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Connecting Life With ADD - the rest of the story

Posted 03-24-08 at 10:11 PM by SMSPirate
What's It Look Like

Despite the reports that you can't "see" ADD, like you can see someone with a physical disability, a lot of school teachers tell parents what it looks like when your child has ADD. The physical signs are apparently so different than "normal" behavior, that we've medicalized the interventions and created ADD treatments. What does ADD supposedly look like? Considering the evidence that ADD is caused or at least impacted by a lack of phenylalanine, and thus a deficient amount of dopamine, at the very least, an ADD child is a restless soul. No dopamine; no contentment. As a result or as a byproduct, ADDers are destined by their genes to be always looking for it, and depending on their adrenaline levels, they'll either give up looking, retreat to some internal safety zone, or they won't brook a lot of interference in the quest. At the extreme end, they may fight you for interfering. When we're intent on our thoughts or activities, some of us block out other things so we can sustain our internal "high." Some of us go the other way and rebel, or fight. We become "inattentive," "hyper-focused," "impulsive," "difficult to deal with," "rebel against authority," and a whole host of other descriptive words you can find in any CHADD or NIMH report. We've already discussed how an entire pharmaceutical industry has responded to the words.

To the rest of the world, ADDers are the ones that refuse to go, whether it is quietly or not. People without that ADD gene get their dopamine in brain-produced, regular incremental doses – it takes a lot more to get them to either retreat, stop fighting, back down, or run. Non- ADDers simply don't feel the intensity and urges in the spikes and highs and lows consistently or in the way that ADDers do. Keep in mind that the gene is not affecting whether or not you ever feel the urges of classic fight or flight. Everyone feels these things keenly for reasons obvious to survival from time to time. The ADD gene and the chemical states it inspires simply make the stop and go process a lot more volatile, and make the person with ADD act very differently under certain situations and circumstances than their non-ADD counterparts. It also explains why so many people still think that ADD is a behavioral problem, not a genetic one, and that drugs, discipline, penalty and punishment are the way to handle ADD. The fact that everyone does ADD things some of the time is what makes it so difficult for the rest of the world to understand ADD. Let me rephrase that – the fact that everyone doesn't do some of the things more of the time is what makes it so difficult for the rest of the world to understand ADD. Why the rest of the world doesn't do them more often is what completes the dilemma cycle for the people with ADD.

Knowing that everyone acts like they have ADD some of the time should also make you aware that there are a myriad of ways to raise your dopamine on purpose without using dangerous chemicals and drugs. Most of them are ancient recipes still in use today by people all over the world. They are true miracle cures. Just like some of the drugs, they may have some bad side effects, like accelerated heart rate, irregular or increased breathing, occasional shortness of breath, changes in appetite, and even possible sexual side effects. Sometimes they're accompanied by fits of temper, sore throats, and nausea. When it's really good stuff, you may experience bouts of euphoria and prolonged states of drifting and dreaming. If you don't have it, you will eventually get sick, weaken, and die. This stuff is to be used with extreme caution! What is it? Its called satisfying, heart felt work, eating food that is good for you, and doing the things that make for good life and life long health. How odd. I like to call it, "find what you love, do it as often as you can, for as long as they'll let you do it!" Which do you want to use? Which do you want to show other people and our children the way to attain and use?

Don't get me wrong – I'm a child of the drug culture just like you. I take those NSAIDs and because of things like allergies and ADD I tell folks that I exist just fine through the benefits of modern chemistry. By the way – people with ADD are a lot more likely to have allergies because the adrenalin/dopamine system controls our auto-immune systems too! But there is a point where ease and lack of discomfort start to resemble those rats pushing the coke pedals in their cage. I think we're just about there. Life and technology and globalization of the economy are starting to make it pretty hard for everyone to "just say no," and if that isn't enough, here's another reason why.

Picture your life today – interactive experiences rule! Driving, eating, listening to the radio and talking on the phone, while your pal is in the car and chatting or singing along… all at the same time; this is NOT an unusual experience! Neither is opening an email, talking on the phone, typing, and filtering out "cube noise" while running to the next meeting and worrying about your kids, your car, your boss, your diet. With just these two examples, it is easy to see how understanding learning disabilities, and ADD, where motivation, attention, focus, learning and self-regulation are continually at issue, can be of immense value in creating personal, educational, and professional strategies for everyone's daily life.

I've spent 27 years in the technology industry, specifically intrigued by what the technology is doing to people – maybe even to our genes. After working on a lot of very large enterprise and standardization initiatives I started to notice something that may prove important for our future: People, and the organizations they work in, during massive change and technology implementation, act just like kids with ADD. Recently some research came out on ODD (oppostional defiant disorder) that showed people under ODD influence were experiencing primitive brain reactions from the amygdale and other "fight or flight" areas in our brain. Things like road rage and public outbursts are spawned in this anxiety control center. People with ADD are thought to be more dependent on these primitive brain areas since they don't fully use the more recent brain structure – the executive function area or prefrontal cortex, where most of our self-regulating and social control behaviors begin. Stress, unfamiliar situations, threatening conditions, and long periods of worry, fear or uncertainty also move brain functioning away from our regulating executive function areas and further into these primitive areas of fight or flight response. Basically, the more something bothers us, the more likely we are to have an unregulated, gut or knee-jerk response. Even though researchers are spending millions of dollars and hours on studying these phenomena, I don't think anyone is particularly surprised that they happen or how and why they take shape.

I'll leave the rest of the researchers and the scientists to test that out, but essentially, here we are today. We're faced with being required to do more with less, multi-task, and manage multiple people, requirements, and deadlines – all while we're supposed to be nice to each other, and all while we're simply following the directions and the rules of the people who say they know how you should be doing what they tell you to do. That scenario is a classic ADD disaster, waiting for a place to happen, and if you doubt it, just ask your local police officer, school teacher, or anyone else dealing with enforcing rules. Ask any of these folks because they are all on the front lines of dealing with people who have ADD, whether it is genetically present or induced by some event or episode in the environment .

Like it or not, dealing with it or not, here we are. We all know the good and the bad of where we are and what we like or what we don't. We struggle to change the things we can, and to reconcile ourselves to the things beyond our impact or control. We also know the penalties involved if we rebel. But since either God or genetic variation has led us to an infinite number of possibilities, let's take the time to get over the "good vs bad" judgements, and start on a path of improving and understanding where we, the human race, has arrived at today. Even more important; where is it taking us in the future.

Do we really need to treat ADD? Has the human mind reached it's capacity to keep up with the speed of today's world? Are today's epidemics of obesity, learning disorders, drug use and teen rebellion indicating something more than meets the eye? We may be experiencing evolution in action! As we try to keep up with the speed of technology and change, our brains are either keeping up and changing to meet the demands or they are lagging behind. Both processes trigger fundamental behaviors and physiological and psychological change that is happening quietly in our genes and throughout our body.
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Total Comments 2


  1. Old
    Mincan's Avatar
    Fascinating. I am happy being me. With or without meds. But I prefer meds for success...
    Posted 04-09-08 at 09:34 AM by Mincan Mincan is offline
  2. Old
    meadd823's Avatar
    Technology being the cause of ADD that is why primitive people's in Keyna have ADD too -
    Posted 10-28-08 at 11:17 AM by meadd823 meadd823 is offline
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