View Full Version : My blog about a TV debate on AD/HD


Skepticus
03-20-09, 11:00 PM
Hi all.

My blog is a bit long one end, so I couldn't post on the blog facility here. Instead I have posted it to my regular blog and If anybody wants they can find it here: (A Dose Of Rationality). It's a good long rant about a TV debate I saw on AD/HD, along with a bit of me getting carried away with speculation. It's mostly about the research and the controversy about over diagnosis / prescription etc. I didn't know if I should post this to the science or research section, but I decided not to because It also has some other stuff.

Also, I have just been diagnosed and I am being trailed on Strattera. Trying Dex in a fortnight.

Regards to all, Skepticus. :cool:

Seragilo
03-20-09, 11:38 PM
Good Evening!

You wrote of many things, ideas and possible conclusions. Some I did not agree with while others....goodness, were we separated at birth? One of those twins you speak about?!

You wrote:

It's as if my mind were a freight train, while most other people have a motor-bike or a small car. Not only does the freight train take a long time to build up to speed, it also takes a lot of time and effort to stop. When it is time slow it down and bring it to a halt I find my "train of thought" has too much momentum it wants to keep going. The analogy is also apt, because the train runs on tracks. The train driver can't choose where the train goes. The limited degrees of movement and the switches on the line are controlled externally.

Many people with ADD I have learned, are highly intelligent but self possessed, being motivated by curiosity and the joy of learning for it's own sake, rather than social approval. Once I understand something I find it unnecessary to demonstrate that understanding, for any greater reward than knowledge itself. Along with this is the restricted nature of the curriculum, wrote learning and not being shown why the knowledge being presented was relevant.

I could go on to point out my sleeping patterns, hyper-focus, poor memory, over-persistence, blinking and distractability, suffice is to say, that these are also unique characteristics of the ADHD/ADD I don't suffer from the hyperactivity that ADHD people do, but this is also a unique trait.

I have been reading over many posts, sifting through information trying to match many lives to my own. While I am still on the path to enlightenment, I thank you for your thoughts, some of which mirror my own.

I am not only a realist, but throw in a shaker of cynic, a dash of pragmatic disposition and a wee bit of skepticism...ok, ok ya got me, and a pinch of dogmatic tendancies.

Have a good night!
Seragilo

ginniebean
03-21-09, 12:37 AM
Unfortunately I did not have time to read the entirety of your well written blog, however I did pick out two quotes I'd like to address.

Dr Halasz repeatedly cited the absence of evidence " that he was aware of" in constructing his arguments. From his absence of knowledge about any genetic studies establishing causality in ADHD/ADD to his absence of knowledge about "asthma being created by a committee" or "appendicitis being created by a committee", he repeatedly resorted to argumentum ad ignorantum, or argued from personal incredulity. He also failed to make a distinction between inventing the word or classification and inventing the actual disorder itself.
Halasz's smarmy innuendo fell short of an outright accusation that ADHD/ADD is a fantasy, but he did venture that suggesting a genetic cause was perpetuating myths.

It's all too common for an educated physician to not bother to do the research to see if their opinion has merit. This still surprises me as I expect people with degrees of such nature to be unwilling to risk such public embarrassment over thier lack of knowledge. This guy went on national TV without so much as arming himself with a few studies and relied on his own bigotted opinion? Unfortunately I'm coming to see that there is a bias against doing the research. Most likely this is a human trait to ignore evidence that offends them. I recall a reporter writing a story about an overheard conversation between two elderly ladies shortly after desegregation. The ladies were commiserating that their rights had been taken away when in reality they never had the right to assume superior privelage over another human being. My guess is something along the same lines is taking place in the ADHD 'controversy'. People feel it is thier right to judge and denounce what they consider to be character flaws. It's simple and convenient and requires nothing of them. If they did the research to discover whether their opinion is grounded in fact they'd have to rework many of thier views and self congratulatory back patting. It's thier 'right' to assume superiority and hence privelage over those they see lacking in the qualities they assume they've actually worked to have rather than were born with the ability for.

The question "Are ADHD/ADD medications being over prescribed?", is contentious swamp of unresolved sub-issues. I have a better question. How can the medical and mental health specialists, even begin to dream of finding a set of agreeable standards for diagnosis and prescription, when they can't even agree on how an alleged set of symptoms should be classified or even what the fundamental definition of disease or illness is?


