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Eisenberg L. The Science of Epidemiology: Empirical Data Gathering, Public Health Action,
or Both? In Cooper, B. Eastwood, R.(Eds.): Primary Health Care and Psychiatric
Epidemiology. London, Tavistock/Routledge, 1992:3-13
The truth is, and this is backed up by studies, people who legitimately suffer from ADHD have portions of their brain that aren't as active as they should be in comparison to other areas.
What gets publicized are short-term results and studies on brain differences among children. Indeed, there are a number of incontrovertible facts that seem at first glance to support medication. It is because of this partial foundation in reality that the problem with the current approach to treating children has been so difficult to see.
Back in the 1960s I, like most psychologists, believed that children with difficulty concentrating were suffering from a brain problem of genetic or otherwise inborn origin. Just as Type I diabetics need insulin to correct problems with their inborn biochemistry, these children were believed to require attention-deficit drugs to correct theirs. It turns out, however, that there is little to no evidence to support this theory.
In 1973, I reviewed the literature on drug treatment of children for The New England Journal of Medicine. Dozens of well-controlled studies showed that these drugs immediately improved children’s performance on repetitive tasks requiring concentration and diligence. I had conducted one of these studies myself. Teachers and parents also reported improved behavior in almost every short-term study. This spurred an increase in drug treatment and led many to conclude that the “brain deficit” hypothesis had been confirmed.
But questions continued to be raised, especially concerning the drugs’ mechanism of action and the durability of effects. Ritalin and Adderall, a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, are stimulants. So why do they appear to calm children down? Some experts argued that because the brains of children with attention problems were different, the drugs had a mysterious paradoxical effect on them.
However, there really was no paradox. Versions of these drugs had been given to World War II radar operators to help them stay awake and focus on boring, repetitive tasks. And when we reviewed the literature on attention-deficit drugs again in 1990 we found that all children, whether they had attention problems or not, responded to stimulant drugs the same way. Moreover, while the drugs helped children settle down in class, they actually increased activity in the playground. Stimulants generally have the same effects for all children and adults. They enhance the ability to concentrate, especially on tasks that are not inherently interesting or when one is fatigued or bored, but they don’t improve broader learning abilities.
Funny how for every mental "disease" a human can get...there is a pill for.
Tobacco can be used to treat ADHD and ADD. So can coffee and a hotdog twice a week. There are many ways to address this issue, none of them requiring medications. You can speed up a part of the brain or lower the output of the other, both will work. Food, beverages, and condiments can accomplish that. A slight restructuring of the diet can help. Bloodtests will not work right, it is sometimes a deficiency at the cellular level or an imbalance of electrolytes or brain chemicals. This can be accomplished with diet.