View Full Version : Give up the Stimulants Everyone: Turns out you're not getting any smarter after all


Fierwing
07-22-09, 03:02 PM
Study indicates attention deficit disorder medications don't boost intelligence, just concentration.

I am so relieved that a study was funded to clear that up. (And always glad to see 'intelligence' recognized as an acceptable synonym for 'academic performance' as well.)

http://www.additudemag.com/addnews/65/6085.html

tomlinson
07-22-09, 03:50 PM
From the article itself:

"stimulant drugs are effective in treating adults with ADHD"

*********

The article/study deals almost entirely with the long-term effect of stimulant medications on children.

It's just one study.
There are many other studies that report different results.

Fierwing
07-22-09, 04:20 PM
It's just one study.
There are many other studies that report different results.

Yes... but that wouldn't make a very good headline.

APSJ
07-22-09, 10:15 PM
That little article snippet is bizarre. So, the drugs prescribed to boost attention do what they're supposed to, but don't have highly improbable additional benefits?

Studies show that many college students use stimulants to improve concentration and organization skills. But there is no proof that the medication increases intelligence, said Professor Claire Advokat at LSUUm...ok...but they do make it so you can fly, right?

From the source article:
Stimulant medications used to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, are often assumed to improve memory and make a person smarter, but experts have found that is not the case. http://www.physorg.com/news166727448.html

Assumed by who? I really can't recall ever having heard this idea before.

pADDyjay
07-22-09, 11:00 PM
:confused:who said we adhders needed our intelligence boosted anyway????

We are a very intelligent group:)

Archon
07-22-09, 11:07 PM
The article was looking at the academic phenomenon of students using the drugs without a prescription. They don't make you "smarter", but thats not to say they won't help you in an academic setting.

Fierwing
07-23-09, 01:24 AM
If you read the source article carefully, I believe that the actual point was to question why there are studies on the morality of using medication to make you 'smarter' when no evidence exists that we currently have any medications capable of doing that. That's actually a question which makes sense.

The way this was written up though, in both the source article and the blurb from ADDitude, just struck me as entirely ludicrous.


Um...ok...but they do make it so you can fly, right?

Sorry APSJ, I believe you should have been prescribed a pixie dust and happy thought combo instead of stimulants... Perhaps you should check to make sure your doctor actually keeps up with current pharmacology research.

APSJ
07-23-09, 01:48 AM
If you read the source article carefully, I believe that the actual point was to question why there are studies on the morality of using medication to make you 'smarter' when no evidence exists that we currently have any medications capable of doing that. That's actually a question which makes sense.
The discussion of the morality of “cognitive enhancement” has become the subject of several research editorials. According to Advokat’s research, the assumption that stimulants truly are cognitive enhancers does not seem to be questioned.I see. So this is research into why researchers have come to accept this strange idea.


Sorry APSJ, I believe you should have been prescribed a pixie dust and happy thought combo instead of stimulants... Perhaps you should check to make sure your doctor actually keeps up with current pharmacology research.

This is most distressing. I was about to take a break from my current studies and head over to Bermuda for a few hours via the fire escape. I just got this prescription too. Now I'll have to wait a whole month to have it changed.

pADDyjay
07-23-09, 02:06 AM
The article was looking at the academic phenomenon of students using the drugs without a prescription. They don't make you "smarter", but thats not to say they won't help you in an academic setting.

academic phenomenon? using drugs without a script?....what help are they in an academic setting ? Could you please explain....thanks:)

Archon
07-23-09, 03:11 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYSgNQbtuKs

The point remains, they may not make you smarter, but they may improve (or degrade) your grades for any number of reasons.

Assumed by who? I really can't recall ever having heard this idea before.
Uni students do, word of mouth turns stimulants into some kind of fabled class of wonder drugs :P

what help are they in an academic settingIt doesn't really matter if it helps or not, what matters is students THINK they help. The fact is that are in fact very effective at combating fatigue, which helps you pull allnighters and frenzied panicked cram sessions.

mctavish23
07-24-09, 12:16 AM
There's a world of difference between abusing a medication that's not prescribed for you

or that you're abusing by taking it (under false pretenses) for a disorder you don't really

have,versus someone who actually was born with ( or even acquired) the most widely

researched developmental disability / neurobiological, brain based disorder on earth.

