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Old 08-23-10, 01:02 PM
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Toward a fuller understanding

Just a short intro to break the ice.

I came across this site some time ago, while doing some unrelated research, and was struck by the unanimity with which so many on this board seem to hold of ADHD, namely, that of (mis)behavior as somatic disorder.

My own personal experience with ADHD started in grade school, many years ago, when I was "diagnosed".

In short, I cannot accept ADHD as a disease state of the brain, which is what "disorder" seems to imply. In the sense that I deviate from the mainstay of opinion on this site, I am sure to arouse some ire.

However, my aim is is to remain open-minded to those who have much vested in one's label. I will close with a quote that very much expresses my sentiments.

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster-it is an opportunity...In formal logic, a contradiction is a signal of defeat; but in the evolution (italics added)of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory.

Last edited by meridian; 08-23-10 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: delete dupe post
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Old 08-23-10, 02:02 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
struck by the unanimity with which so many on this board seem to hold of ADHD, namely, that of (mis)behavior as somatic disorder.
Do you believe that there are any somatic conditions which affect behavior?

In the case of AD/HD there is a lot of scientific evidence FOR the case of a brain disorder -- not a "disease" but a genetically transmitted developmental difference which results in behaviors which are out of the norm sufficiently and of such severity as to warrant the term disorder.

You are very welcome to disagree! Please feel free to make your case.

There is a very recent study indicating that a percentage of kindergartners in the US may be -- or have been -- misdiagnosed. How old are you now and what is your current status?

It is always tempting to take one's own personal story and believe the same is true for everyone else -- I do it all the time.
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Old 08-23-10, 03:12 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
not a "disease" but a genetically transmitted developmental difference which results in behaviors which are out of the norm sufficiently and of such severity as to warrant the term disorder.
The prevalent opinion is that ADHD-although no test has yet been devised to prove such- is indeed a "disease" state. As I understand the general discourse centering on somatic psychiatry, "disorder" is likened to "disease", although averredly, the former moniker does have a way of, simultaneously, "minimizing" the social impact of such stigmatization, as well as that of expanding the notion of disease.
My critique of mental illness, in general, is a social-semiotic one. As there is yet no medically reliable way of reifying mental illness as somatic, if there ever will be, I am inclined to read the mainstay of psychobiological theories (of any putative disorder or mental disease) as instrumentally useless and conceptually wrongheaded. Anyway, should individual differences, if such is not disease, still be treated as disease? Thanks!

P.S. What of my background? I was diagnosed when MBD was the given moniker.

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Old 08-23-10, 03:18 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

This is a fascinating topic, actually, which is addressed quite often around here. It is the fundamental question of free will. What is choice? What makes people act the way they do? What makes one person successful and another miserable? What makes a person both successful and miserable? Or neither? Where are the lines between 'different' and 'disabled'?

Some people have a cluster of characteristics that make them function differently than other people. Perhaps in an ideal world each individual's strengths and weaknesses would be explored, valued, and supported. But since 'ideal' is not at all we are working with, we need to deal with here and now. Our particular cluster of characteristics that give us so much in common on this forum are often in conflict with the way we are expected to function in society. So society looked at us and said, what's wrong with those people? And over the past decades of careful research, evidence has mounted that what is different about the way people like us function is that there are structural differences in how our brains have developed. It is hard for a lot of people to realize that your brain is just as physical as your liver and your lymph nodes. But it is, and if it is physically changed, mental changes happen, too, whether you want them to or not. And just as a person with a misshapen face cannot change how they look by pure willpower, and they cannot change how society reacts to their different looks, a person with AD/HD cannot change having AD/HD by willpower or wish away other people's reactions to our actions.

I love your quote: "A clash of doctrines is not a disaster-it is an opportunity...In formal logic, a contradiction is a signal of defeat; but in the evolution (italics added)of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory." Where did you find it? I am wondering, though, what clash of doctrines you are referring to. Is your doctrine that
1. you do not believe that there is such a thing as AD/HD
2. you believe there is such a cluster of characteristics, but they are not physical in nature
3. you believe that AD/HD exists but that it should not be labeled as a disorder
4. something else that I have not understood

Another, related question is whether you think those with AD/HD should have access to treatment and if so, what kind.

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  #5  
Old 08-23-10, 03:27 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
I was diagnosed when MBD was the given moniker.
Then you are as old as I am, well maybe not quite THAT old.

So what IS your theory I'd love to hear it. We've had someone recently saying it was an evolutionary defect in the human skull and another member postulated a blood flow issue.

Is there such a thing as AD/HD in your opinion? And if not, why not? And if so, what's the root cause? Or is AD/HD on a spectrum of human behavior that includes saints and sinners alike?
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Old 08-23-10, 03:31 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

If you are serious in your open-minded exploration of this topic, stop with the silver-dollar words. It is always a good idea to keep your audience in mind when you write. You are writing in a public forum, not a scholarly publication. And those of us who do write in scholarly publications still have to use vocabulary that is appropriate within that context.

