Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.

The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students, who use the medications to get high or to stay up all night.

Caught in between are millions of children and adults who rely on the pills to help them stay focused and calm. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability.

So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!



  1. Lynn says:

    Are the ADHD sufferers really unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their description, or do they just get distracted mid-search?

  2. tcc3 says:

    I think this speaks more to the problems with “The War on Drugs” than whether people do or don’t need a medication.

  3. sargasso_c says:

    They stun fresh water trout with electricity.

  4. orchidcup says:

    “Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability.”

    Drug Addiction Help Line — 1 (877) 451 1256

  5. KD says:

    “So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!”

    The only people these drugs help are parents that prefer their children to be lifeless zombies.

    • Tom says:

      ADHD (and ADD) are both real problems.

      My son suffers from ADD.

      I denied it for years. He borders on genius but couldn’t remember to do two things in a row. Getting him to remember to do his homework was impossible (we would have to keep up with his assignments and constantly remind him to do it). He couldn’t keep focused in school at all. His mind was constantly “thinking up new ideas for things” and he would get “in the zone” and couldn’t force his mind back on the task at hand. I was pretty hard on him for “daydreaming.” How else do you describe it? I couldn’t think of any other way.

      Finally, when it looked like he was going to fail out of school (his grades were 100′s when he remembered to do his assignments and when he took the tests but 0′s because he would forget to turn his homework in when I know he did it because I watched him do it.), I decided to talk to a doctor about it. I refused to think it wasn’t daydreaming but I needed an answer and I didn’t have one. The doctor said he had ADD. I still refused to believe it but got him on the medication anyway. Anything to help him get through the day.

      We saw a change in one week. His grades when from D’s and F’s to A’s. In one week! He scored high enough on his ACT/PSAT/SAT to get accepted to an Ivy League school when he was in 9th grade. Before the medication, he wouldn’t have made it through the test.

      I would like to blame it on him being just a kid and kids do what kids do, but my wife and I worked for years just to get him to do the basic stuff and he couldn’t.

      There is definitely a chemical imbalance in kids today. I don’t know what causes it but I wonder if isn’t all the chemicals and crap in food these days.

      Until you’ve experienced a kid with the problem first hand, it is very easy to blame it on immaturity.

      Is my son medicated? Yes. Is he a zombie through the day? No, he was a zombie before the medication. He is sociable and now has a large group of friends. I can carry on a conversation with him and not keep repeating a question because he forgot what I asked him two seconds earlier. I have a son now; something I didn’t have four years ago.

      • msbpodcast says:

        Sadly, that’s how it is.

        I used to relax watching (and listening, lets be honest here,) Lena Horne’s recording of “C’est si bon” spinning around on the old Gerrard turntable. (I was still a Francophone at the time. That changed.)

        In my first year of high-school I got 30% on my algebra exam and it kept going down from there…

        Then I found an different teacher and went from class idiot to an honors student in mathematics.*

        The teacher’s method may be more to blame than your kid, and drugs, or the absence of them, may have nothing to do with it.

        *) Benoit Mandelbrot and fractal mathematics held no terrors fot me.

        • LibertyLover says:

          8 years of bad teachers? That would be some kind of record. One or two I could see. Not 32 in a row.

          • So what says:

            Dude, its always the teachers fault. Just ask the kid, or nowadays their parents.

      • MattG says:

        Tom,

        Most clear thinking people understand that there are some kids that have legitimate issues that can be helped by pharmaceuticals. The issue being railed against here is not denying help to the 100′s or 1,000′s of kids that might be helped by these drugs, but the 1,000,000′s that seem to be persribed them, often for only being slightly away from the norm, or to make the lives of some adults easier.

        Also the companies that lobby for the widening of the diagnosis criteria for these conditions so that more patients can fall under a prescriptive regime unessesarily.

        One of the things I love about DU and NA is the general recognition that the world is not black and white, but shades of grey. Thanks for sharing your story Tom, and reminding us to be careful of not throwing out the baby of kids that do need help, with the bathwater of dodgy over perscription.

        Matt

      • Craig says:

        What medication is he on?