Stimulants DO NOT make the person with ADHD "smarter."

They help treat the symptoms by regulating the Executive Function impairments ( i.e.,

"Executive Dysfunction") that create the "impairments in major life activities," the non-

ADHD individual DOES NOT experience when presented with the exact same tasks.

Instead of ...."Give Up the Stimulants," ...."Get A Grip" is more like it.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

pADDyjay
07-24-09, 12:23 AM
thanks mctavish

I was trying to say just that on my non professional level

respectfully P

Fierwing
07-25-09, 03:55 AM
Instead of ...."Give Up the Stimulants," ...."Get A Grip" is more like it.

Um... I'm not entirely sure if I'm the one who's supposed to be 'getting a grip' but if so, perhaps it's necessary to point out that I meant the title of the thread in jest, and only posted this out of frustration with the less than stellar quality of many mental health articles.

I didn't really intend to discuss the material beyond that, as it's a pretty poorly written article and doesn't really contain very much information, but I certainly have no objection.

The focus of the article actually is on prescribed stimulant use in the treatment of college age students who have ADHD not on its abuse (although illegal use is referenced a few times).

The point remains, they may not make you smarter, but they may improve (or degrade) your grades for any number of reasons.

Despite the many, many poor choices of words, it is in fact saying that stimulants do not improve long term academic achievement (in those with ADHD). -- Not commenting on the validity of the claim, just pointing out what the article actually says.

Uni students do, word of mouth turns stimulants into some kind of fabled class of wonder drugs :P

Maybe this has come about fairly recently, but I've never run into anyone, either with ADHD or those abusing the drugs (and I regret to say that I had plenty of exposure to the latter group in college), believing that stimulants would make them more intelligent. I assumed that it was carelessness on the part of the writer(s) which caused intelligence to be used in place of academic achievement - are you saying that people actually do believe these are making them smarter?

Archon
07-25-09, 11:52 AM
Evidence shows that during a classroom period, students do sit still, pay attention and complete more problems or tasks with more accuracy when given ADHD medications. However long-term academic achievement hasn’t been shown to be improved.

This seems paradoxical. If you complete more questions in an exam with more accuracy... you are going to get better marks. To my way of thinking, higher test and exam scores equates to academic achievement.

mctavish23
07-25-09, 03:52 PM
Fierwing,


I wasn't referring to you, or any FORUM member for that matter.

So, I apologize if it came across as personal.

I was confronting the negativism behind the insinuation.

My comments were (and are) directed at the judgmental mindset(s) behind the slander

of the disorder in general.

Hope that helps.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

meadd823
07-25-09, 06:42 PM
I hate these things, their flaws in logic are so obvious it hurts - I hate people who think they are experts because they have a few letters after thier name. . . .

Researchers Study Academic Effects of ADHD Drugs (http://www.physorg.com/news166727448.html)

Evidence shows that during a classroom period, students do sit still, pay attention and complete more problems or tasks with more accuracy when given ADHD medications. However long-term academic achievement hasn’t been shown to be improved. Numerous studies on this area report that standardized scores aren’t improved and “ultimate educational attainment” isn’t shown.

******* how much academic achievement does it take to get this damn stupid any way – Perhaps the reason that there is no evidence that ADD medications increase academic achievement is because it takes more than the single act of controlling the attention span to be successful.

Got K-Y ????

Many adult ADDers do not know what those other things are because we could not pay attention long enough to learn them before medications – now that we are on medications we are to busy trying to defend the right to continue them that we don’t have time to learn what to do with our new found ability to control our attention span – if these article writing idiots would STFU long enough to freaking listen they would KNOW that medications are only the BEGINING of successful ADD treatment.

