Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Imagine me whistling the tune of "If I only had a brain" ...
If you don't want to know, don't read it. ;-)
No encompassing flame of media attention is without its fuel, much less gallons of it, and without protecting ourselves from falsehoods and staying educated on all perspectives, some of us might doom ourselves to believing all that we are told even after new information arrives. So, props to you who are the naysayers that shout when the emperor walks out of the palace stark naked, fooled by two greedy men - But on to addressing the belief that ADHD does not exist, maybe it's only the questionable diagnoses that we should investigate, rather than the overgeneralizations we've been reading about that falsely claim without so much as batting an eyelash that there is no physical evidence of ADHD.
The first problem is of research; a lot of new and valid information isn't propogating to all important parties(those in power) as fast as we would expect; The cause must be investigated, because the new level of connectivity provided by technological advances should be assisting this endeavor tenfold, but in this case and many others (at least in reading the news about how political parties stand on pertinent issues), there is a lot of evidence that state otherwise. (warning, because I'm giving my opinion, I'm not concerned about stating my references. However, if asked, I will do so. It's just a bitch to go backtracking, otherwise this would be a rather nice and completely evidenced essay ... *sigh*)
The second problem: there is substantial evidence for which we can verify ADHD in some individuals, but we have not yet found substantial physical evidence for ALL those afflicted, and that's where the real issue appears. We can say there isn't any complete reliable evidence because reliable evidence only exists for a few of us, rather than all. The most common measurable effect used in the past was that many individuals diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have statistically much higher amounts of alpha and theta waves detected from their brain - meaning they're in a state of continually falling asleep. The other, more recently-discovered physical trait in these few is a slightly smaller brain size(yeah, that really sucks, doesn't it? We'll see less people flock to ADHD as a cultural identifier now, hopefully! I don't like the idea of statistically smaller brain size as a group identifier anymore than the next sane individual!) But it's also just a statistic; many individuals were studied who also have larger brains, but the overall trend is a significant difference in size - I don't even know if this is true for me! I can only go by my test results, my handwriting, my scores at games, my memory, and the health of my relationships with friends and family) which may often be underdeveloped or even show less activity than the average in some sections and more activity in others. Heck; for many it would have to deal with a simple imbalance of neurotransmitters rather than underdevelopment! It's all well and good to wonder about those without substantial proof of some form, but don't throw the baby with the bathwater by disregarding these individuals who benefit to the point of AT LEAST meeting normal development standards, much less those of us who can exceed them by use of ritalin and adderall (and still fail to meet them otherwise) - which many related studies DO report enhancement of brain development, especially in those of us with our 'smaller brains'. Furthermore, this result is backed up by other studies have shown that these medicines also (frighteningly enough) produce tiny and BENIGN growths (as opposed to large and/or malignant ones) all throughout the body over time: you'd have to expect such things to happen for anything that directly causes GROWTH in an organ! Why? Regardless of whether or not it's 'enhanced development', when you take a medicine that affects so much of the body as for instance the entire freakin' nervous system, if you see 'growth' in one area, you should expect to find growth somewhere else, too!! And since these tiny benign growths have been shown to be benign, and won't ever become visible to the naked eye, I prefer being a productive member of society, thank you. This isn't about me wanting to drug myself up! I hate taking the medication! I really f*cking hate it! But in comparison, the stupid things I've done without it is like being half-drunk most of the time, without even the luxury of drinking first! A little difference goes a long way for those of us who need it! But this is heresay for every individual who reads it until they(you) look it up for themselves(yourself)! So go look it up! Read the studies! Don't look for the articles! Look at the science and research publications directly! Don't worry that you may not have read them before. Just read them now! You'll get used to the jargon quickly, and get used to what is advertised bullshit (aka many non-academic-based research or heretofor unknown academic campuses) and what isn't. (And that's always a good skill to practice.) In other words, don't believe the hype of someone who hasn't actually read/done significant research (i.e. - more than the news, and more than the anecdotal evidence of one person vs thousands, as in some large research studies.) ADHD is now the unspoken banner for labeling hypochondriacs and psychosomatics rather than for what it was originally intended, which was bad enough; a catch-all for combinations of real learning disabilities that have real definitions aside from the term ADHD! When will people get their vocabulary right and talk about the real issues rather than finding scapegoats and incomplete information? We move ever closer, now that people see there's a lot more than two extremes to choose from ... But I will say this: After trying long-acting Adderall and Concerta (long-acting Ritalin), neither long-acting form does a darn bit of good for me.

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