    • EK says:

      I’m sorry to disturb your prejudices and your sanctimonious, self-righteous arrogance, but actually, there are millions of us who rely on these drugs to function — including many many adults.

      Yes, many kids are overmedicated. But the ignorances of so many of these comments — “millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids” — is appalling.

      • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

        I think comments like that come from people who haven’t worked with groups of kids. As a long-time Scout leader, you can ID the boys on the normal activity curve…then there are those who are off the charts, or whose attention span is simply non-existent. A 12-year old should be able to handle two consecutive instructions, or a simple if-then. The ADD/ADHD kids can’t. The medications put these boys square into the normal range.

        Sad thing is that there are lots of these boys, and they’re not normal. I hope some day the cause of this is identified so we can treat that, instead.

  6. Dr Spearmint Fur says:

    I tried reading the article three different times and got side tracked.

  7. orchidcup says:

    “Doctors wrote 51.5 million prescriptions for A.D.H.D. drugs in 2010, with a total sales value of $7.42 billion — an increase of 83 percent from the $4.05 billion sold in 2006, according to IMS Health, a drug information company.”

    “Since the drugs have been shown to improve concentration, and not just in people with A.D.H.D., they have become popular among students who are seeking a study aid. And since they can impart a euphoria that users have likened to a cocaine high, the pills are sometimes ground up by people who snort them for a thrill.”

    Drug Addiction Help Line — 1 (877) 451 1256

    • Nobody says:

      I called the helpline – they were useless, they couldn’t tell me where to get any,

    • Jeannius says:

      One very likely reason for the significant increase is the fairly recent realization that people don’t ‘outgrow’ ADD/ADHD just because they reach adulthood, they just manage to ‘hide it’ better. Some do manage to compensate on their own with stragegies, some self medicate with caffeine etc, others have been misdiagnosed with bipolar or depression. (depression is a very common co-disorder for undiagnosed adults with ADD/ADHD from years of just not quite managing to keep up with everything etc…) Many parents are just now being diagnosed after one or more of their kids have been diagnosed because the same patterns in the child, which are recognized as ADD/ADHD are things the parent has lived with and fought with their whole lives.

      There are still insurance companies that refuse to cover the meds for adults, saying, you can’t be ADD/ADHD, you’re over 18.

  8. Eric says:

    The problem isn’t just with drugs for ADHD, but with drugs in general. Hospitals are suffering with major supply shortages for all sorts of drugs. The problem lies with the drug patents. Companies are just not manufacturing enough generic drugs because they are not as profitable as their name brand counterparts. NPR did a story about this last year.

    • Cap'nKangaroo says:

      Uh-oh.

      You mentioned the 3 letter nonprofit news organization. If this story gets over 25 comments the trolls will descend on it just to rail against the 3 letter nonprofit news organization and its unholy jihad to promote the leftist, progressive views of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. By comment 50, alFIe will be quoting scripture trying to steer the thread to the “birth certificate” or “thuggish union bosses”.

  9. deowll says:

    I have no doubt that many people use drugs for people with ADHD wrongly.

    I also have worked with kids that do have the condition and their lives are bleep and so are the lives of those around them until they get the help they need. They can not stay focused. They constantly get off task. They have accidents sometimes very serious accidents because their minds wondered. They may take completely insane risks because they acted before they thought.

    The mother of one such child stated that if her first child had been afflicted with this condition rather than the third she would have stopped with one child. They need their meds even though most of them really don’t like taking their meds.

    Do some parents and others use ADHD meds for diet pills etc? Yes.

    I’m a bit to aware of the issues involved to come out with some fatuous remarks so I shall leave that to others less well informed about the topic.

    • msbpodcast says:

      They may take completely insane risks because they acted before they thought.

      Maybe its natural selection at work…

  10. orchidcup says:

    5 Surprising causes of ADHD:

    1. Food Dyes: The FDA is reviewing evidence that suggests artificial food dyes may exacerbate attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids that have the condition. The only role of these food dyes is to make foods look more appealing, so it should be pretty easy to remove them if the FDA finds adequate evidence that they are indeed harmful to children.