The ADD college student my be able to pay attention now that they are on stimulant medications 9 of 10 ADDers have not a freaking clue what to do with this attention span . All to often newly medicated ADD adult pays attention to the wrong things so they become discouraged and give up – Once adults with ADD are on a therapeutic doses of ADD medications most need to learn the life skills they missed growing up

Did this author sleep through that huge mega study that indicated that the best treatment for ADD children is a COMBINATION of medications and behavioral interventions. Meaning the conclusions that medication alone doesn’t increase any ones chances for success is a no brainer - it take more to succeed in life than merely being able to pay attention – so any treatment that is going to be successful in the long run must address more than just the attention span.

Also if a person reaches college age before beginning treatment for ADD chances are that the person is going to have other coexisting conditions due to the way he /she was treated because of the undiagnosed ADD

So not only do ADD college students lack many of the life skills already mastered by their non-ADD counter parts they are also more than likely struggling with extra “baggage” meaning they have more to over come then their non-ADD peers – So the notion that it takes more than a pill achieve success - is like “duh”

:confused:Did all that academic achievement acquired by the article writer wash away his common sense??

So what have we learned today –

1) that ADD medications are only a part of any long term successful ADD treatment – non- chemical approaches to ADD treatments such as counseling , CBT, life skills such as budgeting , organization, self monitoring and goal setting need to be implemented along side medications –


2) We aren’t treating our intelligence.




3) Apparently education doesn’t increase the intelligence any more than ADD medications do .



New one liner I just made up - While education may cure ignorance it is no match for sheer stupidity. :D



***

Archon
07-25-09, 07:03 PM
In all fairness, we're looking at a write-up of a write-up of an article that none of us (I assume) have read.

2) We aren’t treating our intelligence

3) Education doesn’t increase intelligence

I agree with those statements.

non- chemical approaches to ADD treatments such as counseling , CBT, life skills such as budgeting , organization, self monitoring and goal setting need to be implemented along side medications

I can't see the evidence that supports these claims imo.

It's easy to take this personally and from an ADHD standpoint, but this article deals with anyone who takes ADHD medications, and that population does not solely consist of the people with the prescriptions.

mctavish23
07-25-09, 08:01 PM
I'm still reeling from "Got KY?"

That was fantastic!!

Does that mean that some non-ADHD'ers with multiple letters after their names,like say

some of colleagues who've refused to read ANY (ADHD) research in the last 6 years,

perhaps lose IQ points on a "regular" daily basis??

I've certainly inferred that to their faces at point blank range.

However, I've stopped after a paradigm shift of my own.

Either way, that made my day.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

tomlinson
07-25-09, 10:34 PM
Evidence shows that during a classroom period, students do sit still, pay attention and complete more problems or tasks with more accuracy when given ADHD medications. However long-term academic achievement hasn’t been shown to be improved.

This seems paradoxical. If you complete more questions in an exam with more accuracy... you are going to get better marks. To my way of thinking, higher test and exam scores equates to academic achievement.

I agree, Archon, and I think this apparent paradox is caused by the article's waffling about what constitutes "academic achievement".

Retromancer
07-26-09, 12:56 AM
I haven't read the article yet -- but I doubt the researchers came up with results significantly different than the studies done during the Second World War!

The nub of what they found then was that airmen etc. on amphetamine didn't perform better but they were found to be more persistent at what they were assigned to do.

They also experienced a notable elevation of mood. They were happier soldiers. This improvement in morale was probably the number one reason why amphetamines were doled out so readily during the war.

It has been said that there is actually little new under the sun. That is quite the case when the subject is amphetamines. They have been in existence for over seventy years!
(Dextroamphetamine -- one of the active ingredients of 'Adderall' was patented in 1937. Vyvanse metabolizes into 'dex' once it is ingested.)

Fierwing
07-26-09, 05:18 AM
My comments were (and are) directed at the judgmental mindset(s) behind the slander of the disorder in general.

Thanks, I rather hoped that was the case, but have to admit that this wouldn't have been the first time I made a joke that ended up going over badly. I really appreciate you taking the time to clarify.

