Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD
What’s behind this?

From Newsday:

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday. Boys 12 to 18 years old are the most heavily prescribed, with about 9.3 percent on ADHD drugs in 2012.

Almost 4.8 million privately insured people were on ADHD medicines in 2012, the report said. Those with the disorder have problems paying attention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.”

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Your opinions are welcome.

Play Attention, Parkinson’s, & Alzheimer’s

Play Attention, Parkinson’s, & Alzheimer’s

When I first met George two years ago, he was unable to find his way out of his living room in his house. He had been diagnosed six years earlier with Parkinson’s disease and early dementia caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

George had been president of his own engineering company, was an avid golfer, and loved being outdoors. Unfortunately he had to sell his company, give up golf, and was fairly confined to the indoors. He could no longer read or write and was very depressed.

I’ve been using Play Attention with George two or three times a week for two years. Now he can identify and go to any room in his house, practice golf on the Wii, read or listen to short stories, and answer comprehension questions. We go outside for long walks to enjoy nature. He and his wife can go out to dinner, go to the movies, and participate in a bible study group.

Although I use several therapies with George, his favorite is Play Attention! I believe this is because Play Attention gives him back a sense of control over his mind, and by extension, over his life. Even while Parkinson’s disease slowly robs him of body control, Play Attention allows him to retain his mind and memory control. This is crucial for his psychological and emotional well being.

George scores between 70% and 90% on the Play Attention games. He has moved through the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. I put Velcro on the space bar so he can re-establish his finger position if the tremors interfere with his hand. On games where the mouse is needed, I move the mouse while he focuses. George loves Play Attention and takes great pride in his success.

For most people with neurodegenerative disorders, (i.e. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.), their greatest fear is increasing loss of independence and control of their lives. This can lead to loss of hope and severe depression.

I have seen the difference Play Attention can make in the lives of both PD and AD clients. While Play Attention can’t cure such diseases, I’ve seen it certainly slow the progression and restore quality of life. They feel a return of confidence, self control and self esteem. Play Attention gives them hope and a more positive attitude with which to live their lives.

Submitted by Nancy Thomas
Brain Fitness Center
Raleigh, NC

ADHD Isn’t Real

ADHD Isn’t Real
Pediatric neurologist claims ADHD is a sham

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A controversial upcoming book by Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Richard Saul, is titled, “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.”

ADD was first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual(“DSM”) in 1980. Its name was changed to ADHD in 1987 and diagnoses have skyrocketed to reach all time highs. Dr. Saul claims that ADHD shouldn’t even be in the DSM.

“ADHD makes a great excuse,” Saul notes. “The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults — it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”

Dr. Saul bases his conclusions on his many years of treating patients. He concludes that ADHD is nothing more than a collection of symptoms and not a disease. ADHD is often called a ‘garbage pail’ diagnosis as many different symptoms are often dumped together to make the diagnosis.

Dr. Saul sought out different causes for his patients’ symptoms. He found that by searching deeper into his patients’ specific situations, he could make a proper diagnosis and resolve their problems. For example, Dr. Saul treated a young girl who was unruly in school, but it turned out to be that she couldn’t see the blackboard and only needed glasses. Another example he cites was a 36-year-old man who thought he had ADHD was simply drinking too much coffee and not getting enough sleep.

Dr. Saul lists other causes that are associated with what he considers a wrongful ADHD diagnosis:

Fragile X Syndrome (a genetic mutation linked to mental retardation)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Learning disabilities
Substance abuse
Poor hearing

Not every case needs to be diagnosed concludes Dr. Saul. For example, Saul treated a female adult who was convinced she had ADHD and who had been prescribed stimulants. Saul realized she was not coping with her life because she was greatly overwhelmed. He simply advised her to return to regular exercise and cut back on her work schedule.

Your opinions are welcomed.

ADHD Meds Linked to Priapism

FDA Warning & Label Change
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Methylphenidate, also marketed as Ritalin, has been noted to cause tics, heart problems, weight loss, and sleep problems. It has now been linked to a rare risk for priapism in males taking the stimulant for the treatment of ADHD according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA disclosed in a press release that the stimulant may in rare instances cause prolonged and sometimes painful erections (priapism). In light of this, the FDA has updated drug labels to alert the public to this rare but serious side effect which may lead to permanent penis damage. The FDA warns (similar to Viagra) that patients who take methylphenidate and develop erections lasting longer than 4 hours should seek immediate medical treatment to prevent long-term problems with the penis.

