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ADD/ADHD = lazy?


eternalsummer
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I am not leery of all labels; ADHD is a particular one. Dyslexia is not a matter of personality or behavior, and no one is drugging 4 year old dyslexics to make them learn to read. People *do* drug 4 year old boys to make them sit still and behave.

I think you might be a little behind the times in this perception. The most common dx now is not ADHD, it is ASD and the prescribed treatment is generally not medication. We have discussed ADHD with various medical professionals and all seem to want to avoid prescriptions for young kids. The days of little boys being dx at school and starting a lot of medication are, at least where I am, seem to be waning.

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I am not leery of all labels; ADHD is a particular one.  Dyslexia is not a matter of personality or behavior, and no one is drugging 4 year old dyslexics to make them learn to read.  People *do* drug 4 year old boys to make them sit still and behave.

I don't see 4 year olds being drugged but maybe there are some.  And I do agree that ADHD gets slapped on kids in school far more often than is necessary, mostly because more and more schools are expecting more and more seat work/boring clerical work from younger and younger ages, which is definitely developmentally inappropriate and harmful.  I do believe that there is a lot of misdiagnosis.  The norm now though is to wait on meds until a child is older.  Not 4 year olds.

 

However, you seem to be under the misguided impression that ADHD meds are going to significantly alter your child's personality and turn them into someone else.  That isn't true.  While in the early days of ADHD meds there were a lot of kids walking around mindlessly numb or whatever, the medications have come a long way.  They don't alter personality when used correctly, they simply help with functionality.

 

I have a friend with three kids.  The older two are NT.  The youngest has ADHD.  Her impulse control was almost nil.  She struggled in school.  She struggled to maintain friendships.  In the middle of a ballet recital, during another child's solo, she suddenly went dancing across the stage and accidentally tripped the other child.  She is a sweet, bright, lively kiddo.  When her parents finally sought answers and put her on medication it did take time to find the right medication and dosage.  The meds did not change her personality.  They helped her functionality.  Grades went up, she finally started developing solid friendships, she joined the swim team and has won awards, and is a much happier child.  Except for feeling more confident from improved functionality and that in turn turning her into a happier child her personality was not altered into some weird other child that is unrecognizable compared to who she was.  

 

Does that make sense?

Edited by Code Lyoko
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I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the OP's opinions and attitudes about ADHD.  There's so much good information here I wish it were't tainted with those comments, but they're probably why people are responding with such good information.  

 

Oh yeah, I've heard that song before.

 

But that is also one of the gifts, right?  (Didn't someone upthread mention good things about ADHD?)    Deep interest and ability to focus on the topic can be a very useful thing in life.

I don't know what you mean by the bolded.  It sounds patronizing and I resent it.

As to the other, yes.  It is one of the gifts, except people who don't get it think we get to pick and choose which things make our brain happy.  We don't.

 

Yes.  I think it is sort of like when you very first learn to drive a car.  There is no muscle memory, or procedural memory, etc.  You have to think about every.single.thing. you are doing from moment to moment.  Where is the brake pedal?  How hard and how quickly do you need to press the accelerator?  I need to turn left, what do I do?  Oh, o.k. where is the turn signal indicator?  Where are the other cars?  How do I press on the accelerator?  Hard or soft?  Fast or slow?  How far do I turn the steering wheel?  A car cut me off.  What do I do?  Where are my mirrors?  What do I check first and where is it located?  Etc.  When you are having to do all of these things and think about every single one of these things every single moment and nothing is automatic it can be confusing, distracting, and exhausting.  That is why it takes time to get good at driving.  

 

Now take that same scenario but because of the way your brain works NONE of that every truly becomes automatic.  You never really develop muscle memory or procedural memory.  How exhausting and frustrating and even possibly dangerous would it be every time you had to drive your car?

 

I know that this was just an example, and I think it's a good one.  But just using it to say that all people with ADHD don't suffer the exact same ways.  I don't struggle with some things that others have shared and my struggles may not be the same severity as other's.  The example of driving - I LOVE to drive.  I can get tired of it if I do it too much - but I really enjoy it.  I'm always the one to drive at night because I find it fun and I can stay focused (well, at least I was until I got old-person eyes and the glare now bothers me).

 

I've been told my youngest has ADHD.  He doesn't seem to fit the mold completely but he definitely has characteristics of it that I'm seeing more clearly now than I did before diagnosis.  He is most definitely NOT lazy!   He works very hard and is very busy all the time.  He always has something he's working on.  But...he's very, for lack of a better term "scatter brained."  Clothes never make the hamper, drawers are never shut, dishes never taken to the kitchen, doors left open behind him.  It is like the details and follow through are lacking but the motivation is very much there.  I'll tell him "pack your bag for the YMCA" and we get to the YMCA and he's got nothing he needs.  Totally opposite his big brother with normal executive function skills and the ability to focus on one task to completion.  But we've found work arounds.  He now has a tag on his Y bag with all the things he needs.  When we are ready to leave I tell him to check his list and pack his bag.  Before we leave the driveway he checks his list again and tells me what he has and doesn't have plus the reason he doesn't have it (like he doesn't always need to take his soccer ball).  It has helped us both tremendously.  He's prepared and I'm not left frustrated that he can't remember simple things like his bathing suit when we're heading to the pool!  But lazy is definitely not the root cause of his forgetfulness.

Excellent solution.  We've done similar things here but our learning curve is higher because I also have to remember to ask about the list.