Fierwing
07-26-09, 05:49 AM
Archon, this:

In all fairness, we're looking at a write-up of a write-up of an article that none of us (I assume) have read.

Is exactly what I was going to say to this (except without the 'in all fairness' part, because I'm not feeling that charitable:D):

This seems paradoxical. If you complete more questions in an exam with more accuracy... you are going to get better marks. To my way of thinking, higher test and exam scores equates to academic achievement.

It does seem to be a contradiction. Maybe further explanation on the part of the author would resolve it, but since it's not available in this article, and no sources are cited, it's pretty hard to say.

While education may cure ignorance it is no match for sheer stupidity.

This is fantastic! (Has just replaced "I will not go ballistic..." as my favorite Meadd-quote.) Your explanation in general makes a great deal of sense to me. Thanks for posting it.

Archon
07-26-09, 05:48 PM
http://www.liebertonline.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1089/cap.2008.021

Another article that suggests that stimulants do help people with ADHD in an academic setting.

APSJ
07-26-09, 06:05 PM
Archon, can you post the title, author(s), and journal?
The link is taking me to a log in page for a non-public database.

Archon
07-26-09, 06:10 PM
"Stimulant Treatment in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Moderates Adolescent Academic Outcome" from the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. Oct 2008
Robyn L. Powers, David J. Marks, Carlin J. Miller, Jeffrey H. Newcorn, Jeffrey M. Halperin.

It's hardly ground breaking stuff, but it is funny how the media picks up and runs with one spin but not the other? :P

APSJ
07-26-09, 06:31 PM
It's hardly ground breaking stuff, but it is funny how the media picks up and runs with one spin but not the other? :P

Yes, that certainly seems to be a consistent theme in coverage of ADHD, and medication in particular.

The way that ADDitude snippet was put together is especially mind boggling....in such a short space they managed to conflate academic achievement with intelligence, imply that "cognitive enhancement" was the goal of stimulant medication, and also that despite the implied ineffectiveness of current meds, this is a serious moral issue because effective meds may be developed in the future.

Thanks for posting the citation. I only had time to read the abstract right now, but it certainly seems straightforward enough. I would be interested to learn why there's conflicting data coming out of studies on the long term impact of medication on academic achievement. I would think the factors Meadd discussed would play a significant role, but how did some studies control for them better than others?

Archon
07-26-09, 06:38 PM
I still think that the original study was posted as an investigation to the student myth that Dexadrine/Ritalin are a class of wonder drug, and that the entire article was looking predominately at non ADHD populations.

I could be entirely wrong, but it would make more sense.

Retromancer
07-26-09, 07:28 PM
Going back to the original WW2 studies, one consistent observation was that the soldiers consistently over-estimated their proficiency on the tasks they were assigned... Sound at all familiar?

I still think that the original study was posted as an investigation to the student myth that Dexadrine/Ritalin are a class of wonder drug, and that the entire article was looking predominately at non ADHD populations.

I could be entirely wrong, but it would make more sense.

Archon
07-26-09, 07:40 PM
In more ways that one. I've ALWAYS overrated my performance, leading to me realising that my own rating is far from reliable, leading me to be completely in the dark over my performance in anything. This was before meds.

Also the students are no doubt hit with the placebo effect in combination with this overestimation of performance.

mctavish23
07-26-09, 08:59 PM
Remember please that one study does not make or break an entire area of research.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

Retromancer
07-26-09, 09:04 PM
True. Tho' after 70 years of experience one is free to come to a few conclusions... ;)

Remember please that one study does not make or break an entire area of research.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

Archon
07-26-09, 09:08 PM
Not this particular study no, but I'm sure there have been studies that have done just that Mctavish ;P

ginniebean
07-26-09, 10:31 PM
This is fantastic! (Has just replaced "I will not go ballistic..." as my favorite Meadd-quote.) Your explanation in general makes a great deal of sense to me. Thanks for posting it.

