Welcome to our site. We are three friends, all with ADHD. We have experience in chemistry, philosophy of science and research, so we do have the experience to to see, when reading research publications in scientific journals, the errors in some of the researchers’ methods and conclusions. Not having been conditioned to think in a certain way gives us the freedom to look at the subject with a fresh perspective.
We became interested in ADHD after one of us, Vic Magnet, moved to Eastern Europe, where he came into contact with social orphans at some local orphanages. This site was started by him, but due to illness (not ADHD related) he was unable to keep the site going. John Parke liked the idea of the health aspect of ADHD and took over running this site ADHD Health.
Our knowledge of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), before we discovered we ‘had it’ at the end of our careers, was limited to what I had read in newspapers and magazines. As we dug deeper into the subject as retired chemists, we found this to be an exciting and challenging topic to write about.
It has been a fascinating journey, during which we have discovered that we have adult ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and had ADD in our school years. We were not hyperactive, although we were normally active, enjoying sports. We were not difficult children in the classroom, as we were merely ‘lazy’ daydreamers.
My (Charles) background is in organic chemistry and philosophy of science. I have worked in managerial positions in multinational chemical companies, including a pharmaceutical company. Observing ADHD has brought together my past background in science, with an insight into my ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperfocusing Dysregulation) personality.
I (John Parke) have been aware that I was different all my life. When I was in primary school I noticed other pupils were able to do certain tasks without any problem, but I struggled. Yet I was better than them in other areas.
When I talked with my grandmother, who’s family was ADHD, she said that there was nothing wrong with me. I was just different. And then she gave me great advice when she said, “You are different, but don’t expect others to understand you.”
After that, I accepted that I was different and learned coping strategies by myself. So I am, in effect, a self-taught ADHD coach. Among the skills I taught myself was to rein in my impulsivity. This went well until I was about 20-years-old. Then a friend offered me a stimulant. He waxed lyrical about how it helped him focus when he was studying. That sounded good. I had no Idea there was anything like ADHD and that there was medication to “cure” it.
What happened after I tried this, what is today an ADHD medication, was that I lost my inhibition and ability to control my impulsivity. When I came to my senses, I realized that this was not a good thing to take. I swore never to take a chemical like that again.
I behaved in a way I would not normally have done. It was not “Me” to behave like that.
Attention Deficit Hyperfocusing Dysregulation vs. The Disorder
Our personal ADHD is not a disorder. It is an Attention Deficit Hyperfocusing Dysregulation. In certain situations we have an attention deficit, but in other situations we have the ability to effectively and efficiently hyper-focus. This is not something we can self regulate as in, “In the next hour I will hyper-focus.”
It depends on the situation and circumstances whether we will be attention deficit or able to hyper-focus. Thus the term “dysregulation.” But we can control it as far as we are able to control oury environment and situation
This means that we must avoid work environments where we are likely to be disturbed, as in open-plan offices. If we can take the problem to be solved into our own office, close the door and be left alone without phone calls and other distractions, then we can work hyper efficiently. our thinking is different from that of normal cognitive thinkers who seem to be in either beta, theta, or alpha, but not in all three at the same time.
When I (John) discuss how I experience thinking, I feel I think differently than the average cognitive thinker does. I think more intuitively, and less cognitively. It feels like I am in an alpha-beta-theta brain state. I get into a state that feels like being in both wake and dream state at the same time. Then my mind buzzes and I am on the roll.
Coming out of that state by myself feels good, but if I get out of it through an interruption, then it feels slightly traumatic. Like a shock. I feel irritated and can be irritable.
An example of the different brain thinking states is when I solve a problem in my head. A normal cognitive thinker gets the answer and is immediately able to say how he or she arrived at that answer. I might get the answer quicker, but I don’t know how I got the answer. If I try to work out how I got the answer, I have to engage my brain in a different way, to get that cognitive thinking going. This is slower than the average person doing the same problem.
So I can think more efficiently with my intuitive thinking style, than I can with cognitive thinking.
Your ADHD is unique
Each of us with ADHD has our own particular set of problems, depending on the “symptoms,” and our work and life situation and environments. There is a solution for you and your uniqueness. Find your solution before buying into the “disorder.”
