View Full Version : Normalizing


CBDialog
01-06-15, 11:28 PM
Is it bad that the intention of Ritalin is to normalize you?

Also: What is normalizing?

I was put on Ritalin because my mom wanted me to be able to sit still and read. I used to fidget as well.

namazu
01-07-15, 12:06 AM
Your second question is the key to the first.

If "normalizing" means "making conform for the sake of conformity" or "squelching independent spirit" or "trying to make kids fit into environments that aren't healthy for them", then yes, I'd argue it's probably a bad thing.

If "normalizing" means "helping someone function up to their potential", "giving a kid a fighting chance to benefit from education and to make friends", "giving someone better control of their impulses and decision-making", then I think it's probably a good thing.

CBDialog
01-07-15, 01:46 AM
Stimulants made me antisocial. Functioning up to your full potential isn't what they do. They make you function better than your full potential. I do agree that they do help you benefit from education.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w19105

Maybe they do help you make decisions and control impulses when you are on them. But they do so at the cost of making you different with many health determents.

I think the idea of trying to manipulate yourself to be some kind of normal is dangerous and it should not be accepted that normalizing is a good thing. It hurts variation in the macro sense and leads to side effects for little to no long term gains.

namazu
01-07-15, 12:07 PM
Stimulants made me antisocial.
I'm sorry you experienced this as a side effect. I wonder if you were given too high a dose, or if it wasn't an appropriate medication for you.

Functioning up to your full potential isn't what they do. They make you function better than your full potential.
I'll grant that "potential" is a loaded term, but how do you figure they make you function better than your full potential?

http://www.nber.org/papers/w19105
Yes, I have seen this paper, which was written by economists. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of outcomes for ADHD youth in Quebec treated with medications. However, taking into account appropriate vs. inappropriate use of medications, adherence to medication, other supports, severity of ADHD symptoms, etc. is quite difficult. I think there was previously a more detailed thread about this article -- check in the Open Science and Philosophy or Scientific Discussions sections if you're interested.

Maybe they do help you make decisions and control impulses when you are on them. But they do so at the cost of making you different with many health determents.
How so?

Stimulant medication use has been associated with reduced risk of injury and reduced risk of substance abuse among people with ADHD. Untreated ADHD carries a high risk for injury, substance abuse, smoking, car accidents, depression and anxiety, inability to keep a job, incarceration, risky sex, self-harm and suicide...all of which are clearly detrimental to health.

Long-term stimulant use has been poorly studied, I'll grant, but thus far there isn't evidence of long-term health problems associated with it. Some people do have serious side effects, especially heart problems (in people with arrhythmias) or psychosis (especially in people with pre-existing psychotic disorders or a family history of them), and that's why medical monitoring and judicious prescribing is so important. But people who are able to tolerate the medication and use it as prescribed don't seem to be experiencing adverse health effects in droves.

I think the idea of trying to manipulate yourself to be some kind of normal is dangerous and it should not be accepted that normalizing is a good thing. It hurts variation in the macro sense and leads to side effects for little to no long term gains.
As I noted above, normalizing for the sake of normalizing isn't necessarily a wise goal. But if you are unable to function in society and in your own life, and it's not simply an issue of being a "free spirit" or setting ridiculous standards, then seeking assistance to be able to function better seems like a very reasonable thing to do.

I agree that we need more research into long-term stimulant use, to help ensure that our risk-balance judgments are well-informed. And I also agree that using stimulants to erase individuality is a bad idea.

It seems you are generalizing from your own unfortunate experiences with medication when you say that stimulants ruin people's health. I'm sorry you had a rotten experience, and that you had no say in it as a kid, and that you're still suffering. But that doesn't mean that stimulants aren't worth it for a great many people whose ADHD is seriously impairing their lives.

Corina86
01-07-15, 01:55 PM
If you're not ok with the medication, don't take it! I'm sorry your mom put on this and failed to notice that it wasn't good for you, but now you're an adult and you can make your own decisions. Concerta works great for me, but I know this is just my experience and it's probably irrelevant to you.

yamaustin
01-07-15, 03:48 PM
The big question is, which kind of unique and different you want to be, the one with pills or the one without? Either is still unique and different, but maybe one is better for you and those you love or expect to love, than the other.

There is no "one size fits all" solution for anything

We are, every one of us, a unique creation.
Big pharma is starting to realize that the next big business is medication that is actually designed for the individual. Wow!
Meanwhile, "mg/Kg" seems about the best most can do or get, that is, when at least the dosage is tailored to your size. That, of course, leaves out the fact that metabolism, secondary effects, even the time of day and amount and kind of foods you have will make a difference, even maybe unknown interactions that affect certain people and not others.
there is no normal. Never was. We are each one unique. We still are unique when we take pills, just a different kind of unique.