It's good, but I still prefer "I will not go ballistic" :D

Retromancer
07-26-09, 10:44 PM
Thankfully there are plenty of "meaddisms" to go around! ;)

It's good, but I still prefer "I will not go ballistic" :D

JBPDX
07-27-09, 07:28 AM
While education may cure ignorance it is no match for sheer stupidity.

That is worth quoting, I love that! Thank you, Meadd! It's so very true as well! :D

mctavish23
08-01-09, 12:45 AM
The "gold standard" for all scientific research is..."longitudinal validity & reliability."

Simply put, "Can (non-affiliated (i.e.,"total strangers") come along and replicate those

data and get the exact same (or very similar) results, time after time,year after year?"

It's just another way of testing whether or not the study measures what it says it does

and can other people arrive at the same results by doing the same thing(s)?

I'ts easier said than done.

There's definately been a number of "landmark" studies over the years.

Some of those have "achieved" that distinction for different reasons; like being the "first"

study to recognize something of importance,etc.

However, one study in and of itself, is usually insufficient to make any sort of "sweeping"

generalizations.


tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

Archon
08-01-09, 01:55 AM
I agree, one study is insufficient to make sweeping generalisations. However, it is quite a common practise for people to do it anyway. Such claims are generally an abuse of the scientific method.

What we're talking about here is the ideal vs the reality. Ought vs is.

mctavish23
08-02-09, 12:09 AM
I agree.

By the same token though, the scientific method must be met for any real degree of

professional credibility to happen within the scientific & clinical communities.

That's the arena in which the battle for acceptance must be waged and won.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

PickMeUpRoadie
09-20-09, 12:53 AM
I haven't read the article yet -- but I doubt the researchers came up with results significantly different than the studies done during the Second World War!

The nub of what they found then was that airmen etc. on amphetamine didn't perform better but they were found to be more persistent at what they were assigned to do.

They also experienced a notable elevation of mood. They were happier soldiers. This improvement in morale was probably the number one reason why amphetamines were doled out so readily during the war.

Experts have also postulated that Hitler also used amphetamines, particularly during his long-winded, inspiring speeches.




Godwin's law states that the longer a thread goes, the probability of the mention of Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
Woops...

SophiaSan
04-28-10, 01:58 AM
ahah an idiot can take tall the adderall or ritalin in the world, but they're still going to be an idiot.

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 02:13 AM
ahah an idiot can take tall the adderall or ritalin in the world, but they're still going to be an idiot.
While what you are saying is, in essence, true; with ADHD there tends to be a underlying potential underneath the many layers of disappointment and medications can help unleash that potential. Even if that person does not continue pharmaceutical therapy for their lifetime there are still some benefits in executive functioning in the long term (quite often in my experience).

What I am saying here is that someone who appears to be an idiot is not always an idiot (or other similar descriptor). ****But, the inverse is also true sometimes.

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 02:18 AM
The nub of what they found then was that airmen etc. on amphetamine didn't perform better but they were found to be more persistent at what they were assigned to do.

In addition to the persistence issue is the issue of remaing alert on long flights, or simply long hours. College students understand this advantage to amphetamines, thus why many (relatively) choose it for their studying during all-nighters.

Sit-n-Spin
04-28-10, 07:07 PM
I want to bump up this article about AD/HD meds making people able to concentrate better- not smarter - for others who haven't seen it.

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 07:38 PM
I would also like to point out that stimulants (at least in my case) allow for faster processing, especially when playing musical instruments. I have found it much easier to play quick passages while medicated than when unmedicated.

Take this with a grain of salt.

Sit-n-Spin
04-28-10, 07:47 PM
I can sing better. It's like the joke about "Doctor, after I take this medication will I be able to sing?" The doctor replies, "Of course." And the patient says, "Great, becase I never could sing before!" Well, everyone noticed that when I started the medication I can actually carry a tune. Trust me, I could not fake that. I think it allows me to breathe more deeply, whereas a stimulant for someone without AD/HD would interfere with their ability to sing. This was a big factor in me realizing that we're on the right tract.

