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The Working Memory Training bandwagon could soon be screeching to a halt, at least when it comes to much-promoted viability for ADHD, given results from two recent studies that undercut previously made claims.

This comes as no surprise to me. Years ago, I participated in a list serve of ADHD professionals. When I dared to question the validity of new, unproven programs such as CogMed (which is discussed below), I was roundly castigated by psychologists who were using it in their practice.

Never mind the bias created by the profit motive; there was certainly insufficient evidence back then (circa 2008) to merit offering it to children or adults with ADHD.  From what I could tell among the list members who also had ADHD, they reported no improved function in life, but they enjoyed the training. All in all, it sounded like an expensive distraction to me.

More importantly, there is always an opportunity cost to pursuing these unproven treatments instead of evidence-based interventions such as medication and behavioral-therapy as well as structural supports (calendars, timers, visual organizing systems, etc.). Will an adult lose a job or a marriage? Will a child fail a grade or suffer other continuing losses to self-esteem?

As it turns out, my skepticism was well-founded. While initial studies were favorable, more recent research counters those studies’ conclusions. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s unsettling, at best, this idea that you might not notice the return of ADHD symptoms when you decide to stop medication. But it’s more common than most people realize.

A friend wrote to me last week, marveling at the difference in a co-worker’s job performance on medication and off medication. The co-worker didn’t seem to notice mounting problems at work, but the evidence was all there in black and white. Here is my friend’s account:

Last week, I found myself sifting through three years’ worth of notes, left by a recently fired co-worker at my office. What I found was both fascinating and disturbing.

This person was fired due to mistakes that rose to a very potentially serious level—serious in that they could have caused significant problems for both the office and the client if they had not been caught and remedied by other employees (including myself).

This person has an ADHD diagnosis (so do I). We work in the legal field. You simply can’t make mistakes in law. Obviously, human beings make mistakes. But you have to be as perfect as it is possible to be, even when you work as a support person in the office. You are paid to manage details, lots and lots of details. It’s detail management to a degree that I never would have imagined existed, prior to my first job in a law office.

Details. Details. Details.

It’s easy to assume that a law office would be a bad place for an ADHDer to work. I mean, we simply can’t handle details, right? For me, this issue all comes back to level of interest: We ADHDers are always at our best when we are engaged. And we aren’t all the same person—we all have different interests. Me, I find law really interesting, I find the work surrounding it interesting, the stories behind the work interesting, and, yes, I think that the drama of it all keeps me engaged. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now that the Australian show Kids on Speed? has aired, how was it?  Despite the sensationalistic, stigmatizing name and promotional material, did it offer anything useful? When I asked Shanti Roy, a photographer in Australia with late-diagnosis ADHD, for her opinion, she delivered this thoughtful report, along with some screen captures of local media’s coverage of the show. Thank you, Shanti.

My name is Shanti, 28, diagnosed ADHD – Primarily Inattentive, and I have been asked to write a guest post about my perspective of ADHD awareness in Australia and my reactions to the ABC1 show Kids on Speed?

First, my personal experience with ADHD in Australia. I was diagnosed surprisingly quickly, given that I have the lesser-known version of the disorder. No one really saw the symptoms in me, though, because I was withdrawn, quiet, and polite—and left to fail on my own. I doubt I would have been taken seriously if I had gone to my psychiatrist with my concerns about having classic ADHD. The assessment was done by the same psychiatrist who had previously diagnosed me with Asperger’s syndrome so he knew quite a lot about me already. After a short drug trial he was sure I had ADHD. I kept seeing him and would keep him up to date about my progress on the medication.

When I told friends and family I have ADHD, there was a lot of doubt; it was the usual “but you’re not hyperactive at all’” rhetoric. 
I’ve worked hard in my self-advocacy of ADHD to bring to light the different issues the non-hyperactive kind goes through. So, when I heard about the three-part documentary Kids On Speed?  to be aired on ABC1, naturally my interest was piqued. Overall, the documentary serves to open up rational debate about the medication issue in children with ADHD. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Zealand researchers have found preliminary evidence for vitamin and minerals improving the functioning of study subjects with adult ADHD and boosting the mood of those who had moderate to severe depression at baseline, according to the study published this month in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The fact that researchers used a broad array of 36 vitamins and minerals—rather than the customary single nutrient—marks at least one distinction in this study. But additional distinctions make this research worth noticing.

Details of the Study

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that a vitamin/mineral product was significantly better than placebo in reducing ADHD symptoms. The study subjects were 80 adults with untreated ADHD. At baseline and trial completion, laboratory tests were performed to measure thyroid function, serum lipids, prolactin, fasting glucose, blood clotting, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and copper levels, urinalysis and urine drug screen. Read the rest of this entry »

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When a so-called documentary maker in Australia entitles a show about ADHD “Kids on Speed?” no one can possibly believe the goal is edification. The object is clearly sensationalism, money making, and fame-seeking on the backs of children who have enough problems. In short: It’s bullying behavior.