 

Well, the toilet paper thing is that I use the last of the roll, say to myself "get more TP," flush, wash hands, leave bathroom, walk down the hall to the closet with the TP, and by the time I get there I've forgotten that I meant to get more TP; I am now thinking about dinner or laundry or email, and I walk right by the closet.

 

I did work out a system to manage this: I started keeping many extra rolls of TP in the actual bathroom, right by the toilet (but high up, as I have a toddler who loves to flush a whole roll).  That works for as long as it takes to use up those rolls, but then it takes me forever to remember to put another set of rolls in the bathroom.

 

Another way to think of it (instead of laziness) is inconsiderateness or lack of caring about the people I'm inconveniencing; I feel like I care about them but I do inconvenience them.  Or you could call it selfishness (that actually may be quite accurate - ADD as an inability to maintain focus outside the self

Please stop insinuating that people with ADHD are selfish.  Please.

 

I get this, I do.  I know that my brain functions differently in some ways, whether I could be labelled ADD/ADHD or not.  

 

I guess what I am saying is - to what degree is that something within my control or without my control?  

 

And maybe this can be discussed in the context of other mental differences; for instance, re: depression - for some people, depression is a *result* of a chemical or hormonal imbalance, right?  I have had that kind of depression (postpartum).  But there is also situational depression, where your brain chemistry may be different, but it is not that you are depressed because the chemistry is different, but the chemistry is different because you are depressed.

So, how would this work for ADHD?  I don't want to do stuff so my brain isn't stimulated enough to do it?  Why would I want to inconvenience myself and others in this way?  Wouldn't that be motivation enough to change my behaviors, thus changing my brain chemistry?  Are we just assholes?

 

 

As for ADD drugs themselves - you could be a lot more efficient as a normal-brained person if you were a normal=brained person who took speed.  You'd get more done and lots of things would be easier.  Unfortunately it also is addictive (to a degree) and has some negative side effects, so it makes more sense to adapt as well as you can without it.

No. I've typed and deleted many things here but the bottom line is you need to do more research.  My 9 yr-old is not getting high, his brain is functioning a bit more like a "normal" brain. 

 

I agree that at some point drugs are useful and desirable (I addressed most of that in the post just before this one, we were cross-posting).  

 

 

As far as a label goes, I think it is stigmatizing.  I agree that being labelled lazy is also stigmatizing, but the former (labelling a child ADHD) is an acceptance of the legitimacy of the system that wants to assign that label.

 

What I mean is, in this society, behavior which for a significant percentage of *especially* young boys is normal has been stigmatized and labelled a mental illness, in need of drugging/correction.  Boys who are young for their grade are more likely to be labelled and drugged than ones who are old for their grade.  Boys are *much* more likely to be labelled than girls, because this society prefers, right now, inherently female behavior (passivity, largely) in its children, esp. in group situations.  

 

If I say, well, son, you have ADHD (and especially if I give him drugs to change his behavior and personality), I am saying that society is correct in this preference.

 

But I don't think society is correct.

 

 

Does that make sense?  I haven't really thought about it concretely before.

My son's personality isn't changing when he takes his meds.  He is able to actually have more control over his choices and behaviors but he doesn't become a stepford child.

 

Well again, the fact that the people I love are inconvenienced and I have inconvenienced them when I could *not* inconvenience them means either that:

 

A. I can't *not* inconvenience them (that is to say, ADHD is real and in control)

B.  I don't care enough about others to not inconvenience them 

C. I am too lazy to change my behavior (this is slightly different than B., which is more like selfishness)

 

 

All of those things look the same from the outside; the behavior is the same.  I am just not sure whether it matters what the cause of the behavior is, or if there is a possibility of A.

It matters.  If B or C are true, I'm an asshole.  That's an important distinction IMO.

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I am unclear on how a drug meant to change behavior doesn't change personality, when a fair amount of what we consider personality is a person's behavior.

 

If you have two people who are very similar, except that one is impulsive and hyper, and the other is sedate and considerate, do you not say that their personalities are different in those ways?

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I am not personally affected by ADHD, but when I read what other posters here shared, this is definitely real and affects their everyday function - completely irrespective of what "society" says. Seriously, if a parent has trouble getting her brain to remember for five minutes that she needs to get her child from school, that is not "society's preference", it is an impairment in functioning that deviates so far from the neurotypical as to cause problems for this person herself.

 

I agree that school expectations are often not developmentally appropriate and that some children are misdiagnosed when they simply display age typical behavior, but this does not mean that some kids do not have ADHD. I work with young adults. There is nothing developmentally inappropriate in the executive functioning that is expected from a 20 y/o college student, yet some students simply cannot function at that level because of the way their brains work.

This.

 

It's not a matter of "we want little boys to sit perfectly still in their chairs at school." It's a matter of not being capable of doing the smallest of tasks to get through life.

 

What sort of personality change do you think will happen (OP), if you or your son take ADHD meds? My husband's personality is the same, except he can pull himself back when he's tempted to cut in line at buffets (because waiting behind a slowpoke is painful to him) or hog a conversation. Actually, even with the meds, I haven't been able to make a complete point to him without an interruption in 25 years. But at least with the meds, he lets me get to my 3rd sentence before interrupting. Without them, I don't get past a few words.

 

Well, OP, this is all new to you. I do hope you take to heart the things people say. We made the choice to medicate my son because 1. My husband had relief for the first time ever and was able to do normal, everyday tasks for the first time ever without it being like climbing a mountain, and 2. My son was starting to think he was an idiot and stupid and bad all the time. All. The. Time. It was heartbreaking.

