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Old 09-03-2008, 01:25 PM   #91
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While a few may really need it, it's overused and a bad thing overall. It seems too many times teachers expect too much from little kids and just want them doped so they don't have to deal with them. Then you have families getting more welfare for a hyper kid so there's no hurry to get them off of it. IMO it leads to a life of drug dependancy and more natural approaches should be taken.
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:33 AM   #92
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While a few may really need it, it's overused and a bad thing overall. It seems too many times teachers expect too much from little kids and just want them doped so they don't have to deal with them. Then you have families getting more welfare for a hyper kid so there's no hurry to get them off of it. IMO it leads to a life of drug dependancy and more natural approaches should be taken.
Being a clinical pharmacist with a focus on psychopharmacology I can honestly say amphetamines are overly prescribed, for the most part. Although, they do benefit a huge portion of the population and when there is a treatable population then they should be treated considering the overwhelming clinical research supporting their use. In some cases they could expose cardiovascular diseases (Arrhythmias) in many young adults causing death but does outweigh the benefit if youth can be tested and screened ahead of time? This is the reason Adderall was pulled off the Canadien market for a brief period of time.

Here is an article from The Economist I thought was interesing to try and explain the reason behind ADD and ADHD:

Evolution and genetics

The misfits
Jun 12th 2008
From The Economist print edition

The genetic legacy of nomadism may be an inability to settle


ABOUT one in 20 children (those under 18) have a group of symptoms that has come to be known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). About 60% of them carry those symptoms into adulthood. For what is, at root, a genetic phenomenon, that is a lot—yet many studies have shown that ADHD is indeed genetic and not, as was once suspected, the result of poor parenting. It is associated with particular variants of receptor molecules for neurotransmitters in the brain. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that carries messages between nerve cells and, in the case of ADHD, that chemical is often dopamine, which controls feelings of reward and pleasure. The suggestion is that people with ADHD are receiving positive neurological feedback for inappropriate behaviour. The surprise is that the variant receptors are still there. Natural selection might have been expected to purge them from the population unless they have some compensating benefit.

Of course, this analysis turns on the definition of “inappropriate”. The main symptom of ADHD is impulsiveness. Sufferers have trouble concentrating on any task unless they receive constant feedback, stimulation and reward. They thus tend to flit from activity to activity. Adults with ADHD tend to perform poorly in modern society and are prone to addictive and compulsive behaviour. But might such people do well in different circumstances?

One hypothesis is that the behaviour associated with ADHD helps people, such as hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads, who lead a peripatetic life. Since today's sedentary city dwellers are recently descended from such people, natural selection may not have had time to purge the genes that cause it.

Dan Eisenberg, of Northwestern University in Illinois, and his colleagues decided to test this by studying the Ariaal, a group of pastoral nomads who live in Kenya. The receptor Mr Eisenberg looked at was the 7R variant of a protein called DRD4. Previous work has shown that this variant is associated with novelty-seeking, food- and drug-cravings, and ADHD.

The team looked for 7R in two groups of Ariaal. One was still pastoral and nomadic. The other had recently settled down. As they report in this week's BMC Evolutionary Biology, they found that about a fifth of the population of both groups had the 7R version of DRD4. However, the consequences of this were very different. Among the nomads, who wander around northern Kenya herding cattle, camels, sheep and goats, those with 7R were better nourished than those without. The opposite was true of their settled relations: those with 7R were worse nourished than those without it.

How 7R causes this is not yet known. It may stem from behavioural differences or it may be that different versions of DRD4 have different effects on the way the body processes food. Nevertheless, this discovery fits past findings that 7R and a set of similar variants of DRD4, known collectively as “long alleles”, are more common in migratory populations.

One suggestion is that long-distance migration selects for long alleles (see chart) because they reward exploratory behaviour. This might be an advantage in migratory societies because it encourages people to hunt down resources when they constantly move through unfamiliar surroundings.

As for the Ariaal, there remains the question of why 7R—although it is apparently beneficial to a nomadic way of life—is found in only a fifth of the population. One possibility is that its effects are beneficial only when they are not universal, and some sort of equilibrium between variants emerges. A second is that the advantage is gained when 7R exists along with another version of DRD4 (the genes for the two variants having come from different parents). Unfortunately, the way Mr Eisenberg collected the data does not allow these hypotheses to be tested.

Either way, his research raises the question of whether people suffering from ADHD and conditions related to it, such as addiction, are misfits coping with a genetic legacy that was useful in the evolutionary past, but is now damaging. As society continues to diverge from that evolutionary past, the economic and social consequences of being such a misfit may become increasingly important.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:34 PM   #93
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While a few may really need it, it's overused and a bad thing overall.