    2. Western Diet: A recent study suggests that diet may play a role, as it indicated that teenagers with ADHD were more likely to consume a so-called “Western-style” diet. The Western pattern was characterized by a high intake of total fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and folate. Common parts of their diets included take-out, sweets, red and processed meats, refined grains, full-fat dairy and soda The researchers found that the adolescents who consumed the Western diet were 2.2 times more likely to have ADHD than their counterparts who consumed a healthy diet.

    3. Smoking and Lead Exposure: A first-of-its-kind national study has found that pre-birth exposure to cigarette smoke and high levels of lead in children can be linked to higher rates of ADHD in youth. Children who were exposed to both prenatal smoke and registered high lead levels had a greater than eightfold increase in the likelihood of having ADHD.

    4. Pesticides: New research suggests there may be a link between children with measurable breakdown products of organophosphates (the most commonly used type of pesticide) in their system and ADHD.

    5. Genetics: New research coming out of Cardiff University in Wales is suggesting that chromosomal defects are responsible for ADHD. The study also suggests that those subjects presenting with a mental disability like autism or schizophrenia were twice as likely to also have ADHD.

    Most of the 4.4 percent of the adults in the United States who suffer from ADHD use medication to help them get by, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adding cognitive behavior therapy may reap more benefits.

    http://fyiliving.com/mental-health/depression/help-for-adhd-beyond-drugs/

    • pedro says:

      Well, then the FDA is kinda off. I might not dismiss the artificial coloring thing because I don’t have the data.

      But overstimulating kids at too early an age & having a TV for nanny are the the prime causes for ADHD.

      Young kids from divorced couples, specially if they use the kids to get at the other half is another thing high on the list

    • pedro says:

      What the FDA has right is that you can control ADHD kids thru diet

      • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

        Bullshit about controlling ADD/ADHD through diet. Millions of parents have tried it with little or no success. Every once in a while a food allergy is found in the course of the diet, but that’s rare.

        A relative is coincidentally allergic to one of the red food dyes, and removing it from his diet was like flipping a light switch. Unfortunately, food allergies account for a tiny fraction of those with ADD/ADHD symptoms.

        • pedro says:

          Is that your boyscout leader experience talking? It shows.

          I guess then you cannot help boost athletic performance thru diet, huh!

          You know there’s a medical specialty called nutritionist, right? Idiot!

          • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

            Pedro, I suggest you look at subjective discussions of the subject rather than the anti-meds propaganda. As a parent of a borderline ADD kid, I have a lot of firsthand experience and knowledge about the subject.

            It’s not diet, in the vast majority of situations. Deal with it.

      • Jeannius says:

        while diet can have an effect, it is not the cause of ADD/ADHD, it’s genetic differences in brain wiring, brain chemicals and other things. Many people with ADD/ADHD have reactive hypoglycemia…. this means, you eat something sweet or starchy, your blood sugar goes up, stays up a little longer than normal, and then crashes like a meteor rather than a slow tapering off back to normal…this affects dopamine production, which increases inattentiveness (NOT hyperactivity!).

        Also, there are certain things these people tend to have deficiencies in, including Magnesium and sometimes tyrosine (the precursor to norepinephren and dopamine). In addition, taking the meds to stimulate production of these neurotransmitters can actually deplete certain nutrients, including tyrosine…If you don’t have the materials to make the neurotransmitters, it doesn’t matter if you take the meds or not..they won’t help. I think this is something people taking such medications need to be better informed of from the start. Either way, you are still ADD/ADHD, but taking the right supplements and eating right will make your medication work better and control your ADD/ADHD better.

        • pedro says:

          When I say dietary, I’m not talking about the excess sugar that keeps kids hyper for a while (although those sometime get misdiagnosed & treated for ADHD).

          But you can control some of the patients with dietary supplements. And yes, brain chemistry & metabolism play a role in ADHD

          • Jeanne says:

            actually, at least one or two recent studies showed that sugar doesn’t make these kids more hyper….the parents belief that they have had sugar and will be more hyper causes them to perceive the kids as more hyper. In fact, what sugar does effect is the ability to focus(the attention deficit part), possibly due to the tendency for blood sugar to crash rapidly after eating sweets/carbs, rather than tapering off. They did a study testing so called “normal” kids and adhd kinds and found that, while the normal reaction to intake of carbs/sugar was to produce lots of dopamine, the ADHD kids tended to have the sugar crashes and produced only about half as much as normal kids. Dopamine is essential in helping one focus.