 

And honestly, he couldn't do anything right. It was like a nightmare. The simplest of requests couldn't be carried out. He couldn't make it through a single math problem without stopping and starting 5 or 6 times and needed to be brought back to the problem by someone else all 5 or 6 times. "Son, keep working on the problem..." It's not about giving in to some sort of societal expecation. It's about him being able to do simple tasks.

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I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the OP's opinions and attitudes about ADHD.  There's so much good information here I wish it were't tainted with those comments, but they're probably why people are responding with such good information.  

 

Please stop insinuating that people with ADHD are selfish.  Please.

 

So, how would this work for ADHD?  I don't want to do stuff so my brain isn't stimulated enough to do it?  Why would I want to inconvenience myself and others in this way?  Wouldn't that be motivation enough to change my behaviors, thus changing my brain chemistry?  Are we just assholes?

 

It matters.  If B or C are true, I'm an asshole.  That's an important distinction IMO.

 

 

Again, I am saying, quite explicitly, that I am trying to work out whether behavior and brain function that can be labelled as ADHD is indeed some sort of unwilling neurological condition or if it is just us being assholes.

 

I am willing to be disagreed with :)  But I am also willing to disagree with you.  I see some of my behavior as lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, etc.  On the other hand, it is behavior that could potentially be labeled as being caused by ADHD instead.  Does that mean it is not selfish?  I am not sure.

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This is just anecdotal, but DD says that the meds "made her feel like herself".  You can easily ask how would she know what "herself" felt like if she never felt it before being on meds.  I don't know the answer to to that, I only know that is how she describes it.

 

In her evaluation DD was in the 12th percentile for short term memory and whatever the holding-a-thought-while-processing category was.  That is an identifiable deficit in brain functioning compared to average.  I don't think taking medication that helps correct a deficit is the same as taking medicine to enhance something beyond normal human bounds.  And from what I understand, the medicine doesn't even have the same effect.  Much like methadone for a chronic pain sufferer does not produce the same effects as it does on a healthy person.

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This.

 

It's not a matter of "we want little boys to sit perfectly still in their chairs at school." It's a matter of not being capable of doing the smallest of tasks to get through life.

 

What sort of personality change do you think will happen (OP), if you or your son take ADHD meds? My husband's personality is the same, except he can pull himself back when he's tempted to cut in line at buffets (because waiting behind a slowpoke is painful to him) or hog a conversation. Actually, even with the meds, I haven't been able to make a complete point to him without an interruption in 25 years. But at least with the meds, he lets me get to my 3rd sentence before interrupting. Without them, I don't get past a few words.

 

Well, OP, this is all new to you. I do hope you take to heart the things people say. We made the choice to medicate my son because 1. My husband had relief for the first time ever and was able to do normal, everyday tasks for the first time ever without it being like climbing a mountain, and 2. My son was starting to think he was an idiot and stupid and bad all the time. All. The. Time. It was heartbreaking.

 

And honestly, he couldn't do anything right. It was like a nightmare. The simplest of requests couldn't be carried out. He couldn't make it through a single math problem without stopping and starting 5 or 6 times and needed to be brought back to the problem by someone else all 5 or 6 times. "Son, keep working on the problem..." It's not about giving in to some sort of societal expecation. It's about him being able to do simple tasks.

 

 

I only know a few kids personally who have taken Ritalin or Adderall (I don't know what other drugs there are, or what is normal).  They were different kids on the drugs.  One was weepy, stopped eating, and couldn't sleep.  So he was given sleeping pills (melatonin, I think?), and they were considering uppers (he was 5 years old, btw).  On the drugs he was much more polite, quiet, stopped running out into the street, stopped  getting in trouble at school for impulsive behavior.  Another was a girl my age; she said the drugs made her feel muted and like she was wading through fog; on the other hand she could get her work done on time.  She quit taking them as soon as she was no longer required to by her parents.  Unfortunately she had not learned any adaptive behaviors (because she'd been medicated her whole childhood) and the first couple of years of college were rough as she figured out how to navigate.  She's functional now, though.

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I hear strengths mentioned repeatedly: what exactly do you consider the strengths of having ADHD?

I don't buy into "creativity" because there are plenty of very creative people without ADHD, so I do not consider them linked.

That something is commonly reported by people with the same dx doesn't mean it is the exclusive domain of people with that dx.

 

My husband sees a doctor who has ADHD. She's been a part of a lot of research and provided him with information about people with ADHD tending to also have the ability to hyper focus, and a high level of spontaneity and risk taking.

 

Like with ASD, sometimes the strengths and weaknesses are just two sides of the same coin. Hyper focus, spontaneity and risk taking can all have positive and negative manifestations.

 

Because my husband will run down so many rabbit trails so easily he did things like not show up for the test (negative manifestation). Because he will start on a rabbit trail and stay there until he gets what's he is looking for, he will also do things like solve the long unsolved computer glitch at work which continues to save his employer money each and every day and has reduced errors substantially. Because he gets distracted he would forget to stop at the store for milk and eggs. Yet also because he gets distracted and focused at the same time, he will do things like come home with a new piece of cello music and a book about the composer for me. Because he heard the piece on the radio, looked it up, saw a music store on the way home, stopped and then figured he'd see about finding out more about the composer. Ups and downs. That's life but I will say there can be a lot of beauty in life when someone doesn't get bogged down in the daily grind and will use hearing about an obscure bit of minutiae as an entry point for finding fun and exciting things. He hears a story about bagel makers and we wake up to hot fresh bagels. There are compensations.

