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I am trying to sort out my thoughts on this "disorder." Is there someone who knows anything about ADD? The whole thing seems to be a form of determinism. It appears to me that ADD is some kind of scam created by intellectuals in the West, although I can't figure out who/how/why someone would dream up such a thing. My brother was "diagnosed" with it when he was younger, and was told that he had a "tendency to become addicted to things." What does this mean? Is this reasonable? Was he born with some genetic/biological defect which predetermined him to be an "addictive personality"? (I should note that he was placed on medication to "correct" his attention deficit, and later on in life he did become addicted to other forms of drugs. Although I would argue his dependency on drugs stemmed from his usage of ADD drugs.)

Something doesn't sit right, as I find it hard to accept the fact that he had no control over this; that he was born and had this genetic "problem". Like I said, I have been trying to sort this out for a few days now and would be interested in some others thoughts on it.

Thanks...

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Let's look at what they consider as symptoms (taken straight from NIMH) :

"They include excessive restlessness, squirming around when seated, and the frequent need to walk or run around. Hyperactive children have difficulty playing quietly, and they may talk excessively, often behaving inappropriately and impulsively, not waiting their turn, and interrupting. Many of these symptoms may occur in normal children. However, in children with ADHD they occur very frequently and across several domains, at home and at school, or when playing, interfering with the child’s normal functioning. These children are often poor students and unpopular among the other children and their behavior can present significant challenges for parents."

I don't know about you but that sounds absolutely normal behavior, expecially for boys, to me.

In 1998 at the National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on ADHD, the NIH issued the following statement regarding ADHD:

“We do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there is no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”

Yet, from 1998 to 2003 the rate of diagnosis (followed by medication with psychotorpic agents + often antidepressants) had increased by close to 300%. Schools receive additional state and federal funding per-child, per-semester for every kid diagnosed as having ADHD or ADD and taking medication.

To make things more interesting, here are the symptoms of gifted children (taken from The National Foundation for Gifted Children - non profit, no government funding received): high sensitivity, excessive amounts of energy, bores easily and may appear to have a short attention span, will resist authority if not democratically oriented, have preffered ways of learning, may become easily frustrated, resist to just being a listener, cannot sit still unless absorbed in something of his/her own interest.

Now, I am not suggesting that all of those boys are gifted but the similarity of symptoms, where in one case they are considered an indication of a disease and in another an indication of possibly being gifted, is striking.

I myself question the existance of this "disease" but if it does in fact exist a lot of children are being misdiagnosed with it.

The ADHD Fraud: How Psychiatry Makes "Patients" of Normal Children by Fred A. Baughman is a good read on the subject.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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I am trying to sort out my thoughts on this "disorder." Is there someone who knows anything about ADD? The whole thing seems to be a form of determinism. It appears to me that ADD is some kind of scam...

Dr. Michael Hurd, an Objectivist psychologist, has done a good job exposing the ADD scam in his book Grow Up America (ISBN 978-0967421803).

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I myself question the existence of this "disease" but if it does in fact exist a lot of children are being misdiagnosed with it.

I think there is a minority of individuals with legitimate learning disabilities who are lumped in one broad category with a large number of misdiagnosed students. For example, my brother used to be categorized as having ADHD but eventually he was re-diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome, which seems to be a more valid concept.

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My opinion is that it is an absolutely ridiculous 'disorder'.

During school I was surrounded by people who claimed to have ADD and were placed on medication as a result.

The obvious symptoms were that they had difficulty concentrating in class etc.

Well, I've always suffered from concentration/restlessness problems. I struggle to read books as my brain drifts very often and I get restless very quickly. It took me a VERY long time to finish The Fountainhead. Atlas Shrugged is next on the agenda and I'm trying to prepare myself for that one.

Even lengthy conversations are a challenge for me. I have a very tough time staying focussed on what the other person is saying, as well as on what I'm saying and I lose my train of thought.

Regardless, I never saw the need to take drugs for this. Instead I recognised that others had a slight advantage over me, so I worked twice as long and hard as them and it paid off.

Nevertheless, I feel that my concentration has improved since school.

I think big reason that kids have problems concentrating in class and are diagnosed with ADHD, is because the classes just don't interest them!

There's an obsession nowadays to take drugs for absolutely everything. Mind-altering medication should always be an absolute last resort. ESPECIALLY for a child. Their brains are still developing.