The FDA also warns that nonstimulant ADHD drugs like atomoxetine (Strattera) have also been associated with priapism in young children, teenagers, and adults. Priapism appears to be more common in patients taking atomoxetine than in patients taking methylphenidate, so one has to cautiously consider atomoxetine products as alternatives to Ritalin.

Does Your Cereal Cause ADHD?

A bombshell of a book says YES!

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Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, says that
grains can cause ADHD, dementia, depression, and headaches.The Florida based neurologist has skyrocketed to the New York Times bestseller list.

Perlmutter asserts that carbs are the enemy. This opinion has been espoused before by Dr. Atkins and others who have made a lot of money on diets associated with carb reduction. But Dr. Perlmutter goes further than Atkins; he also asserts that every time you eat a slice of bread, eat a bowl of pasta or cereal, you are killing your brain. He calls wheat, carbohydrates and sugar “the brain’s silent killer.”

Gluten free diets have made claims about damaging effects to the body. But Dr. Perlmutter’s claims exceed simple damaging effects and include mental disorders like anxiety and ADHD. He also claims that the human requirement for dietary carbs is “none – none whatsoever.”

To optimize brain performance and lead a healthier life, Perlmutter is quite similar to Atkins in recommending a fat-rich, low-carb diet. By omitting carbs and eating good fats like omega 3s, Perlmutter asserts that one can effectively improve one’s brain health. He advocates eating salmon, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and some cheeses. Contrary to the government recommended food pyramid, Perlmutter suggests excluding sugar, gluten, and of course grains such as wheat, oats, rye, and barley.

Perlmutter differentiates himself from Atkins by saying that all
fats are not necessarily good; grain fed meets are full of omega-6 trans fats which are not good for us because they tend to interfere with the health benefits of omega−3 fats. Dr. Perlmutter suggests that we eat grass fed meats, free range fowl, and fish that are wild caught.

ADHD Is Linked to Adult Obesity

Research published in the journal Pediatrics
reports that boys who are diagnosed with ADHD are twice as likely to become obese adults.

Study co-author, Dr. Francisco Xavier Castellanos

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The international study involved researchers from New York, Mexico, and Verona and spanned over 30 years. They followed 207 Caucasian boys diagnosed with childhood ADHD. Starting at an average age of about 8, they were interviewed at ages 18-25 and finally at age 41. At age 18, 178 boys without ADHD were recruited for the study.

The researchers found that at age 41, the men who had ADHD weighed an average of 213 pounds with 41 percent of them deemed obese. The non-ADHD group averaged 194 pounds, with only 22 percent deemed obese. The men with childhood ADHD tended to have a higher body-mass index (BMI) and obesity, even if they no longer had ADHD symptoms. Additionally, socioeconomics made no difference; wealthy or poor, they tended toward obesity.

Study co-author, Dr. Francisco Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center said, “The bottom line is, boys who were hyperactive when followed up for more than 30 years turn out to be more likely to be obese than comparable kids from their same communities.”

The authors could not determine why adult obesity followed a childhood ADHD diagnosis. Some theories:

* With our current understanding of dopamine and ADHD (see prior submission), ADHD children may be trying to increase dopamine levels through food intake.

* Poor impulse control and poor planning skills are frequently associated with ADHD. This could lead to food choices and poor eating habits. Impulse control may also contribute to overeating.

Long-Term Use of ADHD Medications Changes Brain Function

What every parent and adult needs to know

Report By: Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory

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For many years, dopamine, a neurotransmitter (a brain chemical that transmits a message from a brain cell to another brain cell), was thought to be primary culprit in ADHD. Dopamine plays a major function in the brain as it is responsible for reward-motivated behavior. A plethora of studies have shown rewards increase the level of dopamine in the brain. This is what makes us motivated to get rewarded. Many drugs, including cocaine, Ritalin, and methamphetamine, act by amplifying the effects of dopamine. Too little dopamine means greater distractability and riskier behavior as the brain constantly seeks ways to increase its dopamine levels.

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory published a study in the journal PLOS One examining levels of dopamine in ADHD patients who had never taken stimulants. They reviewed dopamine transporter density. Transporters actually filter dopamine away from its receptors in the brain. More transporters means less dopamine (and therefore less bang for the reward). Transporter density was determined through PET brain scans.

Initial scans found no differences among their small population of 18 adults who suffered from ADHD but were never treated for it. This group was then treated with Ritalin. After a year, the researchers discovered that dopamine transporter density increased by 24 percent. What this study found was in fact what many parents have discovered during their child’s use of medication; taking ADHD medication may change the brain’s chemistry so that the effects of the medication are reduced over time. To accommodate this, one’s pediatrician or medical doctor will often increase the dosage due to drug tolerance.