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 08:35 PM
I can sing better. It's like the joke about "Doctor, after I take this medication will I be able to sing?" The doctor replies, "Of course." And the patient says, "Great, becase I never could sing before!" Well, everyone noticed that when I started the medication I can actually carry a tune. Trust me, I could not fake that. I think it allows me to breathe more deeply, whereas a stimulant for someone without AD/HD would interfere with their ability to sing. This was a big factor in me realizing that we're on the right tract.
I believe Adderall (what I'm on) is a bronchodilator, so that makes sense. I also notice the more effective breathing associated with meds.

In addition, I have also found that high adrenaline and excitement tends to have similar results to that of medications when I am performing.

mctavish23
04-28-10, 09:50 PM
In looking at the OP's question (again), it points out the disconnect that many people have

(or assume) about ADHD.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 10:04 PM
In looking at the OP's question (again), it really misses the point entirely about the

nature of the disorder (for those who truly have ADHD).

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)
To tell you the truth, I didn't even see a question in the OP's post. It sounded to me like he was just complaining about the scientific method; which is a bit cumbersome when you have to do a study to prove that college students are using stimulants for concentration and anti-fatigue effects... although on the flipside, seemingly common knowledge concepts have been proven wrong via this method, so it is necessary, especially for getting the public to realize that stimulants do not make you smarter.

Then again... the general public seems to put more weight on anecdotal reports rather than evidential, so it may just be moot in the end :-/

mctavish23
04-28-10, 11:35 PM
Just as an fyi,

I re read the question and then edited my post.

Your response was in reference to my orig posting.

I thought I "got it" better the 2nd time.

Either way, I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to the OP.

Thanks.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

PickMeUpRoadie
04-28-10, 11:37 PM
Just as an fyi,

I re read the question and then edited my post.

Your response was in reference to my orig posting.

I thought I "got it" better the 2nd time.

Either way, I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to the OP.

Thanks.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)
O. woops.

I doubted you were going to be disrespectful. It isn't your style.

No harm no foul, right?

Fierwing
04-28-10, 11:57 PM
To tell you the truth, I didn't even see a question in the OP's post. It sounded to me like he was just complaining about the scientific method; which is a bit cumbersome when you have to do a study to prove that college students are using stimulants for concentration and anti-fatigue effects...

I can pretty definitively assure you that the OP has no argument with the scientific method. She does have a bit of a problem with sloppy and/or misleading reporting, particularly reports covering scientific findings, and particularly those dealing specifically with mental health.

She also gets irrationally ****ed off when 'smart' is taken to be synonymous with 'academic achievement' as is done throughout the blurb linked to and the article it references.

The article itself is discussing research done in reaction to research editorials questioning the ethics of taking stimulants to improve academic achievement, and whether or not it's a moot question when there's no evidence that longterm academic outcome is improved by stimulant use - though frankly, it wasn't really the intended focus of this thread.

PickMeUpRoadie
04-29-10, 12:02 AM
I can pretty definitively assure you that the OP has no argument with the scientific method. She does have a bit of a problem with sloppy and/or misleading reporting, particularly reports covering scientific findings, and particularly those dealing specifically with mental health.

She also gets irrationally ****ed off when 'smart' is taken to be synonymous with 'academic achievement' as is done throughout the blurb linked to and the article it references.

The article itself is discussing research done in reaction to research editorials questioning the ethics of taking stimulants to improve academic achievement, and whether or not it's a moot question when there's no evidence that longterm academic outcome is improved by stimulant use - though frankly, it wasn't really the intended focus of this thread.
Understood, loud and clear; and I agree with the OP in the case you mention. I was mistaken in the intentions of the OP.

APSJ
04-29-10, 12:15 AM
Thanks Fierwing for that concise reiteration of the thread topic.

This thread has drifted a bit, and I want to remind everyone to please keep posts in this thread germane to the topic at hand, as per the forum's guidelines.

Members desiring to discuss other issues, such as the effects of stimulants more generally, are invited to start a new thread in the appropriate subforum. If members would like posts from this thread merged into such a thread, to allow discussions not suitable to this one to continue, please contact me by private message.