Focus & Attention Background

Mistaken beliefs

The International Headache Society recognizes more than 150 diagnostic headache categories.  When we get a headache, the doctor doesn't jump right away to "it's a brain tumor!"

There are over 59 causes of attention difficulties. Let's not jump right away to "it must be ADHD!"

FACT:  The Great Smokey Mountain study found that "...over 57% of those who received medication did not meet the criteria" for ADHD.

SOURCE: Parens, E. and Johnston, J.: Facts, values, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): an update on the controversies.  Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2009, 3:1

FACT: A clinical report to the Western Australia government found that ADHD is misdiagnosed 75% of the time.

SOURCE: Education and Health Standing Committee of Western Australia, October 2004. Inquiry into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Western Australia. Western Australia. Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Committees. Education and Health Standing Committee. Report 8


More facts and figures to come....

NIMH logoThe booklet Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2009.  It is a good resource stating the current conventional wisdom (generally accepted and sometimes wrong beliefs) and treatment standards regarding ADHD.  

However, conventional wisdom about ADHD

Attention difficulties too often get misdiagnosed as ADHD. Then treatment with mediation seems to work for some but in the long term makes things worse. Medication has severe side-effects. This list was taken from one medication guide for a stimulant medication often prescribed for ADHD.

P.S. No more damp hair with Focus for Success. We don't need salt water for the sensors any more.


ADHD medes make things worseIt's appalling.  Most studies for the effectiveness of ADHD medication are conducted for only 3 or 4 weeks.  But some kids take the medication for 15 years!

And the news gets even worse.

Long-term research funded by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that medication for ADHD makes things worse.

Looking at 3 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded studies:

In the 3-year follow-up they state: "participants using medication ... actually showed increased symptomatology during that interval relative to those not taking medication." From 2 to 3 years, medication made things worse.

In the 8-year follow-up, medication use was "associated with worse hyperactivity-impulsivity and ODD symptoms and CIS impairment." (CIS is a tool for rating impairment).  After 8 years, those using medication were worse.

So, medication makes things worse.  Maybe we should stop pushing it.  After all, there are many other treatments and interventions that work well.

~ Jerry Jensen, MA, LP