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ADHD: Breaking the curse of ignorance

#ADHDAWARENESSMONTH - For years now, I've written about the propaganda against ADHD medication, and especially about the misfortunes that the myths and stigmas brings with it. Ranging from Scientology's campaign against everything ADHD, to Alan Schwarz' sensational book from 2016, the public opinion have been influenced by 'alternative facts' and dubious agendas ... but finally the curse seems to have been broken - the medical treatment of people with ADHD is finally on the rise again ...

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For years now, I’ve written about the propaganda against ADHD medication, and especially about the misfortunes that the myths and stigmas brings with it. Ranging from Scientology’s campaign against everything ADHD, to Alan Schwarz’ sensational book from 2016, the public opinion have been influenced by ‘alternative facts’ and dubious agendas … but finally the curse seems to have been broken – the medical treatment of people with ADHD is finally on the rise again …

Big Pharma’s Manufactured Epidemic: The Misdiagnosis of ADHD

Headlines like this one above from Scientific American (2016) have sparked a flood of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ throughout the Internet generally, and the Facebook Groups in particular, causing a quagmire where parents of newly diagnosed children with ADHD, have been warned against all kinds of medicinal treatment of their child’s genetically inherited, neurobiologically based mental disorder.

Take this quote from one of the Crusaders …

Investigative journalist Alan Schwarz sounds the alarm …

When I looked deeper, it was obvious that our nationwide system of ADHD treatment was completely scattershot—basically, many doctors were merely prescribing with little thought into whether a kid really had ADHD or not, and then the pills would be bought and sold among students who had no idea what they were messing with.

Alan Schwarz (The New York Times, 2016)

Why? Why does Mr. Schwarz and so many others claim to have the right to dictate how parents choose to treat their children’s medical conditions? How come nobody is raging against the big pharma that produces Insulin for Diabetes and the doctors that diagnose and treat these children with medicine for their genetically inherited, biologically based, somatic disorder, Diabetes? What’s the difference here, people? NOTHING!

ADHD is often called the Diabetes of the Brain, and that for good reason, since the similarities between this endocrine disorder and the this mental disorder, are actually not that far apart, as people might think.

Diabetes is a dysfunction in a somatic system that regulates blood sugar levels, causing a plethora of symptoms, somatic and psychological, just as ADHD is also a dysfunction of somatic systems (sensory, circadian rhythms, stress-levels, neuro-hormonal, and neuro-chemical), which in both cases leads to the need for outside assistance to reallign the Allostatic and Homeostatic balance, within the patient’s body.

Just like Insulin helps regulate the blood sugar levels (and thereby preventing long-term damage to the body), so does ADHD medication help regulate the somatic levels of neuro-chemicals that influence verbal and nonverbal behaviors, as well as higher functioning of mental capabilities (Executive Functions etc.).

And just like we have known for many decades now, untreated Diabetes can lead to serious long-term problems (sight, movement etc.), we today know, that medicinal untreated ADHD does not only increase the risk of “unnatural premature death” by 50% compared to the medicated population with ADHD and the public in general (Dalsgaard et al., 2015), we also learned in late 2018, that Estimated Life Expectancy (ELE) for persons with untreated ADHD reduced the persons life expectancy by 12.7 years – on average! (Barkley et al., 2018).

We also know, that a child with untreated ADHD is around 30-40% delayed in their maturation (Shaw et al., 2008) of their Inhibitory Control (which is what causes the hyperactive/impulsive, and inattentive symptoms of ADHD), compared to children of the same age, without ADHD.

Likewise we have scientific evidence supporting the fact, that if the child is treated with ADHD medication, this developmental delay is abridged for the time which the medication is in effect within that child’s brain, causing an immediate and noticeable reduction in the ADHD symptoms, while simultaneously help them perform better in social and learning contexts.

The hype around ADHD medication being pure narcotics is, and have always been, based on ignorance, prejudice, and pure propaganda, not on scientific facts. What people do not seem to understand is, that ADHD medication is NOT pure narcotics, but medication that helps the person’s body produce the “insulin” that a brain with ADHD do not produce it self – a neurotransmitter called DOPAMINE.

Since Dopamine is also the cause of the euphorias seen when people use substances like cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamines and the like, people jump to concluding, that ADHD medication then also must be drugs that causes a “high” …

But this is not so, in the brain with ADHD!

Imagine that a brain with ADHD is created with only the ability to create, lets say 25%, of the normative levels of Dopamine in the human brain.

When an ADHD brain gets ADHD medication, it increase the production of Dopamine and/or regulate the re-uptake of the Dopamine already within the brain.

This process may increase the overall Dopamine levels in an ADHD brain to 80 or 90% of the normative levels seen in brains without ADHD.

Since euphoria only is manifested when the levels of Dopamine SURPASSES a level of 100% of Dopamine in the brain – ADHD medication DO NOT invoke ANY euphoria in an ADHD brain, since we never exceed 100% levels of Dopamine!

So to summarise – it a hoax! – ADHD medication DO NOT work like narcotics in an ADHD brain!

But of course it can create euphoria when taken by persons that were NOT BORN WITH THIS DEFICIENCY since the increased production of Dopamine that the ADHD medications creates, of course will send a NON-ADHD brain above the magical 100% level, hence creating a euphoria.

Did you know, that if you inject insulin into a person without Diabetes, then you run the risk of killing that person due to low blod sugar levels? Should we then argue, that just because insulin CAN be misused – then NOBODY should be able to use it – for any reason, medical or not, since it CAN be misused? Insanity, right?

THEN WHY IS IT ‘OBVIOUS’ TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT ADHD MEDICATION IS THE CULPRIT HERE?

It’s time to rewrite the public insight into ADHD, and I for one refuse to debate whether or not ADHD medication is warranted or not, in treatment of ADHD at ANY age – it is not a choice – it is a prerequisite for creating quality of life and extend life expectancy for all persons with ADHD!

STOP SPREADING THAT GARBAGE and educate yourself – help save the children – our children!

Girand, H. L., Litkowiec, S., & Sohn, M. (2020, July 1). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and psychotropic polypharmacy prescribing trends. Pediatrics, Vol. 146. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-2832



OCTOBER is ADHD Awareness Month, and this article is my contribution to support the awareness!

/Peter ‘ADDspeaker’ Vang, 48 (diagnosed at age 40, suffering from all the long-term consequences of untreated ADHD, diabetes for one, and forced on early retirement due to somatic burnout) – and I’ve spent 25 years as a high paid IT consultant in the workforce before my retirement – so I’ve delivered my part to society – just like you!

Peter Vang, age 7 … (ADHtism is our internal description of ADHD with comorbid ASD)

References

Barkley, R. A., & Fischer, M. (2018). Hyperactive Child Syndrome and Estimated Life Expectancy at Young Adult Follow-Up: The Role of ADHD Persistence and Other Potential Predictors. Journal of Attention Disorders, 108705471881616. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054718816164

Dalsgaard, S., Ostergaard, S. D., Leckman, J. F., Mortensen, P. B., & Pedersen, M. G. (2015). Mortality in children, adolescents, and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A nationwide cohort study. The Lancet385(9983), 2190–2196. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61684-6

Girand, H. L., Litkowiec, S., & Sohn, M. (2020, July 1). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and psychotropic polypharmacy prescribing trends. Pediatrics, Vol. 146. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-2832

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