For me this is where the bias becomes clear. These same Dr's are not complaining about handing out misdiagnose to people with ADHD calling it depression, bi-polar or just plain laziness. Handing out SSRI's and sedatives to people for whom such treatment is worse than no treatment at all. Yet they worry about misdiagnosis of ADHD. Curious indeed.

Skepticus
03-21-09, 07:46 PM
Hi Guys!!

Thanks for the feedback. :)

I thought I replied to this last night (well actually I did), but my post is not showing up so I must have done something wrong instead of clicking submit. Either that or there is a bug in the software ...or wait!! :eek: There is a conspiracy of forum moderators and they're all out to get me and suppress me from telling the truth about... Aw! never mind, I probably just screwed up. ;)

So now. Thanks for showing your appreciation Seragilo, There sertainly is a smorgassboard of different perspectives for comparing our own to. May your "path to enlightenment" ever be bordered by the sweetest fruits and beautiful scenery.


This still surprises me as I expect people with degrees of such nature to be unwilling to risk such public embarrassment over thier lack of knowledge.Not to mention their disgrace to peer review. They are supposed to read these peer reviewed science journals, to stay informed about advance in the 'state of their art' so to speak and so that they can offer feedback if they disagree with the conclusions of the research as it plays out. They are supposed to be constructive critics and participants in peer review. It enrages me (I have failed to accomplish the academic standards to acquire any degree) that they dispute and deny ADD without a modicum of well reasoned augment. It's not just that they have their facts wrong it is the ignorance of the underlying scientific method and poor reasoning that gets me riled up.

I could have been a scientist and yet these dull irrational oafs have degrees? :mad:

Here's what I think is happening. Many well educated people are wrote learned and only develop the skills required to digest and regurgitate scads of information to pass exams. Understanding is a secondary factor in the educational process and collecting information like collecting stamps is what passes for education. True understanding
is not as important in the softer sciences and humanities, as remembering information and even interpreting, analyzing and developing opinions. In the areas of clinical practice, I have discovered there is little call to understanding the scientific method nor conducting (or even appreciating) peer review. Research psychologists must DO science, but a clinician is paid in the hundreds for consulting people and doing nothing but giving wrote learned advice and feathering their own nest. The good ones stay informed and avail themselves of new research, while the others are little more than parasites of the system.

Handing out SSRI's and sedatives to people for whom such treatment is worse than no treatment at all. Yet they worry about misdiagnosis of ADHD. Curious indeed.Yeah!! I hadn't thought about that. The double standard. I am now on Strattera, and that is the one that is easiest to get. I am not sure If I like it yet, but it does seem to have some effects to be concerned about. By all accounts, stimulants will be much more pleasant, and without many/any side effects. OK then, so the stimulant is denigrated just because it has a pleasant effect on everybody regardless of whether they have ADD or not. That's like saying "Well, ice cream might make your ADD symptoms subside, but we don't want you to have it because everybody likes it. Instead we want you to eat this concoction of toxic mold extract and maggot poo. It tastes like crap and some of the side effects may be almost as unpleasant as the ADD symptoms it is meant to be treating, but hey, at least nobody else wants to use your medication and that the important thing." :rolleyes:

Cheer Skep

Zerbinetta
03-27-09, 05:21 PM
True understanding
is not as important in the softer sciences and humanities, as remembering information and even interpreting, analyzing and developing opinions.At the risk of coming across all huffy, I have to say I don't see how your post supports this claim. What are you basing yourself on, here?

Yeah, I'm a humanities major. And I consider much of what I do to be pretty effing hardcore, actually.

ginniebean
03-27-09, 07:03 PM
Hi Guys!!

Here's what I think is happening. Many well educated people are wrote learned and only develop the skills required to digest and regurgitate scads of information to pass exams. Understanding is a secondary factor in the educational process and collecting information like collecting stamps is what passes for education.

This may actually be true, but I doubt you can get through a medical degree without some understanding of the scientific method, of the necessity to keep abreast of the information. I happen to have another theory about this. I think it goes against everything they want to believe. The ability to say I'm a success depends upon someone else being a failure. If ADHD is real to them, and they have a biological, genetic basis, then they actually would have to concern themselves with those who 'fail'. Without this, they can happily self congratulate themselves whilst continueing with comfortable notions of a level playing field. People for instance often feel it is thier right to esteem themselves above others and anything that threatens that is denied. I do think it's a massive case of denial. Self interest is rarely pretty.

