isnt about whether or not adhd exists, but that adhd medications are being prescribed to control children rather than to help them with a medical disorder.

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#30 of 61 Old 12-30-2012, 01:05 PM
 
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Yes, that's my problem with it.  The press is completely skewed towards this sort of article.  This just makes things harder for people whose children need the medication.  

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