  11. Animby says:

    Tom and Deowll – I don’t think many of us would say NO kid needs to be taking Ritalin or Adderal. But, it often seems docs are prescribing it as a chemical babysitter for parents without patience.

    I know for a fact that many family docs will prescribe these meds on the history given by the parents. Personally, I’ve never written such a script for a kid. I insisted they should be treated by a specialist. Being very active is not ADHD. I keep thinking, what if they’d had Ritalin to treat Mozart? True, he might have lived longer but at what cost?

    BTW – I would bet a dollar and a half that at least half the prescriptions written end up helping law and medical students rather than children.

    Someone above stated there was less profit motive in making generics. Well, duh! That’s the whole idea. Big Pharma invests years and big bucks to develop a drug. Then they get to reap the profits for however long their patents hold out. When the stuff hits public domain, there’s less profit for generic manufacturers but less investment to repay. BTW, it’s not unknown for a Big Pharma company to produce twice as much as they can sell and release the rest as a generic…

  12. Mextli: ABO says:

    “Caught in between are millions of children and adults ”

    That describes the problem exactly. Many drugs literality mean the difference between living a productive life or not for some. I think most people trust their physician to prescribe what is needed, if not why go to him?

    But obviously many of these drugs are abused. A small group of doctors was running about three pain clinics near my town and raking in millions. They face the criminal penalties now but as a side effect they have made it harder for someone that has a real need for pain medication to get a prescription.

    I wish the DEA would get the hell out of it. If someone is going to abuse the drugs Darwin will take care of it.

  13. Badda bing says:

    Number one way to get people to take a drug. Tell them it will fix their problem-whatever it may be-with no effort on their part other then taking the pill. Don’t believe me? How many posters are taking medication for high blood pressure or diabetes? Remember when the doctor said you can treat it by losing weight and watching your diet? I do, yet even knowing, that if I lost a bit more weight and exercised a bit more. I could stop taking the HBP medications, I am still taking the pill, why? because its just more convenient.

    Then again I am old enough to remember when the treatment for hyperactivity was a swat and the ass and being told to sit down. Funny, it worked too.

  14. Animby says:

    Badda bing said: “the treatment for hyperactivity was a swat and the ass and being told to sit down. Funny, it worked too.”

    I meant to mention, I’ve had the privilege of treating patients in many different parts of the world. I almost never see a child with a parent’s complaint of ADHD or ADD symptoms. I have practiced in Texas and New York. Saw at least one a week, then.

    Makes me wonder if a lot of these symptoms could be managed by cutting sugar from the diets of the kids. Parents will feed their kids a couple of bottles of fruit juice a day thinking they are doing good. So much fruit juice is sweetened these days and even “pure” juices are naturally filled with sugar. Baby food is often sweetened. I’ve seen people give their babies sugar water to drink or dip pacifiers in sugar just to get the kid to shut up.

    I’m not anti-sugar but I worry about it’s prevalence in our society.

    • orchidcup says:

      I watch parents give their small children a couple of candy bars for a snack. Then the kid wants a Red Bull energy drink on top of that.

      I cannot imagine any responsible parent giving their children a Red Bull energy drink, but I see it frequently.

      Then the parents wonder why their children are bouncing off the walls.

      Dumbasses.

    • pedro says:

      The US is not the only part of the world where you’ll see parents taking their kids to a doctor because “they don’t pay attention and they’re restless”

      In Latin America they go directly to an specialist most of the times. There’s almost no such thing as a family doctor.