Skepticus
03-28-09, 03:38 AM
At the risk of coming across all huffy, I have to say I don't see how your post supports this claim. What are you basing yourself on, here?

Hi Zerbrinetta, I don't mean to cause offense to the humanities or softer sciences. It's just that generally the rigor of a subject is relative to its objectivity. In more subjective fields we have to lean more heavily on speculation and opinion. It's just par for the course.

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/purity.png

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/useless.jpg




Yeah, I'm a humanities major. And I consider much of what I do to be pretty effing hardcore, actually.

Oh! I have no doubt that what you do requires a great deal of dedication and effort. :o What is meant by 'hard' or 'rigorous', relates to how completely or directly a fields theoretical assumptions, ultimately reduce to axioms. Nevertheless it is still far more feasible in some fields to get by the academic system, with more wrote learning and less fundamental understandings. The curriculum in in some fields is necessarily more of a discourse on subjective interpretations and how to make fruitful speculations anyway. These methods may nevertheless, be very useful for some areas of study.

My point was to draw a distinction between applied clinical psychiatry and theoretical psychology / neurology. Attempting to understand or keeping abreast modern of understandings in neuro-science, may be far less important in clinical psychiatry, because the imperative is diagnoses and treatment, rather than research, discovery and publication. Even worse, the potential for revolving door psychiatry is prefaced by the payment for consultation system. A practitioner is rewarded for their time and giving of an expert opinion regardless of whether the opinion is valid, informed or helpful.

I wrote a review (on my blog) of the TV program which I linked to, in the OP, Which points to a number of non-sequiturs of the ADD Deniers and their obvious ignorance of valid research which one of them at least claims to be unaware of (as if that is everybody else's fault) Apart from that review and the undeniable fact that psychiatry isn't exactly Newtonian physics, I don't know what evidence to offer. My speculation is just that, but I pointed out what it was based on before I offered it.

Cheers Skep.

Skepticus
03-28-09, 05:17 AM
This may actually be true, but I doubt you can get through a medical degree without some understanding of the scientific method, of the necessity to keep abreast of the information.

It's hard to tell. Bald faced denial of empirical reality is an option that even medical doctors sometimes exercise. Some (a small handful of) qualified doctors do not have a knowledge of biology based upon evolution by natural selection (or do but deny it) and I have to wonder how they must make sense of the living body. But of course you don't have to understand embryology or genetics to collect facts about anatomy like just so many stamps and learn to diagnose illness and prescribe medication. You could assume that each individual was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in their existing current form, just five minutes before they walked into the doctors office. The process of diagnosing and treating them will work just as well.

I happen to have another theory about this. I would rather we call it an hypothesis, but go on

I think it goes against everything they want to believe. The ability to say I'm a success depends upon someone else being a failure. If ADHD is real to them, and they have a biological, genetic basis, then they actually would have to concern themselves with those who 'fail'. Without this, they can happily self congratulate themselves whilst continueing with comfortable notions of a level playing field. People for instance often feel it is thier right to esteem themselves above others and anything that threatens that is denied. I do think it's a massive case of denial. Self interest is rarely pretty.I can see why this could be true in some (if not many) cases at least. It's just human nature really. The only thing I can't figure out is the self interest part. Surely it would be in their interest to acknowledge a whole new class of patients, that would create more demand for psychiatrists who acknowledge and treat AD/HD. I can't imagine being so petty, that I must equate my success to another persons failure, even though I might instead, be even more prosperous by embracing their misgivings and attempting to help them. Denying AD/HD on such parochial grounds is just bullet-footing.

In any case, I don't think they are supposed to decide upon what constitutes a legitimate condition at the clinic level, on a psychiatrist by psychiatrist basis. The science should be done, as rigorously as possible, at the post doctoral level and peer reviewed in journals which they should be reading and commenting on. By the time the science hits the clinic it should not be in dispute and the client should not have to bear the brunt of the clinicians wash off, by having to jump through hoops to even find a mental health professional who recognizes and treats the condition.

Anyhow ginnie, I can understand why you would suggest the 'denial of anything countenancing failure' hypothesis, It's certainly worth keeping in mind, but I think there is more to it as well. :)

Regards Skep

ginniebean
03-28-09, 06:23 AM
There probably is more to it.

Anyway, I did enjoy your blog. Thanks!

Mincan
03-28-09, 11:28 AM
Enjoyed, thank you.