More questions than answers arise due to this research. Here’s what’s now on the table:

* Medication is commonly taken over many years. The researchers are not sure whether the brains would return to their original state if they stopped taking the drug.

* Other studies have indicated that increased levels of dopamine transporters in the brain could be used as a diagnostic marker for ADHD — a way to screen for ADHD. This research tells us that long-term use of stimulant medications like Ritalin may actually cause these increased levels. So increase levels is not a good biomarker.

* Long-term effects are now questionable; will the medicated person constantly need more risk-associated behaviors including drug use as the effects of medication are reduced over time?

“In this study, we only proved that increased dopamine transporter levels cannot be used as a biomarker,” Wang said.

One of the patients in Wang’s study who had never received ADHD therapy was having difficulty in college and in her marriage, but she loved to paint. After taking medication she did better in school and with personal relationships, but she lost her creative drive, Wang said. Battles ADHD

Reported in Britain’s Sunday Mirror

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The Voice Judge, Battles ADHD Offers his voice to the community If you’ve got kids, you probably know from the popular TV show called The Voice and his band, The Black Eyed Peas featuring Fergie. He struggles with ADHD. He told Britain’s Sunday Mirror, “I have ADHD. I’ll admit it… I’ve got all this stuff in my head at the same time as I’m doing stuff and I don’t know how to stop or slow down. But it’s all good because I know how to control it. “For every obstacle there’s some type of solution. So if you have ADHD it’s your passion point. One thing I learned about ADHD is that it’s hard to keep your attention and you can’t sit still and you’re always moving and thinking about a whole bunch of things. “But those traits work well for me in studios and in meetings about creative ideas… If I was stuck at a different job I’d be horrible and wouldn’t survive. Music is my therapy… Music keeps me sane and keeps my mind on something. It’s fragile up there. “My mind would wander, and if it wanders then that’s not good because I could scare myself thinking of weirdo stuff. Music brings control to my thoughts. It’s not escape – it’s just order. I’m making order out of a disorder.”’s insights are helpful. He’s found a way to take his ADHD and turn it into something creative. Good strategy!

ADHD and Driving

Is it really more dangerous?
Meta-analysis by: the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

For more information:

Many studies have attempted to correlate ADHD and driving habits. While outcomes have been varied, a trend clearly emerges: ADHD drivers are at greater risk for accidents. This seems especially true for young ADHD drivers.

According to a meta-analysis by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “In high income countries [such as the United States and many European countries], MVCs [motor vehicle collisions] are the leading cause of death among children, adolescents and young adults (ages 4–29) (WHO, 2002b) and therefore, are considered a major cause of premature death and long-term disability. In the United States in 2004, there were close to 6.2 million MVCs that resulted in 42,636 deaths and close to three million injuries (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2004). The economic burden of MVCs is extremely high and in the year 2004, traffic collisions alone cost the United States 230.6 billion dollars (NHTSA, 2004).”

Is it more than just distraction? Yes. According to available research, ADHD drivers also experience negative driving outcomes for a variety of reasons:

*Poor risk perception; they don’t perceive risky situations as being risky.

* Impaired judgment or failure to make good decisions and use reasoning while driving.

* Inattention and impulsivity were found to be higher in ADHD drivers.

* Longer reaction times and a reduced capacity for flexible response to changing road conditions.

* Decreased neural motor control over the vehicle — motor skills are brain functions that allow us to control the response of our bodies.

* Increased aggressiveness and anger were identified in some ADHD drivers.

* Deficits in cognitive abilities were associated with inattentiveness, particularly visual inattentiveness and impulsiveness correlating with problem driving outcomes.

All of these findings indicate that a variety of factors make ADHD drivers less safe. It’s important to start a program where cognitive performance, behavioral shaping, and motor skills performance are increased.

Play Attention. 800.788.6786.

Is Sunshine Good Medicine for ADHD?

New research suggest a surprising connection
Reported By: More Sunshine Tied to Fewer Cases of ADHD – Psych Central News

A study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry reveals that sunnier parts of the world have fewer children with ADHD. Sunshine was measured as ‘solar intensity.’

This study echoes previous research that found that outdoor activities, especially those in a green outdoor setting, mitigate ADHD symptoms.

While a significant link was found, the researchers noted that other unknown factors could contribute to lower cases of ADHD in sunny spots. They cited that some sunny states (Florida for example) don’t have low rates of ADHD.

Read the entire article here:

» More Sunshine Tied to Fewer Cases of ADHD – Psych Central News
Fewer children have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) where sunshine is plentiful, according to new research published in the journal Biological