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Connecting Life With ADD

Posted 03-24-08 at 10:06 PM by SMSPirate
It bears repeating - more than 65% of the US prison population is made up of people with ADD and associated learning disabilities. Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorder; the list goes on and on. These are some of the "spectrum" problems that almost always accompany a core diagnosis of ADD. Out of sync anger, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, is now being classified under diagnoses guidelines by CHADD and treatments with and without meds are being defined. Wait a minute treatments for anger? Has this gone far enough? Ten years ago I approached my son's daycare director about setting up someplace in the school where kids could learn how to express their anger. I have yet to visit any classroom where anger is supported as a viable reaction to things in our environment, and where kids are taught the right application of it in the right setting. They are mostly taught that anger and violence are just bad; in fact, they are so bad, if you use them you'll be penalized, possibly medicated, separated from people who are "normal," and potentially end up in jail. Kids with ADD fall into this category more than 70% of the time. Most of the kids in our schools with ADD get medicated. Yet anger, violence and other behaviors are part of our genetic survival success story. Even though few of us today face daily life-threatening conditions to eat or to simply exist in a hostile world, it does not negate the fact that our success as a species is intimately related to the fact that we are meat-eating hunters, and at times, ruthless, angry, aggressive carnivores.

A Little Dose of Meds History

Let's step back a second and recognize one thing that is somewhat of a universal truth. When we take shortcuts, and sidestep things for convenience or quick solutions, the toll builds up and we end up paying for it somewhere down the line. Results are coming in for the shortcut route the "fix it with drugs" approach that we've been experimenting with for the past 50 or 60 years. The toll on the meds approach is slowly coming due. That toll has to do with all drugs legal, illegal, prescribed, over-the-counter, and otherwise ingested and obtained. Today, ADD has everything to do with drugs, mental 'illness', and other things in our society today that are driving our kids and our adults to outlets looking for what I'll soon explain are dopamine and adrenaline highs.

The stimulant drugs used as the accepted rule in treating ADD all have one thing pretty much in common. Somehow, somewhere, they act on your brain and/or dopamine. Adrenaline happens too, but it generally happens in tandem with dopamine. It works sort of like this if I'm contented (dopamine) I'll stick around and enjoy. If I'm not, adrenaline gets turned on and I start to move to a place or a thing that will make me content. When you get enough sensory input that things are not OK say, there's a bear chasing you the adrenaline overrides the dopamine and tells you to stop feeling content and RUN! Dopamine also tells your stomach to turn off and on it's safe to eat so take a load off and dig in. It also tells you when you've had enough, and its a real indicator in why overweight people so often say they eat because they're unhappy. No wonder there's always been a chocolate craze. Guess what chocolate does raises dopamine. Dopamine is also the stuff that rats wanted so bad after getting a taste of cocaine that they stopped pushing the foot pedal for food and sat there doing nothing but pushing the pedal that kept the cocaine induced dopamine "ridin on." (with apologies to Eric Clapton you know better now.)
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