      Pediatricians do not like that much to make that diagnosis, so most of the “sick kids” tend to be teenagers

      • Jeanne says:

        part of it is the structure of the system here…there are standards and benchmarks here and when kids fall outside of those norms, it stands out more. There may also be a lot more pressure to get an academic education/degree, higher education here than in some parts of Latin america. Do they pay much attention to kids that are above average in Latin America? When I lived in Norway, they pretty much dealt with the lower levels and the average kids…if you were above avg. you were expected to fend for yourself(that also meant no extra stimulation to help these kids reach their potential). Interestingly enough, while ADD/ADHD can hit any intelligence level, some estimates say that of those that are above avg(gifted/genius), close to half of them are ADD/ADHD

  15. #30--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    AD..what? My Dad took me to see a doc because I slept too much. doc told him it was normal for some kids to sleep more than others. I don’t think I ever out grew it–still very lethargic. I think its more a daylight disorder thing where want to be up all night and sleep all day. Never had any problems adjusting my sleep pattern when crossing time zones or in pulling night shifts. What I always found hard was regular hours starting anytime in the morning. That continues to right now. I like 3 hour naps with 15 hours inbetween. I’m all f’ed up all the time.

    To that end, my next door neighbor had two kids who were “always active.” Climbing here and there, always falling, getting hurt, broken bones. Local ER called the kiddie patrol down on her for being unfit. She had lots of problems with the Man for a few months until it got resolved that her kids were just high risk junkies. She refused to give them drugs. I have always wondered what became of them all. Free Rock climbers I assume.

    Would a high density society Darwinianly select for lethargic low energy types? I’d think so except breeding goes to the more active leaving us to raise them? Hey!!! I’ve been cuckholded before the race even started!

    Cripes.

  16. Go Fish says:

    If that is not enough I know any numbers of adults who had ADD before anyone knew what it was

    • Jeanne says:

      and so many of them only get ‘diagnosed’ now when one of their kids is diagnosed, and they realize they have the same symptoms etc…..

  17. Animby says:

    #30–bobbo : “…still very lethargic. I think its more a daylight disorder thing…”

    Too bad the Feebees didn’t want you. We cold use more lethargy there.

    I’m with you. When left to my own devices, I tend to go to bed around dawn. Is there anything more disgusting than seeing another sunrise? Served me well in my residency, though. Work all night? Sure. No problem.

  18. Jeanne says:

    Have had trouble getting meds for my daughter and I the last few months. We use a public clinic as that is all we can afford, and they order the meds, but it doesn’t always come in, so my doctor has had to change forms from 10 mil tablets 2x a day to getting 20 mill, breaking them and doing 1/2 a day to switching me from IR to XR depending on what is available.

    One of the biggest problems isn’t necessarily the ADD/ADHD symptoms coming back, the BIGGEST immediate issue is going off adderall cold turkey is dangerous to your mental health because it does affect brain chemicals and thus, works much like an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin (works on the same neurotransmitters). Cutting it off without tapering it off can actually lead to sudden, debilitating depression and lethargy because of sudden drops in norepinephren and dopamine. With sudden, strong depression, also comes an increased risk of suicide and other behaviors. This is true for any medication that affects brain chemicals…so if the opponents of meds such as adderall want to cut it because of that, they’d also have to pull every antidepressant off the market as well.

    • orchidcup says:

      ” This is true for any medication that affects brain chemicals…so if the opponents of meds such as adderall want to cut it because of that, they’d also have to pull every antidepressant off the market as well.”

      Not a bad idea. Let’s stop experimenting with brain chemicals and allow nature to take its course.

      • Jeannius says:

        I guess you would propose that we let schizophrenics or psychotic people go around without medication as well? Let them do like the guy in Norway? be so paranoid with a God complex that they bomb buildings or shoot a bunch of kids?

        • Badda bing says:

          We call them politicians and preachers, its more politically correct.

  19. Lynn says:

    Well, I opened the conversation and here I come in late to the party. As a social worker, I am in the building with my clients for 8 hours at a time. We get kids who are diagnosed AT SCHOOL as conduct disorder, attention deficit. I see them ALL DAY here and without exception, I have not seen any behavior out of the ordinary. Most of our parents only give the kids the meds for school. I’m not denying that ADHD and ADD exist or that many benefit from medication. I’m saying that a lot of diagnosis and insistence on meds is coming from the schools in order to cram 30 kids in a room without the teacher going homicidal. In my day, of course, the teacher used corporal punishment and humiliation to keep control of SIXTY kids, but times have changed so they use meds instead. This is just my personal observation, not backed up by any research. I’ve worked with about 230 residential families with kids over the last 9 years.

    • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

      Corporal punishment does not work with ADD/ADHD kids. Their brain works different. Typically their brain goes goes:

      Ready
      Fire
      Aim

      No amount of whipping or threatening a kid will change the way their brain works. Here’s a key: Adderal is a stimulant. What do you think that drug would do to you, and why does it do the opposite in certain kids and adults?

      I think you need to do some homework on ADD/ADHD, especially as a person in your position.

      • pedro says:

        The ignorant telling others to learn. That’s rich.

      • Lynn says:

        I wasn’t advocating corporal punishment just because I mentioned it used to exist. RTF post, friend.

        • pedro says:

          You’re asking way too much from that specimen.

        • Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

          In my day, of course, the teacher used corporal punishment and humiliation to keep control of SIXTY kids, but times have changed so they use meds instead.

          What does that mean, exactly?

          And Pedro the Ass…what’s your reason for being here? You’ve added nothing to the discussion, again.

    • pedro says:

      And you nailed it.

      You should give some lesson to the scout hobbit

  20. EstCstCrkPt says:

    All I can say is that Mephedrone now a felony to possess kept me on task and I had my house clean.

    Kept some weight off too. STuff was like Cocaine and Ecstacy.

    Damn Drug laws.

  21. bob says:

    “So, millions of kids who are over medicated will go back to acting like kids are supposed to as kids? The horror!”

    ADHD is a real condition resulting from abnormalities in the executive function sections of the brain. This can be confirmed via an MRI in people who actually have it. The fact that it is often over diagnosed in kids who are just bored, eating too much sugar, or just very excitable is irrelevant, as is substance abuse by college idiots.

    For some people with severe ADHD, they are simply unable to function normally without appropriate medication, no more than someone who is clinically depressed, schitzophrenic or bipolar can. Should we tell the severely depressed to just stop whining and get their shit together without all this ‘overmedication’?

  22. Yaknow says:

    ADD ADHD etc. The drug is in short supply can’t keep up with demand, and parents are complaining. Shouldn’t that say enough?

    Before these drugs where so abundantly given to millions of children what where children like? Did we have a huge social problem of disruptive unfocused kids?

    What happened to play, to recess, and P.E. class?

    I know parents who determined their boy was ADD/ADHD and was confirmed by a pediatrician. The boy isn’t ADD/ADHD by medical definition. Just constantly abused physically and mentally by an older resentful brother, parents who have a difficultly in the “how to raise kids” dept.; poor diet and poor understanding of kids and how to be good parents. They themselves take “happy pills” among other such prescription pills for several psychological and physical afflictions. A pill fixes everything mentally. What the kid needs isn’t a pill, but that is the easy solution. Thus, the crux of the issue.

    I suffer from severe Dyslexia and other learning disorders. I don’t take a pill for those things. I could have (1980′s medical research on antihistamines shown to improve and enhance thinking, memory, focus concentration, and other failing cognitive processes – doesn’t remedy letter reversal or other non-cognitive afflictions, at least for me) but I didn’t. I changed my diet to include foods high in specific vitamins, which the research also covered. As a result, my cognitive functions, like thinking concentration, memory and focus, etc. improved greatly. It is also worthy to note I went through academic learning programs. All of which decreased the effects of Dyslexia so much so I was afforded a college scholarship and a GPA of 3.0 where previous I had no chance in hell of graduating from high school with a GPA 1.7. All without a drug. One draw back in college, my BMI went from 17.5 to 29. That number reduced through exercise, and not with a pill.

    It is not that ADD/ADHD isn’t factual, my issue is working through it and no being dependent on a drug regiment, as one person said, I paraphrase, it is a matter of “convenience” to take a pill.

    • Jeanne says:

      While many people do manage it without drugs, some people need the meds, at least temporarily, to be able to control themselves and their lives enough to learn the strategies, or follow through with the life changes, such as diet, exercise etc..which all require setting up a routine…something that can be extremely difficult if not impossible for a more severe case of ADD/ADHD. Once the routines and strategies are in place, then one can try to ween themselves off the meds, relying more and more on the strategies etc than on the meds.

