ADHD: A Dialogue With a Non-Believer, Part Five

Dear Sir,

It was with some interest that I read the article What You Should Know About Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward W. after having it handed to me by a member of our church. There were elements of the article that were insightful, helpful, and needed to be said in a public forum, especially the discussion of the moral and spiritual dimensions of behavior. For this part of the article I applaud Mr. W.

However, Mr. W's discussion on the physiological/biological aspects of ADD ADHD was lacking to the point of being misleading to the readers. I am sure that Mr. Welch had no intention of misleading any readers, as that would hardly reflect the "biblical guidelines with which to understand ADD" that he seeks to communicate. Therefore, for the sake of clarifying some details, may I present the following evidence. Perhaps in the near future you would run an article that would present some of this information to your readers, so that they have an accurate understanding of the disorder.

We continue the dialogue here in part five, Mr. W turns his attention to medications used to treat ADHD. He writes,

"That a stimulant drug would help some children focus seems paradoxical. You would expect that children would be even more physically and mentally excitable when taking it."

First, the effects of Ritalin, or any stimulant including caffeine, are not "paradoxical" in ADHD individuals. They are predictable. And they are effective.

Two significant contributors to ADHD are a lack of dopamine, or an effective lack of dopamine, in the frontal lobes, and a restriction of blood flow in the frontal lobes. Research supports this.

Stimulants, from caffeine to Ritalin, are known to do two things well: increase blood flow, and increase dopamine levels in the brain. Therefore it is not paradoxical at all. One would expect that stimulants would increase performance for individuals with this condition, and they do in about 75% to 80% of the cases.


"One thing, however, is clear. Ritalin does not treat any known chemical deficiency in a child's brain."

What research supports this position? Why is this "clear?"

Ritalin does in fact "treat known chemical (deficiencies) in a child's brain." It does in fact increase the utilization of dopamine. This action and benefit is similar to other medications, such as antidepressants, used treat other known brain chemical deficiencies such as a lack of serotonin.

While it is true that stimulants to not "fix" the condition, this does not take away from its usefulness. Insulin does not "fix" diabetes either. But in the short-term, stimulants, like Insulin, works to "normalize" or at least "improve" the situation. To say that stimulants "are not a cure" is true. Insulin is not a "cure" either. But both are helpful.

Thank you for your time in considering this perspective.

This is the end to part five of this discussion. You can learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by visiting the ADHD Information Library's family of web sites, beginning with http://www.ADD101.com.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.

In The News:

The Year in Pandemic Parenting  The New York Times
Solving the parenting puzzle  Telangana Today
A Way Forward for Working Parents  Harvard Business Review
Parenting Tips For Newborns  The Star Online
Single Parenting in a Pandemic  The New York Times
10 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe Online  Autism Parenting Magazine

Will My Doubts and Fears Affect My Child?

"Will my doubts and fears affect my child?" This father... Read More

How to Set Healthy Limits at Work

Back in college, I wrote for a five-day-a-week, award-winning campus... Read More

Stroller Safety Tips

Strollers offer a wonderful and convenient service to parents and... Read More

Old-Fashioned Ways to Inspire Children

"Walk through any toy store and you will see walls... Read More

Tips for Single Parents

Prioritize. Learn to say No. Steal some time for yourself.Don't... Read More

A Guide To Help You Teach Your Children Positve Self-Image Through Fitness

Raising a pre-teen or teenage daughter (or son) is not... Read More

The Graceful Art of Defrazzling - For Mothers

"I wipe my baby's chin with my college diploma and... Read More

Simple Tricks To Help You And Your Kids To Find Friends

One of the most prevalent problems of the computer age... Read More

Teaching Your Children About the Value of Money

We take it for granted that children know how money... Read More

Unilateral Disarmament - The First Step to Improving Communications with Your Teenagers

Many times, we are so conditioned in how we speak... Read More

Diana, Princess of Whales

Younger generations unfortunately will not understand how larger than life... Read More

Child ADHD - Deciding Where to Draw the Line

The wonderful adaptability of children in dealing with the challenges... Read More

Protect your Kids Early with Safety Glasses

What exactly makes safety glasses different from regular glasses? There... Read More

How to Help Your Child be Successful in Kindergarten

Your child's first year of school should be a fun... Read More

How to Silence Your Childs Inner Critic

Children do what feels good to them and follow their... Read More

Back to School Feng Shui

Every school year parents and students dutifully trudge through the... Read More

How to Foster a Love of Reading and Writing in Your Child

The key to lifelong learning is reading and writing. When... Read More

Labeling is Disabling: Achieving Congruent Communication

A small town, somewhere in the world, was managed by... Read More

Are Public Schools A Menace To Your Kids? -- 11 Danger Signals

Parents, do you have children who do poorly in school,... Read More

Raising Teenagers? Stay C.A.L.M.

Parents of teenagers frequently ask what can be done to... Read More

Nothing Like a Mothers Love

Travel is a common theme in my life -- probably... Read More

How To Teach Children Loyalty and Dependability

Individualism is a common thing in today's modern society. Many... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Truth or Lie?

Attention all parents of teen-agers. Here is an important, groundbreaking... Read More

Navigating in the New World: Parents and Teenagers Growing Together

One of the most prevalent myths of our modern culture... Read More

Co-sleeping, a personal story

When I was pregnant, we knew that we had some... Read More