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Many "ADD" children, when removed from the confines of strict curriculum and daily/hourly routine, lose their symptoms to a large degree. Here's an article on ADD and homeschooling. The "hunter in a farmer's world" thing may be a bit off, but still worth a read.

http://www.nhen.org/media/default.asp?id=280

There's a reading list at the end, and I've already read two of the books recommended for the subject: How Children Fail and How Children Learn by John Holt. I loved them both, but the latter is my favorite of the two.

It is a collection of journal entries about his experiences with children, observing them in their natural state of learning, apart from school structure. It illustrates the curiosity they have, the amazing ability to learn when they are directing the process (and controlling how much time they spend on a time at a subject or endeavor, instead of artificially moving from subject to subject according to pre-set time blocks). They can spend hours at a time on a subject or endeavor, however serious it may be, without losing attention span--when it's what they want to learn about. Often they end up learning things that are far beyond what teachers could try to force on them. The stories are frankly inspiring.

My dad once told me that research has shown that children lose this curiosity around the age of 5, implying that this is why they then need to be schooled. I asked him, "Was the research done on children who all started school at the age of 5?" As far as he knew, it was. ...How obvious can it get?

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From speaking to a few non-Objectivists about this, it usually reduces to: Was the individual born without the ability to pay attention? or: Was the individual born with a "tendency toward addiction"? There seems to be a sort of consesus among intellectuals that certain personality traits and characteristics are inherent biologically in DNA. I asked a few people the hypothetical:

"If you go into a nursery at a hospital and there are 20 newly born babies there. None of them have had any particular contact with an outside environment, they have hardly even talked with or seen their mother or father. They came out of the womb and went straight into the nursery. Are all 20 babies equal in terms of potentiality? In other words, do all 20 babies have an equivalent chance of developing the next theory of relativity, or of beecoming the next Tiger Woods?"

Interestingly, most people seem to respond in the negative. They say, no, certain traits such as "intelligence" or "deductive reasoning" are inherent from the second they are born! They say that, for example, one baby may have a mind that is inclined toward art, another a mind inclined toward rational thinking. These traits do not negate free will, in their view, they simply predispose the art inclined mind to be an architect, and the rational thinker to be a scientist. I was pointed to a few studies, such as the Minnesota Twin Family Study, with some of its findings summarized here. A short quote from it is here:

An MZ twin reared away from his or her co-twin seems to have about as good a chance of being similar to the co-twin in terms of personality, interests, and attitudes as one who has been reared with his or her co-twin.

This leads us to believe that the similarities between twins are due to genes, not the environment.

I haven't really thought about this in the depth I suppose I should have. But something about the people who say this and these studies doesn't sit right, and I cannot pinpoint it.

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Going forward from my own experience, having been educated in the 1960's when of an age when most of these children were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, this "disorder" simply did not, at that time, exist.

There were always those, especially boys, that squirmed in thier seats, talked excessively, and did not pay attention. There was one cure for all of these symptoms: a paddle to the ass, administered by the teacher, at her discretion. It worked every time. The child sat down and payed attention.

The profit to be made out of the drugging of our children, by the pharmacutical companies and the schools themselves, are at the heart of this seeming explosion of diagnoses.

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There were always those, especially boys, that squirmed in thier seats, talked excessively, and did not pay attention. There was one cure for all of these symptoms: a paddle to the ass, administered by the teacher, at her discretion. It worked every time. The child sat down and payed attention.

To me this is less scary than drugging them, but more immediately offensive. Probably because it's more honest about the nature of compulsory school.

Don't like being in a totalitarian environment where you have little to no freedom or say in the progression of your life? Tough. *THWACK* Now go back to your seat and be a good little conformer.

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It's probably the idea that the studies (and researchers) seem to undermine Tabula Rasa.

Yes, that is it. But, if these studies conclude something that is wrong, then what is the problem with them? Is it the methodology? If personality traits are indeed inherited genetically, like they would suggest, then that would, in essence, negate any claim I can make to say "I am great because I did this..." Instead, one would have to say "I am great, because I was simply born great..." Likewise, one would have to say "You're an idiot because you were born one, and I'm really sorry, but there just isn't anything you can do to be as great as me."

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Yes, that is it. But, if these studies conclude something that is wrong, then what is the problem with them? Is it the methodology?

