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Scapegoating ADHD — Because It’s Popular

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Scapegoating ADHD -- Because It's Popular

As if people with a mental illness didn’t have enough to worry about.

One of the favorite media topics to write about is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a potentially serious mental illness that affects millions of Americans. It causes them to not be able to focus on everyday tasks that most of us have little trouble with. Many people with ADHD can’t sit still, interrupt others, and can’t wait their turn. Others find any kind of task that requires sustained attention simply impossible.

In the modern world, with so many devices and services competing for our attention, ADHD is at the heart of a perfect storm for those afflicted. While most of us juggle our attempts at multi-tasking seemingly well, those with untreated ADHD have a hard time just getting started.

So it makes me wonder: why are so many journalists quick to pick on ADHD?

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?Sluggish cognitive tempo is a long-time component believed to either be a part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or may be its own stand-alone concern.

Parts of what we now call sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) has been around since the 1960s, but it was in the late 1980s — long before any attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications existed — when researchers first demonstrated that SCT symptoms are probably a unique condition or sub-type of ADHD (Lahey et al., 1988; Neeper & Lahey, 1986).

In other words, the scientific foundation for sluggish cognitive tempo has been around for nearly 30 years. It’s not new. And it’s hardly news. Scientists regularly identify dozens of proposed syndromes or symptom constellations in their research. Only a tiny minority of them ever go on to become a recognized mental disorder or diagnosis.

But does SCT really exist? Is it its own condition or disorder?

Fidgeting Strategies that Help People with ADHD Focus

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Fidgeting Strategies that Help People with ADHD FocusWe’re taught that we need to sit still and focus on one thing when we’re studying, writing, working or engaging in other activities.

But for people with ADHD those things usually don’t work. They’re especially ineffective when they need to focus on tedious or mundane tasks. People with ADHD often work best when they’re doing something else, too.

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of Autism

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of AutismWith the latest CDC figures out, it appears autism is now appearing in about 1 in 68 children in the United States. The disorder — now officially known as autism spectrum disorder — is being diagnosed at a rate that represents a 30 percent increase from 1 in 88 two years ago.

What’s amazing to me is that I couldn’t find a single media report that floated the idea that this increase represents an overdiagnosis of the disorder. While “overdiagnosis” seems to be the first thing suggested when the topic is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’s (ADHD) huge jump in diagnoses over the past two decades, it’s not mentioned in any description of autism’s increase.

Why the double-standard?

Suicidal Ideation & Cyberbullying

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Suicidal Ideation and CyberbullyingBullying probably is as old as mankind. However, being a longstanding part of human behavior does not make it acceptable.

Studies have shown many problems associated with being a victim of bullying, including delayed growth and development; mental health problems; medical issues; poor academic performance; and more. Many of the problems caused by bullying can last into adulthood.

It is estimated that between 5 and 20 percent of children worldwide are victims of physical, verbal and exclusionary bullying. Suicide also is a significant problem, with almost 20 percent of adolescents in America having suicidal thoughts and five to eight percent attempting it.

Facing Down a Quarter-Life Crisis

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Facing Down a Quarter-Life CrisisCollege graduation day: You’ve made it! It’s a priceless feeling that you will never forget.

That diploma is still radiating through your fingers, as though it is some sort of golden passport. Before you even look down, to check to see if your name is spelled correctly, you have already booked your flight to the future and are well on your way. You hear the comforting voice of your flight attendant say “We will be taking off momentarily, please stow away any and all college books, research articles, writing assignments, forget about group projects, studying for exams and forget about rushing around campus to make it to class on time. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the flight, we will take care of the rest.”

You are now a college graduate. Congratulations! All of your hard work has paid off.

Parents: Helping Your Child with ADHD

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Parents: Helping Your Child with ADHDSome hype in the media has been made about an “over-diagnosis” of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But parents with children who actually have ADHD are left scratching their heads — why are some people demonizing their child’s disorder? Would a journalist go after pediatric cancer with the same gusto?

I don’t have the answer to those kinds of questions, but I do have some tips to share with parents of children with ADHD. Raising a child with ADHD presents unique opportunities and challenges. But it’s the challenges that can sometimes throw parents for a loop.

Why Social Networks Like Facebook Fail

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Why Social Networks Like Facebook FailAll online social networks eventually fail. Before Facebook, there was Friendster and Myspace — leaders of the social networking space in 2004 (just 10 years ago). Now they are relegated to historical footnotes, or the butt of some joke.

Facebook, too, will fail, even if it doesn’t look like it today. And that’s not due to any specific failing of Facebook, but rather of human nature and the psychology of online identity management.

Here’s why all social networks inevitably fail.

Millennials’ Problem? Depression & Few Skills in Conflict Negotiation

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Millennials' Problem? Depression & Few Skills in Conflict NegotiationI’ll start off by saying I don’t think it’s fair to any generation to claim you know what’s ailing them. I think a generation of people is so large and diverse, it’s hard to make generalizations that will apply to anything larger than a subgroup.

But that doesn’t stop both journalists and others from speculating about “what’s wrong with Millennials.”

For good reason — rates of depression are on the rise amongst older teens and young adults, hitting levels we’ve never seen before. Recent studies put the rate of depression as high as 44 percent among college students. Suicide remains a leading cause of death in this age group.

So is depression the problem? Helicopter parenting? Something else? Let’s find out.

Sandy Hook: Administration Promises $100 Million in Mental Health Funding, But There’s a Few Problems

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Sandy Hook: Administration Promises $100 Million in Mental Health Funding, But There's a Few ProblemsFrom 2009 until 2013, states have cut more than $4.35 billion from mental health funding for treatment and related services for those most in need in America. Yes, you read that right — $4.35 billion. In tough times, states always turn to cutting social services first.

The message states seem to be sending is, “Hey, we know you’re already poor, so if we cut services to you, well, how much worse could your life be?”

So it comes as a relief — well, a little relief — that the White House announced the rejiggering of some budgets to free up $100 million in funding of mental health services to states.

Is this enough of a response — or even the right response — to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre?

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?When we’re young, we may have certain visions of what our future looks like — we contemplate what we want to do, career-wise, in the years to come. Yet even if those desires change, perhaps you can retain your childhood dreams in other ways.

Home video footage depicts me as a young girl, running around our Brooklyn apartment, singing and dancing (apparently, Paul McCartney’s “This One” did wonders for that dancing urge).

The performing arts scene was number one on my list, and when the sixth grade yearbook asked all the 11/12 year-old graduates the classic question (“what do you want to be when you grow up?”), I had my answer.

ADHD Experts Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Manage Procrastination

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

ADHD Experts Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Manage ProcrastinationFor people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), procrastination tends to be a stubborn problem. “I don’t know anyone with ADHD where procrastination is not an issue,” said Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

That’s because this is the nature of ADHD and its neurological underpinnings. It’s difficult for the brain of someone with ADHD to get stimulated unless the activity is interesting, there are major consequences or there is a sense of urgency, he said.

“For people with ADHD, there are two time zones: Now and Not Now. If it is not happening now, the ADD-er will tend to procrastinate until it gets closer to the ‘Now’ zone.”

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