Alex Yap-Dubois

Human Resource Intern, EMC Corp.

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Is ADD as prevalent as we think it is?

I know so many kids who claim to be victims of Attention Deficit Disorder that it could be seen as an epidemic.

I consider myself a true millennial, hampered with a serious case of ‘I want it now’ syndrome and guilty of countless cases of impulsive multitasking. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have a behavioral disorder. Rather, I think of myself as a product of my fast-moving environment. Technology is only getting faster and faster, and with that, the way we think will continue to adapt.

What do you think?

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    Jun 11 2012: According to the center for ADD the stats are 3 - 5%. It appears to me that many of the kids are taking "heavy duty" meds for a variety of things including ADD. I am against kids being put on big time meds. I honestly think that a kids should be seen by a minimum of three doctors prior to administering powerful drugs or defining him as someone with a "disorder". It is my opinion that this has become a "abused" area and needs to be reeled in. In law enforcement we all know what doctors will issue you a pass if you want some down time. There are some doctors who are know to hand out meds almost upon request. They come very close to being drug pushers.

    To be honest I think that the amount of kids who are truly afflicted is much lower.

    Quick joke: School wrote Mr Jones and said his kid had ADD. Mr Jones took the boy to the wood shed. No more ADD. That is parental involvement at its finest.

    All the best. Bob
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    Jun 14 2012: It is my opinion that the ADD "diagnosis" is applied to children who are bored to tears in our public school system. Teaching is more by rote than creative thinking. Bored children find ways to entertain their active minds and bodies, and thus, their attention is focused on something other than the boring classroom. This isn't entirely the fault of teachers, as they are made to conform to curriculae in most school systems, and woe to those who try to be innovative. Those diagnosed as ADD outside of the classroom have parents unprepared for highly active children.

    Children are not little robots programmed to behave appropriately all the time. Some are crazy, wild, imaginative; others are quiet, shy, and brilliant. Most are a mixture all their own. ADD is a label which means CONFORM and I'm not comfortable with that.
  • Jun 12 2012:

    This is an awesome lecture that tackles many of the topics you bring up. I implore anybody who sees this post to watch this video. It is done by psychiatrist and professor, Allen Frances, who served on the committee that pieced together DSM-5 .
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      Jun 12 2012: very enlightening Brian, Mr. Frances is the man
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    Jun 12 2012: I think our modern world reinforces predispositions to things like ADD and autism. When I was a child if my parents had dinner guests the children would watch TV while the adults talked or played cards in the same room. We only had one TV. You learn how to be an adult by watching adults interact. Today the same kids would be playing computergames in a bedroom somewhere. Minor abnormalities in brain function are allowed to take over as no example of normal is presant. I think this lack of adult interaction plus the convenient excuse "oh he has ADD" to excuse the behavior of your child are significant contributors to the increase in diagnosis. Any one over forty can think back to their school years and name all the kids that would be diagnosed as ADD or ASD today. Back then you were just a bit odd, not suffering from a disorder.
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    Jun 11 2012: Here's what I think.

    1. More kids with ADD means more money for schools. The more kids diagnosed with ADD increases funding in schools. Any kid that hasn't matured to the point of being able to sit for hours in thier seat is automatically screened and diagnosed.

    2. I think many many peoples have evolved ADD as a survival technique. Only some nations evolved with sitting still in children was a desired response. Many peoples survival counted on a persons ability to take in a lot of information and make a decision and act. So knowing there was a Bear on a mountain, the deer had recently been through here, the eagle signals fish are running, and small creatures have recently left the immediate area were all important information to be processed instantaneously to survive. Play was important in developing the skills needed for survival. Sitting still in children to do math tables is an abomination against nature. So technology is faster. Nothing new. At least you can't get killed if you make a bad call with technology.

    3. As schools struggle to teach children, classes get larger and larger and more difficult for teachers to manage. Some think that sedated kids are the answer to their poor management ability. I have met quite a few. Been at teacher conferences etc. and some have even ADMITTED it to me.

    This stupidity has got to stop. We are going to have a nation of adults on amphetamines soon.
  • Jul 9 2012: Hi Alex,
    I do understand that you realize that this cognitive disorder is real. I get frustrated because I think ADHD, especially in the adult, is highly misunderstood by the general public. I think it is flippantly diagnosed based on patient self-report and not on diagnostic results which I think makes people question its' validity. I do take Vyvanse and find it to be really helpful with my focus and concentration. It's hard to explain what my true problems are with standardized tests but the short of it is that I'm not a linear thinker. Most tests, like the MCAT, are interested in the process by which the test taker arrives at an answer. I can always explain why I chose the answer I chose, but unfortunately, it's usually not the answer they are looking for. I just process information differently than the standard thinking person. Most of the time, I think my ADHD is an advantage because I can change tasks or thoughts at the drop of the hat. I can come up with creative solutions to problems that most people can't. I aways get from point A to point B, but I take a detour to get there. My neuropsychologist said it best when she said the likelihood of me passing the MCAT was low, but if I were to make it to med school, I'd end up being Dr. House! She explained that it is not uncommon for people with ADHD to have a very high IQ, it's just hard for our brains to function in a linear world. Not sure how great of an explanation that was, but I hope it helps.
  • Jul 8 2012: I feel compelled to respond to this conversation. I see points that all of you are making, and I do agree that ADHD is the diagnosis du jour. However, it is most important to consider the other side of this story. The current diagnosis of ADHD per the DSM-IV is the result of many years of consistent symptomatolgy that were finally given a name. The naming certainly resonated with many as the rates of diagnosis seem to have skyrocketed. We must not forget however, that there are tools and assessments, that although may not be perfect, are available to help support or confirm diagnosis of ADHD. Most patients don't have the resources to have these tests done, and the majority of the physicians prescribing meds aren't versed in the diagnostics.

    I have lived with ADHD/LD my entire life, but wasnt diagnosed until mid 30's (dx via brain scan/ neurocog assessment). Although I've been somewhat successful (BA,BS,MBA,MS), my true dream of becoming a doctor was never realized. In school people thought I was lazy or not applying myself. I tried so many times to explain that I was doing my best, but no one heard me. I decided at the age of 37 to give med school one last try. I began working in a research lab to gain experience and was blowing my team away with my medical knowledge and diagnostic abilities. Physician after physician would tell me that this was my life's calling and I was going to make an amazing Neurologist. Each medical school admissions committee I spoke to said the same thing, do well on your MCATs and you should be in pretty good shape. FF to $15,000 in prep courses, and 2 failed MCATs, I'm writing this to you not as a medical school applicant, but as an adult with ADHAD/LD who wanted nothing more than to be a doctor, worked her butt off for it, but because the standardized testing systems only accommodate standard thinkers, can only dream of what could have been. I'm not saying every diagnosis is legit, but to those w/a legit DX, it's REAL.
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      Jul 9 2012: Hi Erica,

      I have to begin by applauding your perseverance and hard work. I hope you understand that I do in fact know ADHD is a real thing and have sympathy for those who struggle with it everyday. I'm curious about your difficulties with test taking and if you've been prescribed medication (adderall, Vyvance, etc) for those reasons, akin to most adolescents these days?

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