Quote:
It seems too many times teachers expect too much from little kids and just want them doped so they don't have to deal with them.
specially where boys are concerned

Quote:
Then you have families getting more welfare for a hyper kid so there's no hurry to get them off of it.
That sentence scared the hell out of me

Quote:
IMO it leads to a life of drug dependancy and more natural approaches should be taken.
Not sure I agree that it leads to overall drug dependancy but it certainly normalises the use of drugs which is never a good thing - and agree absolutely that where possible other options should always be explored first


ps - gherman the article you posted was really interesting, thanks
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:45 AM   #94
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This thread is so interesting. As a sophomore in college who is in a sorority, I can tell you that probably 80% of the girls in my sorority take ADHD medications (usually Adderall). Most people I know take it to study when they have tests and half of the older girls in my sorority take it so they won't eat. There is definitely a HUGE black market for this stuff on college campuses. I know people who got prescribed to it and they definitely do not have any kind of attention issues. It's really disgusting seeing girls waste away to 100 pounds because they went to a shrink and lied that they have an attention problem. Clearly it is prescribed wayyyyy too much.

But on another note, my brother is 15 and a junior in high school. He has always been a problem child, can't sit still, never got good grades, etc. My dad also definitely has some form of ADD but has never been medicated and he is very successful. He's very against medication. But knowing that my brother is such a smart kid but just can't pay attention was killing my parents, so they brought him to a psychiatrist. After weeks of testing for a million things they finally diagnosed him with ADHD and put him on Adderall. My dad is against it but my mom wanted to try so they did. Turns out instead of getting D's and F's in school he started getting A's and B's. But he HATES being on it. He says it makes him feel like a zombie and he hates not having an appetite. So my mom doesn't make him take it anymore but it just sucks because now he has half A's and half F's, which clearly is not normal. So I really think this stuff is great if it is used by someone who legitimately can benefit from it. But I don't think parents should MAKE their children take it. It's killing them that my brother is doing terribly in school, but what are they going to do? They don't want their kid to be miserable.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:46 PM   #95
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But on another note, my brother is 15 and a junior in high school. He has always been a problem child, can't sit still, never got good grades, etc. My dad also definitely has some form of ADD but has never been medicated and he is very successful. He's very against medication. But knowing that my brother is such a smart kid but just can't pay attention was killing my parents, so they brought him to a psychiatrist. After weeks of testing for a million things they finally diagnosed him with ADHD and put him on Adderall. My dad is against it but my mom wanted to try so they did. Turns out instead of getting D's and F's in school he started getting A's and B's. But he HATES being on it. He says it makes him feel like a zombie and he hates not having an appetite. So my mom doesn't make him take it anymore but it just sucks because now he has half A's and half F's, which clearly is not normal. So I really think this stuff is great if it is used by someone who legitimately can benefit from it. But I don't think parents should MAKE their children take it. It's killing them that my brother is doing terribly in school, but what are they going to do? They don't want their kid to be miserable.
Has your brother checked with the doctor? Maybe a lower dosage would work or a different prescription. The best answer would be if society would figure out a way to educate all types of kids instead of expecting them all to follow one method. If your kids doesn't work well with the current method, then they get F's. In a society where you really need a college degree to make a good income - kids need to be able to get through this. So, they are sort of forced to take meds to conform.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #96
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The best answer would be if society would figure out a way to educate all types of kids instead of expecting them all to follow one method. If your kids doesn't work well with the current method, then they get F's.
couldn't agree with you more
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:13 PM   #97
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Has your brother checked with the doctor? Maybe a lower dosage would work or a different prescription. The best answer would be if society would figure out a way to educate all types of kids instead of expecting them all to follow one method. If your kids doesn't work well with the current method, then they get F's. In a society where you really need a college degree to make a good income - kids need to be able to get through this. So, they are sort of forced to take meds to conform.
Yeah, they just prescribed him a new thing called Focalin I think? They said it might not affect him as badly as the Adderall. I totally agree...my brother is a junior in high school and there is no way he is going to get into a decent college. And I KNOW he is a smart kid, I have seen him study hard and get A's. But half the time he even fails classwork assignments because he just can't sit there. Right now his grades are half A's and half F's which is obviously because some teachers accommodate him and some don't. I know it's not a public school teacher's job to take time out for kids with these kind of problems, but I wish there was some sort of solution or other kind of classes he can be in. For him to be educated in an environment that would work with him and have smaller classes (like a small private school) would cost my parents a small fortune!
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:01 PM   #98
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Yeah, they just prescribed him a new thing called Focalin I think? They said it might not affect him as badly as the Adderall. I totally agree...my brother is a junior in high school and there is no way he is going to get into a decent college. And I KNOW he is a smart kid, I have seen him study hard and get A's. But half the time he even fails classwork assignments because he just can't sit there. Right now his grades are half A's and half F's which is obviously because some teachers accommodate him and some don't. I know it's not a public school teacher's job to take time out for kids with these kind of problems, but I wish there was some sort of solution or other kind of classes he can be in. For him to be educated in an environment that would work with him and have smaller classes (like a small private school) would cost my parents a small fortune!