Edited by LucyStoner
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This is just anecdotal, but DD says that the meds "made her feel like herself".  You can easily ask how would she know what "herself" felt like if she never felt it before being on meds.  I don't know the answer to to that, I only know that is how she describes it.

 

In her evaluation DD was in the 12th percentile for short term memory and whatever the holding-a-thought-while-processing category was.  That is an identifiable deficit in brain functioning compared to average.  I don't think taking medication that helps correct a deficit is the same as taking medicine to enhance something beyond normal human bounds.  And from what I understand, the medicine doesn't even have the same effect.  Much like methadone for a chronic pain sufferer does not produce the same effects as it does on a healthy person.

 

 

Huh, that is interesting.  I know when I had gestational diabetes and my brain function was sub-normal (I assume I wasn't getting enough sugars to the brain, or something) I really felt not like myself, and right after having the baby I felt like myself again.

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I am unclear on how a drug meant to change behavior doesn't change personality, when a fair amount of what we consider personality is a person's behavior.

 

If you have two people who are very similar, except that one is impulsive and hyper, and the other is sedate and considerate, do you not say that their personalities are different in those ways?

 

Something you might think about is that the drug is not specifically meant to change behavior.  It is meant to correct a problem in the brain.  The behavior, which is a result of that problem, will be affected of course, but the ultimate purpose is correction of the problem.

 

Think of it like diabetes.  Insulin is not meant to "prevent the person from passing out" but meant to correct the body's faulty processing.  It still does prevent the person from passing out. 

 

Also, regarding changing personality, is the personality really real if it is being caused by an imbalance or problem in the brain?  Isn't the personality more "real" after the imbalance is corrected?  That's sometimes what I think DD means when she said she feels more "herself".

.

Just throwing some thoughts out there..

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I hear strengths mentioned repeatedly: what exactly do you consider the strengths of having ADHD?

I don't buy into "creativity" because there are plenty of very creative people without ADHD, so I do not consider them linked.

Every child is different.  We are talking about complex neurological processes.  In some instances, the strengths may be rapid creative thoughts, perhaps artistically.  For others they may be very good at global thinking, invention, rapid assessment of threats, etc.  Depends on the child.  Unfortunately, the underlying strengths may never be tapped into or recognized because the deficits frequently mask the strengths.

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Yes, I see pain conditions as similar - I guess maybe "things people used to handle but not longer handle so now they take drugs and/or sell the drugs because it's not like cancer where you would never sell your drugs because cancer is a real problem"?  

I realize this sounds really derogatory and I don't mean it that way in a specific sense, but obviously in a general sense we as a society have  a huge problem wherein we proscribe and maybe take more drugs than we need  (thus the black market)

 

But why should we condemn people to misery?  My mother was brought to despair by pain - she had not asked for more pain relief because she just assumed that extreme pain in her joints was part of ageing.  She was 'handling' it.  Now she is no longer a suicide risk because she has decent pain relief.  Is that not better?  I'm sure that some people abuse the availability of decent pain control, but the benefits are enormous.

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This.

 

It's not a matter of "we want little boys to sit perfectly still in their chairs at school." It's a matter of not being capable of doing the smallest of tasks to get through life.

 

What sort of personality change do you think will happen (OP), if you or your son take ADHD meds? My husband's personality is the same, except he can pull himself back when he's tempted to cut in line at buffets (because waiting behind a slowpoke is painful to him) or hog a conversation. Actually, even with the meds, I haven't been able to make a complete point to him without an interruption in 25 years. But at least with the meds, he lets me get to my 3rd sentence before interrupting. Without them, I don't get past a few words.

 

Well, OP, this is all new to you. I do hope you take to heart the things people say. We made the choice to medicate my son because 1. My husband had relief for the first time ever and was able to do normal, everyday tasks for the first time ever without it being like climbing a mountain, and 2. My son was starting to think he was an idiot and stupid and bad all the time. All. The. Time. It was heartbreaking.

 

And honestly, he couldn't do anything right. It was like a nightmare. The simplest of requests couldn't be carried out. He couldn't make it through a single math problem without stopping and starting 5 or 6 times and needed to be brought back to the problem by someone else all 5 or 6 times. "Son, keep working on the problem..." It's not about giving in to some sort of societal expecation. It's about him being able to do simple tasks.

 

 

Yes, I think if we were just talking about kids or adults who have significant trouble functioning in very basic ways, that would be a different conversation.

 

But neither I nor my son are at that level of non-function; I'm really talking more about things like forgetting paperwork, not being able to sit still in a modern classroom with current social expectations (which are more tilted toward girls), etc.

 

It's like I said earlier wrt glasses; if I were blind I'd accept permanent contacts should they be offered.  As I am, though, I prefer to be able to take off my glasses and see the world with my real eyes.

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But why should we condemn people to misery?  My mother was brought to despair by pain - she had not asked for more pain relief because she just assumed that extreme pain in her joints was part of ageing.  She was 'handling' it.  Now she is no longer a suicide risk because she has decent pain relief.  Is that not better?  I'm sure that some people abuse the availability of decent pain control, but the benefits are enormous.

 

 

The benefits are enormous. 

 

I am pretty sure I read that overdose on prescription drugs (painkillers) just overtook gun deaths as cause of death in the US.

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I know that this was just an example, and I think it's a good one.  But just using it to say that all people with ADHD don't suffer the exact same ways.  I don't struggle with some things that others have shared and my struggles may not be the same severity as other's.  The example of driving - I LOVE to drive.  I can get tired of it if I do it too much - but I really enjoy it.  I'm always the one to drive at night because I find it fun and I can stay focused (well, at least I was until I got old-person eyes and the glare now bothers me).