Now, within that uniqueness, some of us need meds. I know I do, alas. I wish I didn't, but that's the way it is. If I forget (and it does happen, remember, I'm ADD... :-) ) I'm like a beanbag until I get the stupid little round thing in. Then I can sort of function.

Does it hurt my creativity? Dunno. Creativity seems to go in and out in waves. Generally I am very creative, even with meds. Some days I am SO terribly like I NEEEEEEED to make this idea work . Very dangerous, as I will not do anything else, often even forget to eat, until it goes away, sort of by itself. But lovely. Makes me feel alive. Again, that is not hurt or improved by my meds AFAIK. Lately I have been researching if the brand of generic I am taking is to blame the fact that since my pharmacist changed providers I feel even more like a blob, certainly NOT more alive. Got two patents so far, working on two more. It would be impossible for me to work on those patents if I am not awake, but the ideas and creativity are a "benefit" of ADD that "normal" people don't have as much of. Just need to balance, and those pesky pills seem to do it for me, I am still creative but I also am awake.

The secondary effects of Methylphenidate seem to be all over the map. Some people feel drowsy: others more awake (me,me, me!). Some feel unstoppable hunger (me for a while, gained 40 pounds, then learned better self control); others feel like they don't want to eat anything at all (like the son of a friend, it was sad how thin he was).

There might be people that are not benefited by meds, and you may be one of them. Or maybe you're not giving them a chance? While I would happily kick where it hurts (if I could get away with it) anyone who believes there is a way to make us all the same, "normal", I will insist, with all respect, that you need to figure out what YOUR normal is. Your normal might need meds to be what you need.

I have a new definition for stupid: making the choice of taking, or not taking, pills just to be like everyone else. I mean, "normal" people don't take pills, uh? so after all maybe you want to be normal? Just pulling your leg here, but it's funny/tragic how people want to be special but also want to be just like everyone else.
Pills or no pills, you are just as normal or abnormal, just a different normal or abnormal. You are still a unique creation. The point is, what of those normal/abnormal you is better, the one with pills or the one without, which one is going to enjoy better being a kid and enjoy being a grownup and eventually a parent?

If somebody tried to sell you (or your parents, or your teachers) that meds would make you "normal", their intention might have been good, but their choice of words maybe not the best. Yes, schools are all about one-size-fits-all, and bureaucrats would oh so much love that we were all "normal". Meds don't make everyone "normal" - just see what I said (and if you don't believe me, just read the paper that comes with your pills). Lots of people have the most diverse results from taking the very same pills.

Think that homeless people are not there by choice, but as a result often of some brain issue or drug issue or both. Some people can achieve success just as they are. Others need help, and medication can and often does help. As you consider your options, maybe meds can help you. But they won't if you decide that they are against you. Consider your options. So, is it easier for you to sit and read now? Does that benefit your school experience for the age you're in?

I am unique and different and creative. And I take pills.

These don't make me "normal" if normal means some kind of zombie - actually I am more zombie-like when I forget them :-) I agree we should all resist any pill that would make us all the same. Yet, because we ARE all different, that is impossible. You will be still unique, different, if you take pills. It will simply be a different kind of "unique and different" than what you are like when you don't take them.

BTW, being antisocial for no reason and hugging my friends the next moment, being desperate for attention and at the same time killing to fit in, we used to call it adolescence. Been there, survived (dunno how), glad it's over though I would enjoy not having to go to work even if it meant being in school. Blaming pills is not fair. OTOH, maybe these do have that effect. It is SO hard to figure things out... I myself came into these forums to understand if the brand of generics I am taking is maybe worse than others. And I learned, yes, people here agree. Uh.

CBDialog
01-07-15, 09:03 PM
I'll grant that "potential" is a loaded term, but how do you figure they make you function better than your full potential?

If you do steroids are you making it possible for your body to operate at higher than its full potential. The full potential for your body is the limit your body can reach out of will power. Can you will yourself to be stronger than when you are on steroids? I don't think you can. The same I think applies to stimulants. They make your brain operate at a level that cannot be achieved out of your own will. Therefore stimulants make you operate better than your full potential. Stimulants make you operate at a drug educed potential, not natural potential.

The number of side effects that come from pills seem detrimental and not worth it if you can avoid doing stimulants. I don't think stimulants are bad though. I think that stimulants are very bad for children. I do not think they should be given to children until their brain is fully developed. People have done great things on stimulants.

Paul Erdos was an avid meth user, but he didn't start until he was much later in life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C5%91s

Stimulants are fine for people that can choose to be on them.. Normalizing kids is bad.

