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TryingToFindTheAnswer

How Do You Deal With Ignorance Regarding Adhd?

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Posted (edited)

How do you feel about ignorance surrounding ADHD getting in the way of people who suffer from ADHD getting adequate treatment?

How do you do feel about ignorant people, who have black and white biased thinking that all stimulant medications are bad/evil and have no therapeutic purpose whatsoever, convincing those with ADHD that they shouldn't get adequate treatment that can improve their quality of life? Are these people helping or hurting others with their ignorance?

Are opinions that are based on emotion generally accurate considering that in the real world things are not black and white?

Why is there such a misconception that taking ADHD medications orally as directed are the same thing as snorting, smoking or shooting up high powered versions of stimulants for recreational use?

Edited by TryingToFindTheAnswer

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Posted

I will say, I have strong feelings surrounding how aggressively stimulant medications are pushed on little kids. My brother, when he was about 9, was pretty hyperactive, and his teacher flat-out demanded that he be put on Ritalin. He lost tons of weight and looked like a skeleton. Switched to Adderall and he just kept losing weight. At the same time, my other brother, who was 11 or so at the time, was stealing his pills and taking them for fun (both brothers were later addicted to illegal drug starting at ages 15 and 17, respectively). I think you really have to be careful about pushing medication on small children, and I feel the same about any psych medication - hearing about the high numbers of foster kids who are sedated to the gills by Seroquel or other antipsychotics, just because drug therapy is covered by Medicaid and talk therapy isn't...that type of stuff really makes me mad.

That said, I think that there is a huge amount of misinformation out there about stimulants and the role they play in mental health. For those of us with ADHD that impacts their occupational functioning, stimulants are a godsend. If I were to ever encounter someone with such a hard-line view (that stimulants have no therapeutic purpose), I would really press them on why they think that way. There are tons of people in the world addicted to opiate painkillers, but would we ever say that those drugs have no therapeutic purpose? Benzodiazepines, which save the lives of tons of people with epilepsy or anxiety disorders, are abused sometimes...but they definitely have an important role to play in medicine.The mere fact that one may become addicted to a substance doesn't necessitate that each person will become addicted. I think the mental health community is often singled out for its medications being "bad" or "addictive", just because people have mythical ideas that mental illness isn't "real" or is somehow "not as bad" as physical illness.

It reminds me of when Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology tried to advocate that women with postpartum depression just needed vitamins, not drug therapy. Why did they think that? Because they didn't see it as a physical illness. Opinions that are based on assumptions like the above (MI is not real, MI is not as bad as physical illness, MI is a result of personal weakness, etc.) are just wrong, and those people who hold those beliefs need to be educated about the correct use of ANY medication, whether it's muscle relaxers, painkillers, benzos, stimulants...

Funnily enough, those same people who think that stimulants are terrible drugs that cause a 180 degree swing from normal to meth-head, will usually readily agree that caffeine makes them feel more alert and better able to focus on their work. Do energy drinks make people into meth-heads? Hardly. But that's really what they're doing, is equating normal usage of a stimulant (let's say caffeine) to abuse of a stimulant (meth abuse, illegal drug, snorting adderall, etc.).

Forgive my rambling. I have lithium brain, ADHD, and no stimulants at all right now... so there may well be a more concise and focused way of saying what I've said above. Which is, to point, that equating normal use to abuse is a logical fallacy.

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Posted

Hi TryingToFindTheAnswer,

Unfortunately even with easily available information on what exactly ADD/ADHD is and is not, people will often remain ignorant because of being lazy and disinterested generally,

My view is that ADD/ADHD is pretty well established , people who want to know will find out and search the internet and articles to get more information. As for people who don't want to know well that is their choice.

People will have poor opinions on any mental health issues and that is a problem. However the people who matter often are up to date on conditions and treatments generally.

Best Wishes

Jim Bow

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Posted (edited)

larkspur and jimbow,

Thanks for your responses.

I agree that perhaps people shouldn't push drugs on kids. But I think that at least a child should be seen by a doctor and a diagnosis should be made if the disorder exists. This way when the child grows up to become an adult he or she has a record of being diagnosed as having ADHD. Then he or she can pursue getting medical treatment if the symptoms persist and this is something they want to pursue. It's difficult to get an ADHD diagnosis if it wasn't diagnosed at childhood. And it should be explained to the child that ADHD puts them at a greater risk for addiction and depression and can cause problems with concentration. Then they can make the decision themselves, as an adult (with a developed brain), to seek treatment or not.

I'm suspecting that I have ADHD along with depression. But my doctor seems to be the type that is reluctant to prescribe medication for adult ADHD. I'm going to be patient about it though until I get a straight answer on whether or not he's willing to see if standard ADHD medication will help. My main hope and reason for pursuing this is that it may help with the depression. I realize it may or may not help. I've been researching this and have been seeing alot of people saying that stimulants won't help with depression. This is black and white thinking as well. You could say the exact same thing about Zoloft or any other antidepressant not being effective for depression. Sure, all antidepressants are all barely more effective than placebo for a lot of people but are effective for some. Stimulants are no different.

I see a lot of people saying stimulants should never be prescribed for depression and any doctor who does this should have his or her license revoked. This attitude really annoys me. If a medication helps with depression then it doesn't matter if it's a stimulant or not. In this case the alternative is not being adequately treated and the depression getting worse with an ever increasing probability of death as a result. In cases where other meds aren't helping then aggressive treatment options must be explored. People don't seem to realize that depression is a deadly disease and the risks of using a stimulant (if it helps) are far less than the risk of death due to being inadequately treated.

Yes I'm going off on a tangent :)

Edited by TryingToFindTheAnswer

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Posted

Stimulants have been prescribed for depression since the 1960's... It's definitely a less popular strategy today, but stimulants can definitely help with depression. I know that, for me, taking a stimulant helps with social anxiety by making me more outgoing, helps with my motivation and reward feelings, and suppresses my desire to binge-eat.

Maybe stimulant augmentation for depression isn't for everyone, but if there's still a motivation deficit after trying SNRI's, a history of binge eating, etc then it can be a good choice.

I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD as a kid because I wasn't ever disruptive or hyperactive, I just wouldn't do the work that I deemed boring or uninteresting. I would ace tests, or churn out a good paper in an hour or two of work, and get by with a C. Once I got to college, and I was no longer mandated to have my butt in the chair, I really started to have worse issues with attention span. I never thought ADHD would apply to me, but my doctor's assessment plus my academic and family history resulted in an eventual diagnosis of adult ADHD-I...but that came after I was prescribed stimulants to augment my antidepressant. My doctor at the time was about 90 years old, so he was practicing medicine in the 60's when stimulants were used for depression, so he didn't see it as odd at all.

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Posted (edited)

larkspur,

Thanks for the response. Do you find that stimulants help with Anhedonia specifically?

Edited by TryingToFindTheAnswer

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