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Old 08-23-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

A disease happens to you because you have come in contact with and/or reacted to a disease-producing stimulus. A disease can be cured (except in the cases where a cure has not been found or the disease is inevitably fatal.)

A disorder is a condition you are born with. It cannot be cured, although in some cases there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

The prevalent opinions among scientists and ADD specialists is that it is a disorder, with its predominant cause rooted in genetic heritability. People who characterize it (as well as autism) as a disease generally don't understand the difference.
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Old 08-23-10, 03:53 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
The prevalent opinion is that ADHD-although no test has yet been devised to prove such- is indeed a "disease" state.
Prevalent where?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
As I understand the general discourse centering on somatic psychiatry, "disorder" is likened to "disease", although averredly, the former moniker does have a way of, simultaneously, "minimizing" the social impact of such stigmatization, as well as that of expanding the notion of disease.
It is my understanding of psychiatry and the medical professions in general that disease and disorder have very similar definitions. Some issues are typically described as disease, others as disorders, although I am not certain exactly how the appropriate word is chosen and whether there is a definable pattern in their use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
My critique of mental illness, in general, is a social-semiotic one. As there is yet no medically reliable way of reifying mental illness as somatic, if there ever will be, I am inclined to read the mainstay of psychobiological theories (of any putative disorder or mental disease) as instrumentally useless and conceptually wrongheaded. Anyway, should individual differences, if such is not disease, still be treated as disease? Thanks!

P.S. What of my background? I was diagnosed when MBD was the given moniker.
More to the point, what is your medical background? Because some of the above strikes me as absurd. I don't mean to be offensive, but I have to wonder whether you have any idea what you're talking about, or whether you are sincere at all. I notice that you are not actually asking questions. You are making statements which you admit are provocative. What is your purpose?
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  #9  
Old 08-23-10, 03:57 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amtram View Post
A disease happens to you because you have come in contact with and/or reacted to a disease-producing stimulus. A disease can be cured (except in the cases where a cure has not been found or the disease is inevitably fatal.)

A disorder is a condition you are born with. It cannot be cured, although in some cases there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

The prevalent opinions among scientists and ADD specialists is that it is a disorder, with its predominant cause rooted in genetic heritability. People who characterize it (as well as autism) as a disease generally don't understand the difference.

I like those definitions, and I had started to write something very similar, when it occurred to me to wonder about genetic diseases. Huntington's or Parkinson's, for example.
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Old 08-23-10, 04:30 PM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

"A disorder is a condition you are born with. It cannot be cured, although in some cases there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms."

Well, this is certainly a tautological and water tight definition. The idea of mental illness, certainly as pertains to ADHD, is of a socially contigent disorder. However, the science does continue to get churned out, and rather chameleon-like...plus ca change. As for the "underdiagnosing" of ADHD in Kindergarteners, I do wonder, what might be the aims and motives of such a "revelation".

My take on mental illness does not-and cannot-assume the presence of any gold standard of disease. As it stands, there appears to be no agreement over the etiology of ADHD, although, again, theories do abound. My own research centers on the sociopsychological nature of labeling in the adult, notably, the persistence of one's "role" as disordered and mentally ill.

As to the latter statement, I must take into account that no two "ADHDers" are alike. But there does seem to be one overarching commonality, at least as is generally reflected on this site: The precept that ADHD (all other mental illnesses?) is a somatic disorder, and the belief that psychopharmaceuticals do "treat" "symptoms".

I see no disease, in the nosological sense (The Virchowian gold standard), and so, I see no treatment. However, if the liberal psychiatric establishment's mission is that of altering the individual to alter the social, then, in an important sense, the mental health profession serves as an important social engineer of the status quo, certainly in terms of those forms of "deviant" troublesome and troubling behaviour in the community.

I am presently recuperating from surgery, and have been doing a lot of reading, some old titles, some new. One book I have just read is by a Robert Whitaker(?), entitled, "Anatomy of an epidemic". Although I do not agree with all of the latter's "new-left" , anti-drugging critique, he does present some very compelling arguments against pre-emptive and long-term psychopharmaceutical treatment, i.e. people being made more ill and not given the chance to "cycle" through psychological reactions. Still, I really see nothing materializing from this tempest-in-a-teacup critique.

Nothing new under the sun.