My problem is that the intention of many studies is to show the "normalizing" effects of stimulants and other ADHD medication. I think trying to make someone normal or approach normal is a bad thing. The notion of getting people to be some kind of average is terrible. It does not take the individual into account. I am sure there are people with issues that are helped by medication. But my point is that normalizing should be shunned.

daveddd
01-07-15, 09:44 PM
the issue is add isn't a matter of being unique or special

its a matter of being impaired, specifically in the area of emotional regulation

regulation of emotions is vital, not only in societal demands, but in interpersonal matters of self esteem and well being

the thought of being "special" as opposed to impaired is a somewhat narcissistic view point

yamaustin
01-07-15, 10:11 PM
CBD, I respectfully submit that maybe "natural" ain't what you've been sold it is.

By that reasoning, EVERY medication, not being "natural" to your body, is wrong.

I don't wish you a toothache, or a migraine, but maybe that will teach ya about medication and progress and industry and the American way.
What about glasses? not natural either. Computers? so maybe we should be using our natural non-enhanced voices?

It is great that you are honest in exploring why you want to stop taking your meds. I believe we want all to be supportive of thinking and reasoning, and feelings and so on, empowering.

There are good reasons to stop using meds.
That they are not natural is, in my very humble opinion, not a good reason.
Meds have helped a lot of people, of all ages. They have also hurt many others, of all ages too.
A sweeping generalization that they are bad for everybody a certain age is about as useful as a generalization that they help everybody

I do agree that "normalizing" is bad, even were such nonsense possible.
You, or anybody, cannot be "normalized" since "normal" is a silly construct that negates the reality of unique creation. Yes, a certain ideology pretends that kids are a blank slate. Reality proves it is not so.

The real question is whether meds are good or bad FOR YOU.
Making a decision just on the basis of feelings or ideology, is, IMHO, not the best.

Look for evidence. You are unique, so is your reaction to a specific med / dosage / moment in your growth / metabolism / hormones...

I suggest you focus on that one and try to answer (not to me, but to yourself)

CBDialog
01-07-15, 11:14 PM
Yama:
I never said drugs are not natural. Our bodies can use drugs for various reasons or maybe no reasons at all. I think we have different systems in our bodies that can take in chemicals. I like to think there is a reason we can take in chemicals.

I do not think stimulants are good for kids (I am not sure what is a good time to start, but pre-puberty is not a good time IMO). Currently I think they cause brain atrophy after enhancing it.

Drugs are not bad, when used properly.

Greyhound1
01-08-15, 12:54 AM
Drugs are not bad, when used properly.

This is the bottom line, I think most of us can agree on.

Jbhawaii
01-09-15, 09:19 PM
Humbly, I find that Ritalin (I have tried others drugs with less benefit) allows me to make the choice as to how I present myself to the world and how I choose to react to it. For me, that is better than the alternative of being unmedicated.

I find that it gives me a space between my thoughts and my actions in which I can decide/choose to act or to not act, talk or not talk, be upset about a chore/task or not be upset. Ritalin allows me to be a better me because it gives my back my ability to choose and to not be controlled by the impulsivity of ADHD. It also allows me to find joy in simple and mundane tasks like tidying my work space, and I'm so deeply grateful for that.

But that doesnt mean that you or anyone else will find it does the same for them. Meds are for you what they are for you. You can't expect that a pill will solve all of your problems. They are more like training wheels. They allow you to ride without falling but in order to get better you need to learn and implement the skills to allow you to be better, whatever 'better' means for you.

In short, if it doesn't feel right then stop, now. The attitude you bring to your treatment will, ultimately, determine your success with it.

CBDialog
01-10-15, 12:26 AM
How old were you when you started ritalin? @jbhawaii

Jbhawaii
01-10-15, 02:41 AM
I started taking Ritalin (old short acting form, when it was all there was) when I was around 7 or 8. I stayed medicated until I was in my mid to late teens. I stopped meds at that time because, ironically, I wanted to be 'normal' and didn't like the stigma that came with the disorder.

After a lot of difficult years I started medicating again at 30 years old and I really don't know why I didn't start earlier. It has changed my life. It still,takes effort but the meds help to make the efforts manageable. My stress is lower that it's been in a decade and I can finally sleep again (I was an insomniac for about 5 years). I also keep my home clean, do dishes, I stay organized in life and at work, and I don't feel as much of a social pariah.

If you are struggling with this then don't give up. Try a few different meds, change dosing schedules. Your psych, if legit, will be happy to do thismwith you and i promise its money well spent. Eventually you will find what works for you. For me, Ritalin is the best thing since, well, Ritalin. Hopefully you can find the same for yourself.

CBDialog
01-11-15, 03:05 AM
Thanks for letting me know. I plan on getting my brain mass measured as soon as kaiserly possible. I will probably talk about abnormalities from it.

The medication I have found is a fine one at the moment. I am not a fan of pills personally.

Gilthranon
01-11-15, 08:51 PM
What's the point of normalizing if originalizing is so much more fascinating where convincing is the absolute society-needed necessity ? Besides it's too opposite of memorable

Easy to socialise with is a whole lot different of course