Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ADHD and ADD: Problem or Solution?

Hi All,
    I will will start off by saying that I am not a doctor and I don't know too much about the things society regards as diseases called ADHD and ADD. Part of the reason why I don't know much is because the idea of it being a "disease" troubles me deeply. If anything, it might just be because it is over-diagnosed,and perhaps that is what I am really complaining about.
    Every now and then, I wonder if I have one of these "sicknesses" as I can't sit still for long and can be easily distracted. At night, I can have so many ideas racing through my head, that sleep has said goodbye for the night. Even if I sleep, I can find my sheets and pillows thrown on the ground in the morning, though luckily not every night. However, I'm one of those people who refuse to get an actual diagnosis because I don't think pills are the answer. In fact, I think there are natural solutions for the actual problems and there are a some elements that are not problems at all. 
    One of the reasons why parents seem to consider ADHD a disease is school. They want their kids to do well in school, and kids with ADHD have a reputation for subpar grades. To be honest, the main reason why I would see if I would be diagnosed with ADHD is to prove that reputation wrong. Despite how distracted I got, my grades were among the top of my class in both High School and College as I graduated Summa Cum Laude. This was even when I was in a mood to not care about my grades, but I still did my homework, studied, and asked questions. If I didn't understand the material, I would ask questions until it made sense logically and then I would be fine. I watched a Studio Ghibli movie the other day where a girl having trouble with fractions was asking how dividing fractions made sense. The way she said how it appeared to her was confusing even to someone who did understand fractions. The problem was that it was mixed up logically, so after I thought about it, I could give a proper explanation if asked. Sometimes, you just need to ask questions so someone can show you where you got confused.
    Also, if a student isn't grasping the concept he is supposed to be learning, maybe it's because the way the teacher was teaching the class was ineffective. My Algebra teacher talking about adding One Cat and One Dog does not get you a Catdog-hybrid to explain why 1X + 1Y does not always equal XY was perfect for me. My Biology teacher's practice of pausing the video every second was very ineffective. The other alternative is that he isn't asking questions when he has them so the teacher doesn't know he has to spend time explaining the concept.
    Back to the subject of school in general, it is unnatural. We talk about ADHD kids and their "disease" as if they are the ones not normal, but it's the concept of school that isn't right. One of my instructors asked a really good question to his class once. "Why is recess gone when you enter middle school? High school students need recess as much as little kids." It's true. Students need breaks where they can be freely active, not just P.E. but free. They need time to wind down and relax or space to go and play ball. Sitting at a desk for 6 hours is unnatural and unhealthy. ADHD people help bring to attention that people need to be active and to move around every few minutes. If we just sit in one unnatural position for periods of 50 minutes, then we are going to end up with backs and necks of 70 year olds by the time we're 35. It seems weird how health articles talk about how it's best to move around in the workplace, but it never mentions how it applies to school as well.
    Some people think they only need medicine to fix their problems. However, I have yet to find a pill that doesn't have a side effect. The ADHD pills might actually be causing more problems in the process of "fixing" one. If one of the problems is focus, consider this, is it more productive to take on  three tasks at once or to barely even do one? Someone I know with ADHD falls into the former category. He's done and learned far more than other people I know. I think ADHD actually helps in motivation. If seeing a project to the end is a problem, then that has to do with willpower and responsibility. Take care of those things and that won't be a problem anymore 
    As for my personal sleep problem, I've seen improvement after adopting a strategy. I try to stay off my laptop for an hour before I try to go to sleep and I try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. My time in Japan actually helped me with this as I noticed I could sleep well in I started a wind down procedure at 9 and was in bed by 10. If I missed the 10pm curfew because I was playing cards with friends, I had trouble sleeping for a long time even if I did the rest of the procedure.
    What do you think? Is ADHD a real problem? I know when I was sick once, I had a horrible time trying to focus and was wondering if that is what ADHD people feel like all the time. If that is the case, then maybe medicine is best. But if the problems are the ones I normally deal with, that isn't a disease and should stop being treated as one. Personally, some of the people I know with ADHD were some of the nicest and most sociable people, and that isn't a bad thing. You know what that is also called? Sanguine. It's a temperament and completely natural as a personality type. Makes me wonder if those who labeled it as a disease were the pessimistic doctors.

N. D. Moharo

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