The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry And Psychology Under the Microscope by Jay Joseph.

and/or

The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless Search for Genes by Jay Joseph.

(the second among many other things addresses ADHD)

Edited by ~Sophia~
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The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry And Psychology Under the Microscope by Jay Joseph.

and/or

The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless Search for Genes by Jay Joseph.

(the second among many other things addresses ADHD)

Sophia,

Both those books seem to have similar contents. Is one wider but less detailed, while the other more narrowly focused? I'm wondering which to order first, if I want to understand his fundamental argument about genetic studies (including twin-studies). I do not have a particular interest in any specific diagnosis, whether ADHD or something else, so broader would probably be better value to me.

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I work with many children who carry this diagnosis. 99% of them come from disfunctional homes or are under another form of significant stress. Seriously, look at anyone with "ADD" and you will find another underlying issue. "ADD" does not exist in a vacuum and I find that it is in a way an excuse for treating the symptoms of a problem (the child's reative behaviors) rather than the root of the problem (family dynamics, in most cases). If I were a child living in this culture of irrationality, I would have "ADD" too. Who wouldn't?

Edited by Tabitha
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Sophia,

Both those books seem to have similar contents. Is one wider but less detailed, while the other more narrowly focused? I'm wondering which to order first, if I want to understand his fundamental argument about genetic studies (including twin-studies). I do not have a particular interest in any specific diagnosis, whether ADHD or something else, so broader would probably be better value to me.

The Gene Illusion then. The Missing Gene elaborates on his previous critique and gives updates in the area of genetic studies of behavior.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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I am trying to sort out my thoughts on this "disorder." Is there someone who knows anything about ADD? The whole thing seems to be a form of determinism. It appears to me that ADD is some kind of scam created by intellectuals in the West, although I can't figure out who/how/why someone would dream up such a thing. My brother was "diagnosed" with it when he was younger, and was told that he had a "tendency to become addicted to things." What does this mean? Is this reasonable? Was he born with some genetic/biological defect which predetermined him to be an "addictive personality"? (I should note that he was placed on medication to "correct" his attention deficit, and later on in life he did become addicted to other forms of drugs. Although I would argue his dependency on drugs stemmed from his usage of ADD drugs.)

Something doesn't sit right, as I find it hard to accept the fact that he had no control over this; that he was born and had this genetic "problem". Like I said, I have been trying to sort this out for a few days now and would be interested in some others thoughts on it.

Thanks...

I was diagnosed with ADD at the age of about 9 years old. I am to put it simply, an impulsive person. They had me on dextroamphetamine which is a stimulant drug which is known to help Children concentrate. I took my medication, got great grades and became the class clown in primary school. In mid highschool (I was about sixteen) I had been off my medication for over a year however I started to become pretty depressed. While I was at home every weekend programming, everyone else was out having sex and I hardly knew what that meant. I got into drug use from this I feel, actually, these days it seems that the large amount of anti-drug propaganda served as advertising. Because it was published public knowledge (or fallacy) that if you did drugs you would make lots of friends and have lots of sex, blah blah. This propaganda about drugs stereotyped them.

There are many sites available on the Internet this century on drugs, and on drugs like my ADD medication that would get me high. When I was young and sexually frustrated drugs just seemed like an obvious answer to the problem. I have this tendency to do things on a whim, and it basically what ADD is, it is people who act on impulses and their surroundings rather than their intuition at times and is considered an impulsivity disorder. Basically though the drugs seemed like a plug and play solution to my people problems, something which they actually worsened as on drugs I manage to make a complete fucking fool out of myself.

The rise of ADD seems reasonable, because attention span problems are something which I despise (and others obviously do), so I willingly still to this day take drugs to make my attention span a lot better. It is reasonable because there is a market, some of the drugs work. The fact is before the rise of ADD there was no medication indictated to help people pay attention in ways like they do now, something has been invented and it treats another invention, ADD, which is valid because it is real: a lot of children with ADD not on medication get poorer grades and in more fights than a lot of children with ADD on medication. It is simple science.

However I feel that because I played around with the ADD drugs I am a lot less likely to do any other drugs. Stopping drugs was pretty hard, if you ever worry about your brother keep in mind most drug users discontinue use before serious damage occurs, the minor damage seems to go away pretty quickly except with more serious drugs like meth. The one and only thing I know that gets people off drugs is staying busy with something. Most popular illicit substances create pleasure; they reward a person like we reward ourselves psychologically in normal circumstances, except they reward them for doing nothing.

