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ADHD Definition and Research

The definition of ADHD is found in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition). This is the standard reference in defining mental disorders in research. Except for a few minor revisions, this manual is twenty years old.

The science these diagnoses are based on is from the 1980s. They do not reflect the advances over the last two decades. Our knowledge of the brain has increased twenty fold over this twenty-year period, mainly thanks to technology that was not yet invented in the 1980s.

The next version, the DSM-V, is being rushed out to keep to the timetable. It is due in the spring of 2012, but is behind schedule at the moment of writing (January 2011).

If you, your spouse or your child has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) you will be aware of the difficulties that come with attention deficit. But are you aware of the positive sides of the ADHD personality? Any treatment, cure or solution needs to take consideration of the strengths and positive sides to be really effective.

Treating ADHD symptoms can be difficult enough if you know what you are doing, but if you are following the crowd and follow wrong treatment advice, it becomes more difficult in the long run. ADHD solutions need to be for life, and not a quick fix for the moment.

We should not kill off our creativity, enthusiasm and sparkle to be able to concentrate. That is where natural formulated supplements are superior to ADHD medication. A supplement formulation like Attend which is without side effects or diminishing your creative, enthusiastic spirit, is as effective in dampening attention deficit and hyperactive symptoms as ADHD medication.

Problems with DSM-IV ADHD Definition

Since the DSM-IV is the ADHD definition we need to understand a little background about this statistical manual of mental disorders. One important fact is that it refers to statistical data. Are you or your loved one a statistical data? If not, think on these things:

  • The DSM-IV ADHD definition is categorical. You have six of nine criteria, you have ADHD, but if you have five of these nine criteria you do not have ADHD. That is statistically and by definition.
  • Real life ADHD symptoms vary dimensionally. They vary from sometimes and mild, to nearly always and severe. Someone with four of nine criteria that are severe has more of a problem than someone with nine out of nine criteria, but mild.
  • There are no objective medical tests to determine if someone has attention deficit or hyperactivity. The “tests” are either subjective, relying on parents’ and teachers’ attitudes and opinions, or artificial and are not relevant to the lives of the children tested.

Few researchers and doctors who regularly use this manual for reference have read and understood the introduction to this manual. If they had, they would understand the difference between a categorical definition and a dimensional real life set of symptoms. They would also understand the use of the word “disorder” does NOT mean a disease, illness or sickness.

This is a serious oversight. Over the last three years I have looked at hundreds of articles published in peer reviewed scientific journals and found the vast majority of these authors and peer reviewers have not understood the introduction to the DSM-IV. This includes many of the leading researchers in the field of ADHD psychiatry.

If you want a lasting solution to ADHD, there are natural cures, strategies and treatments for ADHD symptoms.

Good science is not about quantity of research, it is about the quality. Hundreds of peer review papers are cited by these mainstream ADHD researchers, often supported by the pharmaceutical industry, to support the idea that ADHD is a biochemical imbalance or that amphetamines or Strattera are safe and effective treatments.

However, there are no long term, research papers with a robust methodology. These ADHD researchers produce consensus statements to prevent healthy debate. They are backed by the pharmaceutical industry where like-minded, academics agree that ADHD is this biochemical disorder.

If it is a dopamine imbalance, then I ask one question. How do they explain how the child who was dopamine deficient at school can be perfectly focused and concentrated half an hour later at home while engaged in a favourite pastime?

Mainstream research has no adequate ADHD definition and we who are affected by attention deficit in our lives need to come to terms with how it affects us individually and develop the optimum lifestyle and coping strategies to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

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