 

I actually was not meaning this example literally.   I apologize for the confusion.  I was meaning it to show how learning something new (like driving) can be a very challenging proposition but eventually becomes a perfectly normal daily activity because practice helps.  However, for a person with ADHD some daily activities remain challenging even with lots of practice (such as Maize getting dressed with her shirt inside out and backwards).  I didn't mean to imply that driving is literally hard for all people with ADHD.  Sorry.

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Well at any rate, there's this: I am not going to start taking Ritalin in any case, but certainly the behavioral adaptations or training or whatever that people do would be useful to me whether I am just selfish/lazy or have ADD.  The effects would be the same, right?  (As in, I would be less obnoxious to live with)

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I only know a few kids personally who have taken Ritalin or Adderall (I don't know what other drugs there are, or what is normal).  They were different kids on the drugs.  One was weepy, stopped eating, and couldn't sleep.  So he was given sleeping pills (melatonin, I think?), and they were considering uppers (he was 5 years old, btw).  On the drugs he was much more polite, quiet, stopped running out into the street, stopped  getting in trouble at school for impulsive behavior.  Another was a girl my age; she said the drugs made her feel muted and like she was wading through fog; on the other hand she could get her work done on time.  She quit taking them as soon as she was no longer required to by her parents.  Unfortunately she had not learned any adaptive behaviors (because she'd been medicated her whole childhood) and the first couple of years of college were rough as she figured out how to navigate.  She's functional now, though.

 

 

Those do sound like bad experiences.  DD was in 6th grade when we started.  The doctor specifically advised me as mom to watch out for any unintended side affects or unusual behavior changes, and to report them.  Also, meds were certainly not a magic cure all for DD.  Working on coping strategies is a constant for us.  The meds actually just enable some of the strategies to be implemented successfully.  

 

I don't deny that meds don't work for everyone and are maybe not necessary for every one.  I just think that self-perception and confidence is equally an important enough reason to consider them as academic success.  I didn't medicate DD so she could get straight As in school or sit in her chair or finish a writing project or a math problem.  But part of it is that she wanted very badly to be ABLE to do those things and she was being held back by her ADD.

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When I tried medication, it did not make me feel like someone other than myself or like my personality changed. What it did was make it possible for me to sustain focus on tasks I wanted to do. An inability to do the things you want to do and try to do and have the basic abilities to do because of inability to sustain focus is not a personality or character trait--it is a functional deficit. The medication helped to address some of that deficit.

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I am unclear on how a drug meant to change behavior doesn't change personality, when a fair amount of what we consider personality is a person's behavior.

 

If you have two people who are very similar, except that one is impulsive and hyper, and the other is sedate and considerate, do you not say that their personalities are different in those ways?

 

The drug doesn't automatically change the behavior.  It isn't as if there's a pill for putting dirty clothes in the hamper.  It allows his brain to have more control over his choices so he's more likely to put his clothes in the hamper.

 

When I describe my kid's personality I don't say "oh, he doesn't clean up after himself very well" or "he doesn't focus on his schoolwork" and I would hope nobody would describe my personality as "someone who doesn't change the toilet paper roll".  

 

My kid is funny, creative, kind, thoughtful, loves to read, is always up for an adventure.  THAT's his personality and it doesn't change when he takes his meds.

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I actually was not meaning this example literally.   I apologize for the confusion.  I was meaning it to show how learning something new (like driving) can be a very challenging proposition but eventually becomes a perfectly normal daily activity because practice helps.  However, for a person with ADHD some daily activities remain challenging even with lots of practice (such as Maize getting dressed with her shirt inside out and backwards).  I didn't mean to imply that driving is literally hard for all people with ADHD.  Sorry.

 

No, no, your post was fine.  I got what you meant and tried to indicate that.  It was just a jumping-off point for my thoughts.

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My older sister had excellent executive function abilities. If she wanted to practice violin for four hours, she could practice violin for four hours. If she wanted to sit down and do her homework, she could sit down and do her homework. 

 

Me? I wanted to practice violin. And...I couldn't. I could not make myself focus on the thing I intended and wanted to focus on. I wanted to do my homework. I couldn't. I was always in trouble for failures that everyone assumed were just due to laziness and not caring on my part. 

 

Oh how wrong they were. How wrong I was for buying into it.

Edited by maize
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Again, I am saying, quite explicitly, that I am trying to work out whether behavior and brain function that can be labelled as ADHD is indeed some sort of unwilling neurological condition or if it is just us being assholes.

 

I am willing to be disagreed with :)  But I am also willing to disagree with you.  I see some of my behavior as lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, etc.  On the other hand, it is behavior that could potentially be labeled as being caused by ADHD instead.  Does that mean it is not selfish?  I am not sure.

 

You are free to disagree with me.  I disagree with your whole premise that people with ADHD could just be assholes instead.  Maybe it's true for you and you're just a selfish asshole, I couldn't say.

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Yes, I think if we were just talking about kids or adults who have significant trouble functioning in very basic ways, that would be a different conversation.

 

But neither I nor my son are at that level of non-function; I'm really talking more about things like forgetting paperwork, not being able to sit still in a modern classroom with current social expectations (which are more tilted toward girls), etc.

 

It's like I said earlier wrt glasses; if I were blind I'd accept permanent contacts should they be offered.  As I am, though, I prefer to be able to take off my glasses and see the world with my real eyes.