  23. Jeanne says:

    One thing I see from so many of those that post here is a misunderstanding of what ADD/ADHD is. I won’t deny there are misdiagnosis, as there are with many other health/mental issues as well..(how many women out there have been told it’s all in your head, when you had a real medical issue?). It is harder to diagnose something that is not testable by blood tests, but must be determined subjectively by some doctor, teacher, psychologist, or more likely, a combination of the three, and many of those are not specialists, and may also have misconceptions of what is and is not ADD/ADHD.

    The thing that most people don’t seem to grasp is the H part of ADHD is not necessarily being disruptive or ‘acting like normal, active kids’…or ‘hyperactive’, as it was called back in the 70′s etc..It is impulse control. It may not even be that obvious. It could take the form of impulse buying to the point where it messes up your family economy(compulsive gambling can be a big sign). It could lead to bad decisions that cause risky behavior that, if you had that normal impulse control(aka self control), you might never have done those things. It doesn’t mean you are always moving, can’t sit still etc..it means you lack that impulse control that you should have.

    Also, with these types of behavior, which cause you to pump up adrenalin are also known as a self medicating behavior. What does Adderall and Ritalin do, but increase levels of dopamine and norepinephren by giving a ‘stimulant’. Adrenalin is your body’s own natural stimulant, which makes the ADD/ADHD person feel more focused and alert, so they seek out things that raise the adrenalin levels unconsciously to make them feel right. Not always the most healthy path in life as taken to extreme, it can be very self destructive, as well as bad for those around you too!

    A lot of adults tend to be considered more ADD than ADHD. Again, this doesn’t mean what most people think it does. It doesn’t mean you cannot focus…it’s a lack of control of your focus. It can mean you are easily distracted from what you need to do, for example, work, or it can mean that you hyperfocus on something to the exclusion of other things you SHOULD focus on. You get stuck on solving a problem etc when you really should be getting ready to go to work or fix dinner etc. (or as I am at the moment, composing this post when I need to be editing 50 images by tomorrow evening!)

    The point is that ADD/ADHD gets in the way of people’s being productive and successful in their own lives. There are varying degrees of it. With some people, it’s minor, and fixing certain dietary and lifestyle things can be done without taking meds or professional coaching. Some respond well to coaching without meds, and some people, no matter how hard they try, cannot control their own focus enough to get a handle on their lives..especially if it’s been out of control for years. The medications turn on that part of the brain that is like a traffic controller for behavior….that part that says ‘you should be doing your work, not playing solitaire, checking your email, chatting with someone online” or the part the tells you: You don’t have time to figure out how to fix your stereo right now, it will wait, there are more important things to do. And for some people, they honestly need the medication to focus well enough to unknot the chaos in their lives and learn those strategies, techniques, change their diet, get into healthy routines, and hopefully, once they do that, they can get off the meds and rely on the new routines etc. For other people, they may need the meds all their lives in addition to coaching, strategies etc. It all depends on the severity of the ADD/ADHD.

    • pedro says:

      Excellent post.

      The only thing to note is that adults that didn’t suffer attention deficits disorder when they where young but started to have problems concentrating around late 30′s & 40′s suffer from AADD, which has different origins.

      • Jeanne says:

        AADD just means adult ADD, meaning you are an adult with ADD, rather than a kid, not that it necessarily started later. If you had type 2 diabetes for 10 years before diagnosis you didn’t just become diabetic, you’ve been so for 10 years. Same with Adult ADD

        There may be things, including hormonal changes(for ex. PCOS), depression, early forms of dementia, drug/alcohol abuse, brain injury and other aging issues which can cause similar issues. But most ‘new’ AADD people are people who have had it all their lives, but were never diagnosed, mostly because when they were younger, poor results in school or ‘misbehavior” were seen more as signs of being “dumb”/remedial, lazy or ‘smart but bored’ or just ornery, worthless or trouble.