What I am trying to say is that drugs get you by doing nothing, happily, and the more I thought of that I realized I wanted a function in this world and I stopped doing them by creating myself a function, something to do. Drugs became mundane for the same reason they were once so liked by me, I did the drugs to relieve bordem and stress but ended up doing nothing because of them. In those times I saw desire for material benefits as some mystic sin, something I cannot imagine them as anymore. I used to be into socialism and all that jabber. However, the lack of material benefits and instead a simple pleasure led me the other way, now I live for materials (computers, cigarettes, my own survival) by being as productive as possible. Objectivism was the biggest motivator for me, because now I know that no matter how crazy I can seem, if I can continue to be productive and continue to be useful people will question my quirks less, people won't care. It has all proven to be true.

Drugs make you do nothing by rewarding your sense of pleasure for no reason. When I began to comprehend the senselessness of this getting off drugs was easy. However I don't feel this way about every drug, some drugs like LSD can be used responsibly to alter you perception in ways that can be positive. I am not saying reality is something to be masked with chemicals, because with a drug like LSD you do a lot more than that. It isn't so much about what it does with reality as it is about what it can do with your own thoughts. To people who would never touch drugs altering reality to generate "interesting" thoughts is pointless, however, it is not so much about when you are influenced by the drug but after you are influenced by the drug LSD you find reality a lot closer than you once did - after you see a world with it taken away from you.

Yeah, thats what I have to say about ADD and drugs. Another thing I have noticed, is a lot of people with ADD have problems with anxiety. People with problems of anxiety tend to enjoy drugs that relax them, especially cannabis. About every kid I know including myself who has been diagnosed with ADD has also done cannabis.

I'm sure I have only scraped the surface on what drugs and their related motives to do them.

Edited by John Kintaro
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No one carried guns and knives to school, and drugs were unheard of. Must have been doing something right.

How far back are you talking? My mother attended high school in the 1960s and not only were drugs very prevalent there was a school shooting that killed two of her classmates. I am very skeptical of the idea that in the past young people were less violent and more well behaved.

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How far back are you talking? My mother attended high school in the 1960s and not only were drugs very prevalent there was a school shooting that killed two of her classmates. I am very skeptical of the idea that in the past young people were less violent and more well behaved.

I think he meant in elementary school and junior high, in which case I believe he would be correct in saying that there are more drugs and weapons now than there were then.

Of course that doesn't mean his post resembles anything close to an argument. Maybe they were "doing something right", or maybe the entire culture has changed since then. I'm inclined to believe the latter. Also, I don't think of getting children to "behave" in a school environment as being necessarily good.

Edited by musenji
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I think he meant in elementary school and junior high, in which case I believe he would be correct in saying that there are more drugs and weapons now than there were then.

Of course that doesn't mean his post resembles anything close to an argument. Maybe they were "doing something right", or maybe the entire culture has changed since then. I'm inclined to believe the latter. Also, I don't think of getting children to "behave" in a school environment as being necessarily good.

Exactly. Should we be giving props to people in the past for having children that are more docile and easier to control? Is it really better to have children that don't question their slavery to the state but instead just do what they're told?

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No one else with thoughts on this? My questions on ADD have led me to investigate genetics and how it affects an individual. What I have found has been startling to me, and has led me to think of things I have assumed to be true for quite some time now. I haven't found much said from the Objectivist circles about it. The closest I can find is the character of Eddie Willers. But not enough information is given about him....Was he literally not born with the ability to become a great entrepreneur? Surely he was born with the ability to reason and arrive at rational conclusions, like everyone is. But was he constrained in the fact that it was not possible for him to achieve an act of new, creative thinking, i.e. could Eddie Willers have developed a theory of relativity, if he wanted/chose to? If not, then why not? What is the explanation for this? I found a quote from Rand that I think nearest approaches the topic, as far as I know:

Intelligence is the ability to deal with a broad range of abstractions. Whatever a child's natural endowment, the use of intelligence is an acquired skill. It has to be acquired by a child's own effort and automatized by his own mind, but adults can help or hinder him in this crucial process.

I bolded a part that is left unclear. Is she saying here that all children do not have the same potential, due to natural cirumstances?

Edited by adrock3215
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