Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ritalin Nation ?

     Ritalin Nation perfectly explains the non-existing ADHD epidemic and how its’ attention has grown over the past few decades.  It is written by someone who holds a Ph.D. so it can be assumed that all the information in the book is well researched. The first three chapters explain how culture has hurried our society into a frenzy. With the rapidly growing rate of technology, everyone expects things to be faster including life itself. Cars, computers, and on-demand television all can perform faster than in the past. You could say that the advancement of technology has spoiled us a little bit. We now expect everything to be at our fingertips as soon as we want it. Most people can’t sit in a lecture without wishing they had a remote to fast forward through the boring parts. This hurried way of life has made us all impatient, but that doesn’t mean that we all have developed ADHD or ADD. The next two chapters talked about how unnecessarily quick everyone is to diagnose themselves with a problem. Many people who had been diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) have had reactions to placebos. That makes the illness more of a psychological one than a physiological one. ADD is not an illness by itself. It is actually just a name for a collection of symptoms that describe inattention. If a person has maybe 3 symptoms out of the list they are very quick to assume the diagnosis of ADD. Once seeing the other symptoms, they are also quick to start interpreting most of their actions as portraying ADD even if they didn’t notice a problem before. Since it is considered a psychological illness it is very hard to correctly diagnose and efficiently treat it. 

     My favorite part was the topic of time that parents spend with their children. Some parents choose quality time over quantity of time or vice versa. It says “hurried, unstructured lives children are living in today connect to the rise of sensory addictions.” The parents choosing quality time may not be choosing the best choice for their children. A loss of family structure such as a routine or attention from parents results in the child developing a loss of self-control or self-organization. Without attention from families, children resort to being entertained by things like television, video games, and other speedy activities. They are no longer able to appreciate slower moving activities such as reading. They easily lose their concentration and self-control. A school teacher said that she used to be able to start teaching right away, but now when children come in the morning she has to spend a transition period to grab their attention. Parenting style ultimately affects the response of a child’s sensory. 

     I would like to make an association with children’s attention problems and the effort to connect learning styles to each child. Learning styles have developed as a method to make sure each child absorbs the most information they can in the most efficient way. It’s very unpractical while teaching a group of children with all different styles. It has also been proven useless. I think some teachers and parents still attempt to determine and use learning styles because they are left with no other avenue. Their children have severe depletion of attention. Some people are born with more patience than others, but mostly everyone has the same attention span capabilities. I believe that it is a result of the upbringing and environment children are living in that hinder their learning abilities. Learning styles are just an excuse like ADD is an excuse.
      One of the reasons ADHD seems to be such a popular conclusion for short attention spans is that there are things available to people that will easily make anyone seem like they have it. Here are some questions to a ADHD quiz I found online (1=not at all 5=all the time):
1. At home, work, or school, I find my mind wandering from tasks that are uninteresting or difficult.
2. I find it difficult to read written material unless it is very interesting or very easy.
4. I have a quick temper... a short fuse.
5. I am irritable, and get upset by minor annoyances.
6. I say things without thinking, and later regret having said them.
9. My moods have highs and lows.
11. I easily become upset.

Who doesn’t have these experiences all the time? It’s a normal occurrence in everyone. It doesn’t produce a diagnosis for ADHD.  The quiz is not a scientific method of determining ADHD and it advises that if you have a significant score than you should visit a mental health professional. If you would like to take the quiz here is the link: However, if you don’t have enough attention span for the entire quiz, here is the link to a six question one: I do suggest, that if you don’t even have enough patience for a short quiz and need it shortened even more, than you might as well go see a professional right now.

      Reading this book makes me realize that paying attention to children and preserving their appreciation for the relaxing slowness of time is very important. I will make sure my quality time spent with my children is more than just enjoying a movie. ADD in small forms could easily be preventable with a little patience. I also learned to not jump to conclusions. A few symptoms don’t mean a diagnosis or even a physical problem. Some things are made in your mind and can be changed the same way it was created. Bordem isn’t a disease, and were certainly not in a recession of entertainment. Everyday something new is created and we have a world full of things to enjoy. We just need to have the self-control to be able to find something, be patient with it, and enjoy it.

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