 

Your posts on this thread are pretty negative towards yourself, and your views on ADHD are inaccurate and rather insulting (although I realize you are not trying to).  I wonder if you and your son are less functional than you are willing to acknowledge.  You seem to be sort of blaming struggles and issues on personality and poor choices that should be under your control or that of your son.  I sense fear that there really is an ADHD issue and you are terrified of the label.

 

Just as an aside, when I look through my glasses I AM looking with my real eyes.  My glasses just make it possible to see everything in focus instead of causing tremendous eye strain as I squint my way through the day without them.  Do you see glasses as somehow "cheating"?  I am confused as to why you feel using glasses is a bad thing.

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The drug doesn't automatically change the behavior.  It isn't as if there's a pill for putting dirty clothes in the hamper.  It allows his brain to have more control over his choices so he's more likely to put his clothes in the hamper.

 

When I describe my kid's personality I don't say "oh, he doesn't clean up after himself very well" or "he doesn't focus on his schoolwork" and I would hope nobody would describe my personality as "someone who doesn't change the toilet paper roll".  

 

My kid is funny, creative, kind, thoughtful, loves to read, is always up for an adventure.  THAT's his personality and it doesn't change when he takes his meds.

 

The bolded excactly, though I would phrase it as "It allows his brain to have more control over his behavior" --basically, it allows him a choice, it allows him to follow through on what he chooses, rather than be at the mercy of distractedness and lack of focus.

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Just as an aside, when I look through my glasses I AM looking with my real eyes.  My glasses just make it possible to see everything in focus instead of causing tremendous eye strain as I squint my way through the day without them.  Do you see glasses as somehow "cheating"?  I am confused as to why you feel using glasses is a bad thing.

 

My husband perceives wearing his glasses as not being himself, as being somehow fake. He also struggles with anxiety and depression and self criticism...

 

I'm actually feeling a bit worried about OP because of the self criticism manifesting in this thread.

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Well at any rate, there's this: I am not going to start taking Ritalin in any case, but certainly the behavioral adaptations or training or whatever that people do would be useful to me whether I am just selfish/lazy or have ADD.  The effects would be the same, right?  (As in, I would be less obnoxious to live with)

 

As a lazy person, the methods I use to motivate myself have never come close to being successful with DD.  It took me a long while to understand why that is. Her brain really does process situations differently.  A person who is actually lazy or selfish or unmotivated requires a different motivation for change.  A person with ADD requires strategies that suit their brain type. Motivation isn't really a factor. 

 

So, if you suspect you have ADD, I would start with strategies designed for people with ADD.  You have to acknowledge there is something different going on and work with that, rather than against it.  

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Well at any rate, there's this: I am not going to start taking Ritalin in any case, but certainly the behavioral adaptations or training or whatever that people do would be useful to me whether I am just selfish/lazy or have ADD.  The effects would be the same, right?  (As in, I would be less obnoxious to live with)

 

Nobody has suggested that you start taking Ritalin.  If you were interested in getting an official dx, you would be evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist and discuss at some length medication or therapy options.

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It's important to remember that people with ADD generally respond differently to most stimulants than most people do. Most people who drink coffee do so to wake up and feel more energetic. My husband can drink coffee to help him calm down enough to go to sleep. Things like Adderall in the correct dosage do not have the same affect on a correctly dx ADHD patient as they do on people who abuse the drugs to be able to study all night or obtain a high. Focus is a calming thing, not a high energy thing.

 

That some people are prescribed drugs they don't need or are overmedicating their children does not mean the issue is with the drug itself.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Your posts on this thread are pretty negative towards yourself, and your views on ADHD are inaccurate and rather insulting (although I realize you are not trying to).  I wonder if you and your son are less functional than you are willing to acknowledge.  You seem to be sort of blaming struggles and issues on personality and poor choices that should be under your control or that of your son.  I sense fear that there really is an ADHD issue and you are terrified of the label.

 

Just as an aside, when I look through my glasses I AM looking with my real eyes.  My glasses just make it possible to see everything in focus instead of causing tremendous eye strain as I squint my way through the day without them.  Do you see glasses as somehow "cheating"?  I am confused as to why you feel using glasses is a bad thing.

 

 

Well, the specific question I am asking in this thread is about a negative aspect of my personality, so of course many of the posts are negative?

 

If I had started a thread about, say, how smart I am (I am) or what a good mother I am (I am) or how good I am at running a business (I am) or how pretty my eyes are (they're nice), then the majority of the posts would be positive :)  

 

But I am not conflicted about any of those things.  I am conflicted about whether some of my negative behaviors (forgetfulness, messiness, etc.) are attributable to ADHD; this has led to broader questions about whether many of those behaviors in the general population, or in a population of people with ADHD, can be attributed to negative personality traits (laziness, selfishness, whatever) or whether those personality traits are just a misnomer for what is really a neurological deficit.

 

 

Of course glasses are a good thing.  I wouldn't own them if they weren't a good thing :)  But for me, I like to be able to take them off and see the world without them.  Does no one else feel this way about glasses?

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As a lazy person, the methods I use to motivate myself have never come close to being successful with DD.  It took me a long while to understand why that is. Her brain really does process situations differently.  A person who is actually lazy or selfish or unmotivated requires a different motivation for change.  A person with ADD requires strategies that suit their brain type. Motivation isn't really a factor. 

 

So, if you suspect you have ADD, I would start with strategies designed for people with ADD.  You have to acknowledge there is something different going on and work with that, rather than against it.  

 

I think motivation is a good place to start in understanding what is and isn't the problem. People assume that someone who doesn't accomplish or follow through on something must not have been motivated to do it. But the reality of ADHD is that you can have all the motivation in the world--and get absolutely no-where. The executive function abilities that are needed to turn that motivation into sustained action are the missing piece. 