All Australians affected by ADHD should read this guest post from advocate Julie Appleton and, if you agree, contact the ABC with your protest; information below.

– Gina Pera

Greetings from Australia! Here, January and February are annually regarded by the media as “ADHD HUNTING SEASON.” That is when we get the most blatant biased, sensationalised headlines that cause nothing but heartache, frustration, and friction in families already struggling to deal with ADHD.

This year is no different.  We are hoping that you can spread this information far and wide and build up enough irate emails to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) that they change the inflammatory title of this program: “Kids on Speed?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Readers often ask my opinion on the various “brain-training” programs–computer-based activities that ostensibly improve brain functions in children and adults with ADHD.  My personal opinion is that I’ve seen no evidence that these games transfer into real life; that is, one’s scores might show improvement but does real-life functioning? And, in fact, I’ve wondered if these computer-based activities actually exacerbate the problematic addictions that many people with ADHD experience with electronic information.

Now a meta-analysis of existing studies conducted by a team of researchers at two universities casts  doubt on the utility of these programs.

“We found that these treatments are not effective for treating children with ADHD,” said Michael Kofler, assistant professor and director of the University of Virginia Curry School of Education’s Children’s Learning Clinic. “They don’t improve ADHD symptoms or behavior, they don’t improve academic achievement, and in many cases do not improve the cognitive functions they claim to target.”

“Parents are desperate for help,” said psychology professor Mark Rapport, who runs the Children’s Learning Clinic IV at University of Central Florida. “If they can afford it, they are willing to spend the money, and some parents even enroll their children in private schools because they offer these cognitive training programs. But there is no empirical evidence to show those investments are worthwhile.”

Rapport says he initiated the study because many parents whose children are evaluated at the clinic ask if they should invest in the programs. The study is featured in the December issue of Clinical Psychology Review.

The bottom line: Before spending thousands of dollars on these highly marketed programs, please consider the evidence.  You can read more about the study at the University of Virginia site and this University of Central Florida site.

–Gina Pera

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“ADHD makes a great excuse. The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults. It can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”

Richard Saul, MD, author of ADHD Does Not Exist

That’s the ticket! You think of your own or your loved one’s ADHD diagnosis as “exciting.”

If you’re depressed by sensationalistic headlines such as “ADHD Does Not Exist” or quack physicians marketing their unique ability to “find the root cause” of ADHD, then you should skip this post.

Before you go, though, take heart. Remember that the Internet is the Wild West for self-promoters and hucksters. It is not the real world—the world where serious people devote themselves to researching, treating patients, and developing helpful strategies for people with ADHD and their families. The preponderance of medical and scientific evidence says that ADHD Does Exist. And, that is not going to change. We will only continue to refine our knowledge, as has been the course of this condition in the medical literature for centuries.

It has been a long time since the ADHD Roller Coaster Hall of Shame  has named new inductees. And, it’s with a heavy heart that I do so now given the flurry of recent headlines. Read the rest of this entry »

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Small publishers receive only small discounts on Amazon.com. But you can purchase my 369-page book for almost 40% off the list price ($21.95) and almost six dollars less than Amazon’s current price of $19.76: Only $13.95 for a book that truly creates positive change. Thanks to a discount directly from the publisher.

To get this deal:

1. click on this link.

2. Look for “paperback” and under that click “new”

3. Look for the first choice: 1201 Alarm Press. Click “add to cart”

Free shipping to Prime members and to orders more than $35.

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This post updates a previous post with more information and photos of the new generic Concerta products.

Why the concern about the new generics for Concerta?  Here’s why.

It can take much trial and error to find the ADHD medication and dosage that works best for an individual. Once it’s found, it’s understandable that we don’t want it monkeyed with. So, when long-time Concerta users found that it had stopped working or was working less effectively, they were understandably alarmed. Some worried that they had “habituated” to the medication, but that is not typical for the stimulant medications. Others worried that something else was interfering—extra stress, a flu or cold, etc. Fortunately for some, they found the ADHD Roller Coaster blog and traced that change to their prescription being filled with one of the new generics. Read the rest of this entry »

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If you are an Amazon customer, I’d greatly appreciate your using this page to begin all your shopping expeditions (you can just bookmark it as “Amazon”). If you do, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price, with no extra cost to you and no record of your purchases.

Since starting this blog, I’ve not allowed advertising. Readers often find it messy and distracting, and I could not control which ads would appear; I did not want to be seen as endorsing products that would not otherwise gain my support.

Still, much work and expense goes into blogging and the rest of my advocacy. A small bit of support helps to defray costs and, more importantly, tells me that readers value my work. That helps to keep me going!

So, if you can please start all your Amazon shopping expeditions at this link, I would greatly appreciate your support. Thank you!

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