        These are the people who now are finding their own kids getting diagnosed as ADD/ADHD and, in the process, having the A-HA! experience of realizing this is what they have been struggling with for years (or they may have found ways to partially compensate, but not everyone does), hence the large increase in medication sales as more and more here-to undiagnosed adults are getting treatment.

        • pedro says:

          Yes, Anumby, the A is for Adult.

          And no, AADD is for people that have developed the disorder well into Adulthood.

          If you had it from childhood you are already diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (the latter like the first with the additional of the H for Hyperactivity, so they’re not the same either). You might have gotten to adulthood undiagnosed, but it is not the norm.

          Gee, I didn’t know there were kids with Alzheimers (and other brain disorders like Binswanger’s, etc) or alcoholism.

          The worst thing is that you make the distinction yourself and yet want to keep your error.

        • pedro says:

          Ooops, Animby. Sorry. I was distracted by the icons.

          Deeply sorry.

        • pedro says:

          And Jeanne, my reply would have been less sarcastic, so sorry to you 2.

          • Jeanne says:

            actually, it is quite common for people who are now in their 40′s and older to have never been diagnosed before, because it wasn’t really understood or looked at beyond the kids who were disruptive back prior to the 80′s. In many cases it’s because one of their kids is diagnosed, that they see the similarities with their own history/personality etc and begin to research it or talk to their doctors about it. It is genetic and runs in families.

            I was diagnosed at age 43 because my oldest daughter, who is a lot like me, was diagnosed a couple of years before and my doctor finally made the connection(which I’d already figured out, more or less), and two guys I know, one who has a daughter diagnosed ADHD, has since been diagnosed because he recognized the similarity with his own life, and another friend in his 50s was just diagnosed. All three of us can see it in our whole lives, however, not just something new.

            As to the other ‘factors’ I was talking about, I was referring to adults with memory impairment, confusion etc….that those people can appear ADD (more than ADHD), but the symptoms could be caused by something totally different.

  24. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Pedro, look at the collection of your posts here and ask yourself what you have contributed to the blog and the discussion. You, sir(?) have a problem. You know nothing about this subject, and you’ve spent at least five responses saying exactly nothing other than insulting a contributor.

    I suggest the Moderator have a look at your recent posting history and your need to attack a large percentage of my posts.

    • pedro says:

      Yes, ask the moderator. I’m quite sure I was the one that said your post was “Bullshit”.

      Sorry Oleo of Drywater, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge on the subject.

      It is you that brings that Boyscout anecdotal experience and wants to extrapolate it to actual knowledge.

      This is why Hobbits should not go out of the shire.

      • pedro says:

        And if the moderator wants to know how much is my knowledge on the subject, I’m more than happy to point it out to him privately.

  25. #77--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Olo==calling for the moderator? How droll, but I’m kinda missing the humor. And since I have a HSR (High Stimulus Requirement) I rarely read more than half the first sentence of any post I may have missed Pedro going off the rails but he is maintaining his recent high water mark of on point posting. Maybe he’s wrong, or right, or just unique==but he’s on point and certainly contributing.

    FREEEEEEEEEDOM===someone else posting what you don’t like. I’d hate to see “the moderator” clamp down on Pedro for being not to your liking. I imagine in quick step I would be moderated for making fun of Pedro’s Donkey and in such events, the pleasure measure for this blog would take another tumble.

    Why not take pleasure where you may and ignore the rest?

  26. Michael says:

    Holy crap! Now every kid who isn’t interested in his daily routine at grade school has ADD. Yeah, right. Funny how a few years ago, a kid who wouldn’t do his schoolwork or pay attention, or was disruptive got to spend another year in the same grade. Wow! How strange. Most of the kids who repeated, were magically paying attention & not being such a pest in class. Was this medication? No, it was common sence that even bullheaded little farts were smart enough to realize that doing an entire school year over again pretty much sucked!
    I witnessed a woman bring her little boy to church. The kid was a monster. He was disrespectful, loud & unruley. “Oh, he has ADD.” the mother told everyone who got the extreme pleasure of watching this kid act like a total ass.
    I believe that in many cases, ADD stands for “Hi, I don’t have the brains to properly raise my kid.”
    A prescription will fix him now that we have a medical term for typical kid who doesn’t want to listen.