 

Which is one reason that incentives, either positive or negative, don't help with ADHD issues. Incentives are meant to increase motivation, they do nothing whatsoever for executive function.

Edited by maize
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<snip>

 

I don't know what you mean by the bolded.  It sounds patronizing and I resent it.

As to the other, yes.  It is one of the gifts, except people who don't get it think we get to pick and choose which things make our brain happy.  We don't.

<snip>

 

I'm sorry; I was being a bit flippant and it obviously didn't work well.    I was actually agreeing with you.

 

What I meant by "hearing this song before" was the assertion or belief that ADD = lazy because some people with ADD don't show any signs of it when they are focused on something interesting.  I've seen that with my own family, and had people question me about it. 

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No, I do not especially like to see the world without my glasses and deal with the eye strain and literal pain that it causes. That's why my glasses come on the second I wake up. I fear it's time for bifocals though because I now have to take them off to thread a needle.

 

 

I am only -200/-200  (or is it 200/200?).  There is no pain.  

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Well, the specific question I am asking in this thread is about a negative aspect of my personality, so of course many of the posts are negative?

 

If I had started a thread about, say, how smart I am (I am) or what a good mother I am (I am) or how good I am at running a business (I am) or how pretty my eyes are (they're nice), then the majority of the posts would be positive :)

 

But I am not conflicted about any of those things.  I am conflicted about whether some of my negative behaviors (forgetfulness, messiness, etc.) are attributable to ADHD; this has led to broader questions about whether many of those behaviors in the general population, or in a population of people with ADHD, can be attributed to negative personality traits (laziness, selfishness, whatever) or whether those personality traits are just a misnomer for what is really a neurological deficit.

 

 

Of course glasses are a good thing.  I wouldn't own them if they weren't a good thing :)  But for me, I like to be able to take them off and see the world without them.  Does no one else feel this way about glasses?

My concern is that you seem to almost want to attribute issues that could be related to ADHD to laziness and selfishness, etc. and don't seem willing to internalize all the posts on this thread stating that if you and your son are truly dealing with ADHD then NO it is not laziness and selfishness, it is a difference in neurological processing that you are dealing with and there are ways to help improve the situation.

 

As for glasses, would I like to not have to wear them?  Heck yeah.  Glasses can be a pain in the rear.  But I don't see it as me not using my own eyes.  I use my eyes but my eyes need help.  They don't work very well so the glasses help me see better, which helps me be more functional in my daily life.

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Regarding a diagnosis, no, I am not afraid of one.  It would be a relief, of course, to be able to say to myself that I am not lazy or selfish, I have this neurological disorder (or whatever you want to call it) and it is not my fault. 

 

But I am wary of the label because I have seen it (and statistics suggest) applied incorrectly, and I don't fundamentally agree with the values that often drive this over-diagnosis.

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<snip>

 

Of course glasses are a good thing.  I wouldn't own them if they weren't a good thing :)  But for me, I like to be able to take them off and see the world without them.  Does no one else feel this way about glasses?

 

Well, I don't, because if I take my glasses off (or remove my contacts), I can't really see the world.  I can see what's right in front of me; I can read, but I am not comfortable doing much else.  I can't enjoy a walk in the woods because I can't see well enough.

 

And that is what it's like for some people who take ADHD medications.  They can't enjoy their world without them.

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My concern is that you seem to almost want to attribute issues that could be related to ADHD to laziness and selfishness, etc. and don't seem willing to internalize all the posts on this thread stating that if you and your son are truly dealing with ADHD then NO it is not laziness and selfishness, it is a difference in neurological processing that you are dealing with and there are ways to help improve the situation.

 

As for glasses, would I like to not have to wear them?  Heck yeah.  Glasses can be a pain in the rear.  But I don't see it as me not using my own eyes.  I use my eyes but my eyes need help.  They don't work very well so the glasses help me see better, which helps me be more functional in my daily life.

 

 

Yes, I like to use glasses too.  They are useful.  I like to see all of the little leaves on the trees. :)  But the reason I have glasses instead of contacts is that I like to be able to take them off, and see without them, with just my eyes.  It feels good.  

 

 

You have my desire re: ADHD backwards.

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Regarding a diagnosis, no, I am not afraid of one.  It would be a relief, of course, to be able to say to myself that I am not lazy or selfish, I have this neurological disorder (or whatever you want to call it) and it is not my fault. 

 

But I am wary of the label because I have seen it (and statistics suggest) applied incorrectly, and I don't fundamentally agree with the values that often drive this over-diagnosis.

Then do your do diligence in finding someone reliable and with lots of experience and with a reputation for NOT just slapping on labels to find the truth.  The purpose of evaluations is not a label (or shouldn't be).  It is to find accurate answers and determine helpful courses of action based on those answers.  Spinning your wheels secretly thinking you are a jerk and lazy and selfish is not healthy.

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Yes, I like to use glasses too.  They are useful.  I like to see all of the little leaves on the trees. :)  But the reason I have glasses instead of contacts is that I like to be able to take them off, and see without them, with just my eyes.  It feels good.  

 

 

You have my desire re: ADHD backwards.

 

That's great that you can take off your glasses and still see.    But you seem not to be understanding that many people with glasses can't see without them, and that taking them off doesn't feel good.    I feel very vulnerable without my glasses or contacts.  I'm not helpless, but I can't function well.  That does not feel good!