Thoughts on ADHD research results
ADHD is a highly controversial subject because it is an intricate and complex emotional, neurobiological and developmental range of conditions. Most people believe what is stated authoritatively in scientific articles. This is often acceptable, but not when the subject is so controversial and affects people’s lives and happiness; especially when equally qualified experts have opposing views. These views are so opposite on this topic that many of the experts even say that there is no such thing as ADHD.
In these cases one needs to read published research articles with a fresh, objective perspective. The first question to ask as one reads the article is, “What are the presuppositions or preconceived ideas and assumptions the author had?” We all do this, first assume something and then use logic from that point on. If the first assumption is an error, then that error follows right through. Unfortunately, in the scientific world this question is rarely asked.
An example of this is one person states that the Sun goes round the Earth every 24 hours, and the other says the Earth goes round the Sun in a year. Both are correct from their specific perspective, and both think the other’s belief is ludicrous. Yet one perspective is wrong as it is based on a false assumption.
ADHD is seldom a stand-alone condition. Usually the person experiences emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression as well. That is why these topics are also covered on this site. Philosophy is basic to having a holistic understanding of the condition. Not only scientific philosophy, but also questions about the mind and brain, and thoughts and brain activity will be covered. These are questions that have occupied philosophers for eons and are still unresolved.
The research section will discuss ADHD, anxiety and depression research from different perspectives. The idea is to present the subject in a clear and informative manner.
Having Attention Deficit or having a hyperactive child means that difficult decisions have to be taken. It is important to be aware that different doctors have different views on this subject. The doctor is an advisor and guide. Ultimately it is the patient’s or the patient’s parents who decide what direction to go, and that is a very serious decision.
When it comes to treating emotional difficulties, there is no single solution that is right for everyone and a competent health professional should try to customize the approach to each individual’s issues and needs.
There will be other contributors on this site who view the Attention Deficit spectrum with an open mind.
We will attempt to give an objective overview of this subject, which suffers from polarization.
Background to ADHD Health – How This Site Started
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is generally accepted as a disorder, and therefore has the label ‘something wrong’ attached to it. Is this fair? I used to think so, from what I read in the mainstream press. Then I started working with orphans in northern Poland. Some of these children have clear attention deficit and/or hyperactive type behavior.
I was at the time ignorant about ADHD. So ignorant, I didn’t know I had it myself.
Ignorance is a good place to start if one is going to think outside the box.
There are many disorders that cause the same ADHD behavior as those described in the ADHD criteria.
If one is not preconditioned to think in a certain way, there is a freedom to look at the subject with a fresh perspective. So as I watched these children interact, I had difficulty seeing a physiological, or biochemical disorder, but rather saw hurt children misbehaving. What stuck out was the ADHD behavior was clearly situational, at least with these children.
This set me on a search to find out what ADHD actually is. On this road I discovered that I have adult ADD, and in my childhood definitely had this thing called Attention Deficit Disorder. I was not hyperactive, or hyperkinetic, so I was not a problem child and the ‘disorder’ was not noticed. Any hyperactivity was in my mind, not my body. I was boredom intolerant and had a mind that left the here-and-now classroom and floated into more stimulating mental environments.
Some of these children I met were on powerful drugs. Being a chemist I was appalled. Then I read a scientific article suggesting that semi-retarded children with disturbing behavior do well on certain antipsychotic medication drugs.
These children were not semi-retarded. Firstly even Einstein and Bill Gates did not do well at school. Secondly their behavior at school had a cause separate from the children. The majority of these children come from unstimulating backgrounds and are therefore emotionally and socially underdeveloped for their age. That is not semi-retarded. Most of these children were not by nature disturbing, it was their social/emotional situation, which caused their frustration in class and therefore their disturbing behavior.
Articles like that one above, suggesting antipsychotic medication, give the authorities an excuse to medicate these children into complaint behavior.
There are natural products that are more effective than those medications and without side effects; products such as:
- Attend (for attention difficulties),
- Memorex (for memory and clear thinking) and
- Extress (for natural stress relief)
These products have been scientifically tested and proved as effective as the stimulants, but without side effects, they work 24/7, and do not disturb sleep and help children focus.
The most serious error in the Attention Deficit debate is the diagnosis being anchored in a set of subjective symptoms in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) without any physiological test or neurological criteria. This is not science. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD are guidelines and not hard rules. The criteria highlight the problem, but give no clue as to the cause and therefore the optimum solution.