Last edited by meridian; 08-23-10 at 11:55 PM.. Reason: added paragraph breaks
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Old 08-24-10, 12:21 AM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
As for the "underdiagnosing" of ADHD in Kindergarteners, I do wonder, what might be the aims and motives of such a "revelation".
What I meant by "misdiagnosis" was actually "over-diagnosis". The recent study appearing last week indicated that children in Kindergarten in the US are being over-diagnosed by as much as 12%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
But there does seem to be one overarching commonality, at least as is generally reflected on this site: The precept that ADHD (all other mental illnesses?) is a somatic disorder, and the belief that psychopharmaceuticals do "treat" "symptoms".
How do you distinguish between a fact and a belief in this context? I've been recently diagnosed with AD/HD and have previously been unsuccessfully treated with psychotherapy, SSRIs and tricyclics. Now I am being pharmaceutically treated for AD/HD with mixed amphetamine salts and NRIs with some pretty amazing success IMO. Am I imaging the difference? Is my experience a fact or a belief? What of the 10s of millions of others who are being successfully pharmaceutically treated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
I see no disease, in the nosological sense (The Virchowian gold standard), and so, I see no treatment.
OK I had to look up nosological . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
A chief difficulty in nosology is that diseases often cannot be defined and classified clearly, especially when etiology or pathogenesis are unknown. Thus diagnostic terms often only reflect a symptom or set of symptoms (syndrome).
The lack of clearly defined etiology or pathogenesis does not mean that the symptoms do not exist, merely that the causes are still to be determined. We can't create cold fusion or a black hole in the lab, but they exist nevertheless. No one has figured out the fundamentals of gravity either, but I guarantee you that if I drop a penny it will fall to the floor at a predictable rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
However, if the liberal psychiatric establishment's mission is that of altering the individual to alter the social, then, in an important sense, the mental health profession serves as an important social engineer of the status quo, certainly in terms of those forms of "deviant" troublesome and troubling behaviour in the community.
Well now you've inadvertently "outed" yourself and your agenda -- you have it in for the "liberal psychiatric establishment" and their "mission" as you perceive it.

I have found the psychiatric establishment to be rather too conservative and deliberate. I would never term them "liberal." I'm not sure why you do.

You still haven't presented anything beyond your opinion to refute the mountain of scientific research and evidence which clearly supports a neurobiological, extremely heritable causality for what we have unfortunately labeled AD/HD.

BTW, the "psychiatric establishment" did not seek me out to medicate me. I avoided them for 40 years until out of sheer desperation decided to try this route to sanity. I am very glad I did.

I hope you recover well from your surgery. Are you home or still in the hospital? I had a 4 day stint in the CCU a few years back and it definitely was NOT the way I would have preferred to spend my Christmas/New Year's vacation in Florida!

Hope you feel better soon.

Keep writing, this is interesting!
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Old 08-24-10, 01:00 AM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
A clash of doctrines is not a disaster-it is an opportunity...In formal logic, a contradiction is a signal of defeat; but in the evolution (italics added)of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory.
I'm never interested in a clash of doctrines or ideologies because it's uncivilized. Just tug of war played out with words. Have you considered simply conversation devoid of words loaded with artilery?


Weren't we supposed to have coffee?
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Old 08-24-10, 02:18 AM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

welcome to the forums !...I bet you are a very smart person, who we will have many a stimulatiing discusions with over the coming months .....gosh we're always glad to have people come here and show us the error of our ways and just how wrong headed we are .....


its a miracle .....we will see the light now, I am so glad you came .....can you try to speak actual English now so that ,my poor little stupid brain can understand what it is that you are saying ????? it's all way over my head....and if I need to learn this great revelation you have brought us, I need to spoken to as if I were a little kid ....I'm just not very smart like you are .....


now what is it that you are trying to tell us.....????
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Old 08-24-10, 03:52 AM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

thebabyalex,

i have a number of comments on individual lines from your opening paragraph, which i've noted below. all of them amount to one overarching question, which arises from your claim to be seeking knowledge whilst describing the forum membership using presumptious and dismissive judgments (and in light of your having quoted whitehead--who certainly grasped the importance of falsifiability):

is the position you've come to espouse one you hold dogmatically such that you are unwilling or unable to assess it critically as you believe it cannot be false?

(in other words: are you here to exchange, learn and grow, and consider information and experiences that might shape your position, or do you believe there is nothing more for you to learn and your position is infallible?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebabyalex View Post
In the sense that I deviate from the mainstay of opinion on this site, I am sure to arouse some ire.
i can only hope you aren't setting yourself up in opposition to what you perceive as the majority of forum members because you fancy yourself a gadfly of sorts.

Quote:
However, my aim is is to remain open-minded to those who have much vested in one's label.
can you truly be open minded to those you describe in such a derogatory fashion? your gross generalizations of the forum membership aside, the sentence quoted above amounts to a dismissive judgment about those who might disagree with you and a justification for not actually taking the time to consider viewpoints that oppose your own.

Quote:
A clash of doctrines is not a disaster-it is an opportunity...In formal logic, a contradiction is a signal of defeat; but in the evolution (italics added)of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory.
are you quoting whitehead here because you agree with him? which part(s)? process theology? pre-epistemic perception as foundational?
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Old 08-24-10, 04:15 AM
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Re: Toward a fuller understanding

When something like sickle cell trait is caused by difference in only one amino acid, which is caused by a substitution of one nucleotide by another only at one location in the DNA code for a relatively large protein...

Man, answers without nicely tied dogmatic bows are more than possible.

Look at the code, look at the code! I dare you!

Evidence has been stacking via surprisingly similar case histories,

Evidence has been stacking via macroscopic differences in brain shapes & sizes,

Evidence has been stacking via hereditary for a long time,


Evidence has been stacking on the molecular front, right where I am written down as A's, G's, T's, and C's.
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