Even if the public school teacher did take time out to teach, most of the kids would most likely not stick around. Getting through the regular school day is tough enough for them, they certainly don't want to put in extra.
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:13 AM   #99
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What kinds of things are generally done at the high school level (besides medication) to help ADHD students? I realize it probably varies greatly from one school system to another, and even from one teacher to another, but just in general, what would be some examples of commonly offered assists? I know at the college level, many if not most colleges offer (usually through a disabled student services office) things like note-takers, audio textbooks, recorded lectures, extra time on exams etc. I've had quite a few ADHD students use those services over the years. I've never actually had to make any changes in the way I teach for them, and it's a little hard to imagine how I'd do that--a few times I've offered oral exams as an alternative, and sometimes those students avail themselves of my office hours more than others, but those things are no problem.

As far as the problem of Ritalin abuse on college campuses, I'm pretty sure I've seen figures recently estimating nationwide campus averages of 'illicit Ritalin use' (or however they put it) at 5-10%, with certain colleges having rates as high as 20%.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:33 AM   #100
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ADHD, Ritalin and all it's me-too drugs got a 20 year head-start but Bipolar disorder is making up ground. In the last 10 years, diagnoses are up 300% in adolescents and 400% amongst children.

The reasons are much the same as for increases in ADHD diagnoses:
1) Softening of diagnosis criteria resulting in rising misdiagnosis
2) Aggressive marketing by drug companies
3) Upcoding the diagnosis of behavioral problems to the more severe, in this case, diagnosis of bipolar disorder just to receive greater compensation from insurance companies or Medicaid.

Some people, including children, really do have chemical imbalances or other organic mental illness that shouldn't be stigmatized or treated any less aggressively than physical illness. But four year old manic-depressives? Give me a break.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:09 AM   #101
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ADHD, Ritalin and all it's me-too drugs got a 20 year head-start but Bipolar disorder is making up ground. In the last 10 years, diagnoses are up 300% in adolescents and 400% amongst children.

...

Some people, including children, really do have chemical imbalances or other organic mental illness that shouldn't be stigmatized or treated any less aggressively than physical illness. But four year old manic-depressives? Give me a break.
It's interesting that we've got two primary symptoms, inattentiveness and mood instability, that are also addressed in Omega-3 fatty acids, which the Western diet is generally very low in, but is supposed to be found in high levels in the brain and is considered necessary for normal fetal development and growth. I also believe there's been studies have that shown that it has had a beneficial effect on both bipolar disorder and ADHD. Considering how many children eat the equivalent of junk food on a daily basis around the country, which is inevitably low in Omega-3s, along with any number of necessary nutrients, coupled with living in a high stress society, where the few nutrients you get are quickly depleted, is it any wonder we have a rash of mental illness diagnoses amongst children?
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:07 PM   #102
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^

The whole impact of diet on behaviour is absolutely fascinating - I know its not going to work for everyone as some kids really do have issues that need to be treated medically but I have tons of friends who have noticed changes in their kids behaviour depending on diet . . . This isn't based on anything scientific - just a mum observing the behavioural changes - one of my boys is 'Mr Fidget' - he listens in class and gets pretty good grades but he CAN NOT sit still to save himself - nervous energy by the bucketload which noticeably lessens when we increase the amount of fish in our diets . . . took me & the teachers a while to figure it out . . . but even something as small as a tuna salad at lunch seems to help - its not a guarantee of course but it really seems to impact.

The 'over diagnosis' of ADHD, bipolar etc makes me crazy cuz it just really seems like such a lazy way out and it lessens the amount of attention / care that kids who are genuinely in need of help get.

Great thread by the way - really really interesting
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:42 AM   #103
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It's interesting that we've got two primary symptoms, inattentiveness and mood instability, that are also addressed in Omega-3 fatty acids, which the Western diet is generally very low in, but is supposed to be found in high levels in the brain and is considered necessary for normal fetal development and growth. I also believe there's been studies have that shown that it has had a beneficial effect on both bipolar disorder and ADHD. Considering how many children eat the equivalent of junk food on a daily basis around the country, which is inevitably low in Omega-3s, along with any number of necessary nutrients, coupled with living in a high stress society, where the few nutrients you get are quickly depleted, is it any wonder we have a rash of mental illness diagnoses amongst children?
OK, I'm going to buy some Omega-3 supplement. Any recommendations to a brand or what should I look for on the bottle? Anything to stay away from?
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Old 09-19-2008, 01:23 PM   #104
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OK, I'm going to buy some Omega-3 supplement. Any recommendations to a brand or what should I look for on the bottle? Anything to stay away from?
fish oils are the most potent, but flax seed is a viable vegetarian substitute.

look for organic, cold pressed flax seed oil or molecularly distilled fish oils.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:30 PM   #105
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Maybe pediatricians will cut down on the amount of ritalin that is distributed to the male children in this society. I would like that.

I have not read this entire thread yet, but I agree.

I teach 7th grade Language Arts and I have seen the abuse of ritalin and other drugs used on students. What is shocking is how parents and some teachers are so quick to recommend drugs as a solution.
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