One of the DSM-IV age criteria (occurs before the age of 7 years old) which should be met, is an example of irrational reasoning. That children should be diagnosable with Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms before the age of 7, is arbitrary and has no scientific base. In fact from a scientific perspective it confuses the issue. There are more adults with Attention Deficit than there are children with it. In the United States there is an estimated 8 million ADD adults with Attention Deficit. Most of these people were not diagnosed as children or adolescents, let alone before the age seven.
I was diagnosed when I was 58 years old. I remember ADD symptoms in my teen years, but have no recollections of my ADD behavior before the age of seven. It is usual not to notice the ADHD Inattentive type until many years after after 7 years old.
There is a hysteria in some areas of the United States, where children are forced to take medication by schools. The same schools who pride themselves with being “drug free zones.” Parents are even being threatened by the child welfare authorities in some areas, if their children do not get medication.
This same medication, if sold in the local park or school corridor, would lead to a jail sentence for narcotics possession. When I was a teen this was one of the popular illegal drugs of choice. Surely there must be a healthier way to deal with the problem, especially with the side effects many experience.
There is a place for ADHD medication, but the medication used for ADHD are powerful drugs which do not cure at all. They merely suppress symptoms for some hours; the symptoms are back unchanged as soon as the medication wears off. This treatment is useful if the ADHD is so intense that it is not possible to benefit from coaching, therapy or brain gym. The medication can then legitimately and ethically be use to quieten the mind, so that the real treatment can be given. The lasting cure is through diet with supplements, which is food, coaching, therapy and brain exercises.
The long-term effect of these drugs are unknown. Clinical trials last a few months. There is nobody who knows the result of continuous use over a lifetime for a particular individual. Surely the answer sought should be a permanent solution.
Being ignorant of my condition, yet understanding that I was not like others, I learned coping skills. My self-medication was strong coffee and green tea. My experiments with amphetamines did not impress me. I did not know they were supposed to help me feel “normal.”
It might be a disorder of western society if a recently published research paper is anything to go by. Researchers studied a population in northern Kenya. There were two groups, both belonging to the same tribe. The one lived a settled semi urban lifestyle and the second group continued the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the tribe. The attention deficit individuals in the sedentary group had emotional problems and a shorter life span than their nomadic relatives. The conclusion was that a nomadic lifestyle suits the ADHD personality.
ADHD was not a known problem until the Industrial Revolution.
Solution: Educate, Empower and Energize
ADHD need not be a curse. For many it can be a gift. To bring out the full potential of the gift, three steps are needed, to educate, to empower and to energize.
Understanding ADHD, what causes it and how it can be cured are the educational pillars on which our ADHD programs should stand.
There are many disorders that cause the same ADHD behavior as described in the DSM-5
As we learn about our individual ADHD, we begin to identify our symptoms and how we respond with behavior and attitudes. As we learn to manage our ADHD symptoms we are empowered. Learning to use strategies, tools and coping skills, taking advantage of our strengths and compensating for our weaknesses are all part of the empowering process.
As these tools and skills become second nature, confidence and self esteem develop to energize us to improve even more.
ADHD is very individual. The combination of symptoms vary as does the intensity of each symptoms. What is an ideal solution for one person is not necessarily right for another person. For a lifelong solution some form of lifestyle choice, ADHD coaching, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or Brain Exercise Therapy is required. Natural ADHD treatments bring out the positive potential within people with ADHD.
If your young child is showing some signs and symptoms of ADHD, then take action according to the behavior. A six to eight year old child is difficult to diagnose with ADHD. There are reliable strategies, tools and coping skills, which should be the first steps to reduce family stress. Then methods and strategies to develop and strengthen the child’s mind can be put into place.
A serious and responsible ADHD coach will be a good guide to choosing the correct therapy, both for children and adults. Most ADHD coaches have ADHD themselves. They were helped so much by being coached, that they have gone through coaching training, to make a career of helping others.
True ADHD is a personality type and not a disorder. The positive sides of this personality are an innate creativity, energy, ingenuity, intuitiveness and a hyper focused attention when active with something stimulating. These are the characteristics that have made many people with ADHD successes in their after school lives.
Many leading entrepreneurs, such as Sir Richard Branson, are successful, not despite, but because of their ADHD. It is very likely that Aristotle had ADHD. Other famous people with behavior that indicate ADHD were Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Picasso and the actors Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. A long list of people with ADHD have benefited humanity and brought us to where we are today in fields as varied as science, technology, economics, mathematics and the arts.