Causes: The Etiology of ADHD
I cruise NeuroDiversity groups on Facebook. It’s depressing.
Particularly depressing are the groups composed of “normal” parents agonizing about how to deal with kids categorized as having ADHD. Ritalin at 8? Or wait until 10?
The parents want their kids to fit in. To do well in schools where “fitting in” is impossible for them and where the attempt to do somay cripple them for life.
I see the effects in groups where the members are neurodiverse teenagers or adults, confused, racked by anxiety and depression and facing uncertain futures.
As I have written elsewhere “ADHD” is a set of symptoms from the medical point view, which are shared by a range of other conditions, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and good ol’fashioned brain damage from a blow to the head.
Neurologically, people with “ADHD” show low dopamine levels. Fine – give’m methamphetamine which raises dopamine levels, and improves “attention” in both normals and the neurodiverse Dopamine, as you may know, has many functions but especially reward pathways and motivation.
People with ADHD often have more dopamine receptors than “normals”, indicating that they produce similar amounts of dopamine but use it more efficiently. In addition, dopamine is not like gasoline powering a car. You don’t just fill the tank. A car does not synthesize its own fuel, like the body does, responding to need.
Dopamine is partially synthesized in the brain from a range of neuro-chemicals and through the interaction of other neurotransmitters and hormones. That said, about 50% of dopamine is produced in the gut, with certain foods and phytochemicals playing a positive role and others like sugars inhibiting production. So, the neurochemistry of cognition is complicated.
Of particular importance is oxytocin—the love hormone. Oxytocin is released through social interaction, especially sex—at which time it boosts dopamine levels dramatically.
In kids, play stimulates dopamine, especially video games but all socially interactive play.
Parents don’t want little Johnny playing Doctor with little Mary, who they definitely don’t want touching herself “down there”.
And Johnny and Mary should not be playing video games since they make Mrs. Hobbes’ History classes even boring than they actually are.
The kids should be trying to memorize the names of the US Presidents for the History test – but to succeed they will need to break bad and score some Ritalin or Adderall.
Can Walter White help?
Other than Heisenberg’s meth labs, are their alternatives?
Of course, there are.
As I said before, 78% of kids recover from ADHD spontaneously around age 18.
What happens at 18?
They graduate from school!
As official “adults", John and Mary (whose has now learned to love her clitoris) can do all the good stuff--namely, drink, smoke weed, and have sex. OK – so they have been doing that for years but now they can do it legally.
Also, without figuring how to get laid without Mommy and Daddy interfering and without having to study for SATS, they will have more time to play, which is something they never had much opportunity to do as kids. Thank God that getting into a college is after all the hardest part of college.
Once in, think: frat parties, the Spring Break, lots of booze and weed, pizza.
Of course, once you have graduated as symbolized by the square thing you wear on your head -- the mortarboard, you are another brick in the wall again and you have to find a job. It will be high school all over again and instead of Mom and Dad, there are Bosses. The "in crowd" ; the "out crowd". And boxes to fit into.
Burn-out is like high school boredom.
Oh, oh, adult onset ADHD….
Which many psychologists say is not a real thing—that you’ve had it all along. It was just hiding like a penis or clitoris for social reasons.
No matter, Big Pharma has an answer… Viagra, ritalin, xanax, paxil-- there's a pill for whatever ails you. Modern science has an answer for everything, other than the Apocalypse.
Can this awful tale be rewritten? For a different ending, you need a different start.
Which is the subject of my next article.
Since I am dyslexic, you will probably find lots of typos and the like. Please help! Let me know!
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