 

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I don't think I am a jerk :)  I do think I am somewhat lazy, and probably somewhat selfish.  I am also quite generous and diligent and forgiving, so on the whole not a jerk.

 

 

For people who are those things and don't have ADHD (surely they exist), does it really matter?  If we say you have these behaviors because your brain is wired a certain way, why do we judge them negatively? (regardless of what is causing the different wiring, ADHD or no)

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Regarding a diagnosis, no, I am not afraid of one.  It would be a relief, of course, to be able to say to myself that I am not lazy or selfish, I have this neurological disorder (or whatever you want to call it) and it is not my fault. 

 

But I am wary of the label because I have seen it (and statistics suggest) applied incorrectly, and I don't fundamentally agree with the values that often drive this over-diagnosis.

 

If you are willing to be evaluated and possibly receive a dx, are you afraid of being misdiagnosed?  I mean, that's always possible, and you should probably discuss that possibility with your chosen professional.  

 

The fact that some people have been misdiagnosed with ADHD doesn't change the fact that I can see that my child struggles with focus (I'm being brief) and he's been fully evaluated by several professionals, they've concluded that he has an ADHD brain, and his focus has improved with treatment.  What would I be wary of?  

 

You're putting the cart before the horse.  Maybe you wouldn't receive the dx at all and then you could be confident in your negative attributes.

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That's great that you can take off your glasses and still see.    But you seem not to be understanding that many people with glasses can't see without them, and that taking them off doesn't feel good.    I feel very vulnerable without my glasses or contacts.  I'm not helpless, but I can't function well.  That does not feel good!

 

 

 

I think I've acknowledged it about a million times, actually :)  See all the posts about if I were blind, or in cases where people are genuinely not functional, and there being a range between that and functional, and somewhere in the middle is where it makes sense to me to medicate (or wear permanent contacts), but not over here on my end, necessarily.

 

I wasn't asking "doesn't everyone like to take off their glasses?" but "doesn't *anyone* like to take off their glasses?"

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For people who are those things and don't have ADHD (surely they exist), does it really matter? It matters because I would choose not to be with someone who was a jerk, but I would choose someone who had ADHD and was recceiving treatment. If we say you have these behaviors because your brain is wired a certain way, why do we judge them negatively? If person A is judging person B negatively and person B has ADHD, then person A is ignorant and should educate themselves.  If person A is judging person B negatively and person B is neurotypical, then I guess one's personal beliefs on judgement would apply.  (regardless of what is causing the different wiring, ADHD or no)

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It's like I said earlier wrt glasses; if I were blind I'd accept permanent contacts should they be offered.  As I am, though, I prefer to be able to take off my glasses and see the world with my real eyes.

 

And what is that supposed to mean?

I am myopic, and what I see "with my real eyes" when I take my glasses off is absolutely not an accurate representation of the world as it is. The world is not fuzzy and featureless, there are actually words on the street signs and the trees do have leaves. When I see the world "with my real eyes", the shortcomings of my eyes show my brain something that is different from the reality.

 

 

 

Of course glasses are a good thing.  I wouldn't own them if they weren't a good thing  :)  But for me, I like to be able to take them off and see the world without them.  Does no one else feel this way about glasses?

 

Why would I feel this way? What is the benefit of seeing fuzzy unfocused things? How is this any more "real"?

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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If you are willing to be evaluated and possibly receive a dx, are you afraid of being misdiagnosed?  I mean, that's always possible, and you should probably discuss that possibility with your chosen professional.  

 

The fact that some people have been misdiagnosed with ADHD doesn't change the fact that I can see that my child struggles with focus (I'm being brief) and he's been fully evaluated by several professionals, they've concluded that he has an ADHD brain, and his focus has improved with treatment.  What would I be wary of?  

 

You're putting the cart before the horse.  Maybe you wouldn't receive the dx at all and then you could be confident in your negative attributes.

 

No, I am wary of the idea that much of ADHD is a misdiagnosis - that is to say, is it just another label for what we used to call and still should call laziness?

 

I guess what I am saying is that I am not sure if I trust the whole paradigm - partly because it has been so misused and incorrect, and partly because it seems pretty biased on the whole against male behavior.

 

It would be so much easier if we could just jump forward 100 years and look back and see whether people 100 years from now think we are as crazy for drugging ADHD kids, or even thinking ADHD is a thing, as we think people 100 years ago were for electroshock or bloodletting or something.

 

(I don't mean to directly imply that ADHD doesn't exist, yada yada, please don't take offense.  I am just speaking honestly - psychological diagnoses are kind of nebulous, historically)

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And what is that supposed to mean?

I am myopic, and what I see "with my real eyes" when I take my glasses off is absolutely not an accurate representation of the world as it is. The world is not fuzzy and featureless, there are actually words on the street signs and the trees do have leaves. When I see the world "with my real eyes", the shortcomings of my eyes show my brain something that is different from the reality.

 

 

Of course it is an accurate representation - it is an accurate representation of the way light interacts with your eyes and brain.  It is no less or more accurate than, say, an eagle's vision, or a bug's.  I wouldn't want to see like an eagle just because I *could* (not all the time, anyway), and it wouldn't be more or less real just because I could see more or less detail.

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It feels real to have my glasses off.  It feels real to roll the window down in the car, too.  Don't you roll down the window to look at the mountains?

 

eta: and then take off your glasses and put them back on?  

 

 

I can't see the stars well without my glasses, or the moon, so I wear them to look at the stars.  But sometimes I also take them off, just to see what the sky looks like with just my eyes.

 

 

I am starting to think you are all very weird.

Edited by ananemone
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