The ADD Excuse

Many children, and even adults, are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD(Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder… hereafter referred to as ADD) every year. Some would argue that there is an epidemic. While others, such as myself, debunk it as a load of bull. Yep, this rant is about the ADD excuse as I like to call it. Now, that being said, I have been diagnosed as having ADD and I have noticed odd difference between those with and those without this supposed disorder. The main difference is that stimulants and depressants work backwards on us. Most of the medications prescribed to those with ADD are actually amphetamines. I can’t imagine giving a hyper kid a stimulant would make them any easier to deal with… however, that is the case. For instance, drinking caffeine will make me lose consciousness fairly quickly whereas Benadryl will make me jittery and fidgety. So I recognize that there is a fundamental difference between those with and without this supposed disorder. Studies have actually shown that people with ADD actually have decrease levels of activity in the parts of their brain that govern impulse control. However, I don’t think it’s a disorder at all, nor do I think it’s a learning disability. However, the entire country is using it as an excuse. Students, teachers, and parents are all saying “it’s not their fault… they’ve got ADD”. It’s all garbage.

If you’ve got ADD and can’t sit through reading all of this, scroll down to the bottom, I’ve got a nice summary for you. :P
In no other country in the world does ADD exist. Yep, it’s entirely American. How is it that only Americans are affected by this? Probably because the FDA and pharmacologists just made the whole thing up to sell pills. The teachers jumped on it because if they had any trouble students, they could always just suggest that their parents dope them up into becoming conforming zombies

I’m going to go through the symptoms of ADD really quickly:

* Often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated.
* Having difficulty remaining seated.
* Having difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities.
* Often blurting out answers before questions are completed.
* Having difficulty in following instructions.
* Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
* Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another.
* Having difficulty playing quietly.
* Often talking excessively.
* Often interrupting or intruding on others.
* Often not listening to what is being said.
* Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities.
* Often engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences.
* Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
Obtained from here on 9.11.07

A glance over all of this shows that I could have easily stated “… symptoms of being a child…”
The fact of the matter is that everything that makes a kid a kid, is listed there. Kids are impatient, they are adventurous, they don’t like to sit still, they have boundless energy, and they aren’t going to understand or play by a great deal of the adult rules. That’s what it’s all about, people label a kid as having ADD when that child does not conform to the adult expectations that are being forced upon them. When we can’t brainwash or discipline the kid out of them, we decide to dope them up so we can control them. It’s just insane is what it is.

An Academic Excuse:
The fact of the matter is that yes, people with ADD are chemically different from “normal” people. However, I argue that this is a natural deviance. The brain simply operates in a different way than the average person. In fact, the so called “attention deficit” seems to only concern things that are boring. These same children could probably play video games for hours on end and name all of the Pokemon by memory… and tell you a little about each one. These are not children who cannot pay attention. They are simply bored with all the things we’re trying to get them to do. People with ADD learn a little differently, lazy teachers do not attempt to teach these kids as best as they can, they dope them up so that their flawed teaching methods will work on them well enough for them to pass standardized tests (another rant best saved for later). In other words, these teachers need to learn how to teach these children. Additionally, these children need to be taught how to learn. That’s about it. Also, I’ve found that the discipline found in martial arts is a great way to help teach these kids self control.

An excuse for bad behavior:
I have heard far too many people proclaiming “It’s not my fault, I’ve got ADD”. I was actually in a chat room once where someone was typing like a moron, being very rude, and when confronted they responded with “shut up, I got ADD. U cant descrimate against meh!” If I where able to reach through my monitor, through cyberspace, through their monitor, and slap them, I WOULD!

When I was young, I was diagnosed with ADD. After being diagnosed everyone let me slide through school without even trying because as everyone had pointed out to me “something was wrong with my brain.” So I did whatever I wanted to, caused a lot of trouble, and when they asked me why I was acting out, I told them that I forgot to take my pill that day.In fact, I rarely took my pills, I would hide them inside the water fountain. ADD became an excuse for bad behavior. The point is, I was capable of controlling myself, but I didn’t because I found a way to get away with it. I had no idea, at the time, what kind of damage this would would do to me.

I learned, years later of course, that my treatment and behavior caused a great deal of damage to my self esteem. Imagine this from a kid’s point of view:
1) there was something wrong with my brain
2) it made me stupid
3) I was so stupid that I had to take pills to fix me
4) people treated me like I was stupid
5) I came to the conclusion that I must be a mentally handicapped moron who would never amount to anything.

Yep, that’s the train of thought. Lucky for me, I snapped out of it. As soon as I learned that I could actually get help on my schoolwork I decided that I was not stupid and took it upon myself to do whatever I had to in order to get by. Yes, I had to DECIDE that I wasn’t stupid. It took years and years before I was able to think of myself as an intelligent person.

I have also heard people use ADD and dyslexia as an excuse for bad spelling and grammar. Now I actually do have both fairly badly. However, I have learned to work with my shortcomings. Right now I am using Mozilla Firefox, which has it’s own built in spell-check feature. I also read and reread everything to make sure my point comes across the way I intended it to. In other words, I’m not lazy about it.

Treatment: learning how to cope with ADD
One thing that really helped me was martial arts. It taught discipline in a fun and engaging way. I was able to pay attention to it because I had a man with a big stick threatening to hit me if I didn’t do what he said. Just kidding, it was fun and challenging and I really enjoyed getting to fight and not get in trouble for it… or have to be angry to do it. I also had to learn how to apply myself and I had to learn how to learn. I figured out, eventually, that if I wanted something bad enough, I had to do whatever it took to get it. If I wasn’t willing to do whatever it took, I just didn’t want it bad enough. I am currently enrolled in online classes with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Chapter. It takes quite a bit of discipline to apply myself and get my work done. But I do it. Why? Because I want to design games for a living, I want it so bad that I’ll overcome any obstacle, including the ones in my own brain, to get there. Pills only treat the problem, they do not solve or cure anything. There may not be a cure for ADD but you can learn to cope with it to the point to where it becomes second nature. Once I overcame my need for the pills, I was able to function as a somewhat normal individual.

Conclusions:
ADD is not a disorder but rather a natural deviation of the human mind.
ALL CHILDREN need to be taught how to learn
ALL TEACHERS need to learn how to remain interesting enough to keep the attention of these children.
Children can learn discipline well from martial arts
Treating children with ADD differently than normal kids will damage their self esteem
Treating children for ADD by medicating them will damage their self esteem and make them into zombies
ADD is a Fictional American Fad that is being used as an excuse to dope kids up so that we can control them

In other words, get them off the pills, be interesting, teach them discipline in a fun way, let them know they are smart and give them the chances to prove it, encourage intelligent/academic endeavors, but do not discourage so called childish behaviors, let them have fun, let the kids be kids and stop doping them up!

Type to you later,
~Nathaniel

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2007 at 3:16 pm and is filed under Advice, Blog, Rant.

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(22) Responses to “The ADD Excuse”

  1. Sharon Says:
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    Nathaniel, my father was diagnosed also with ADD when he was a child. He struggled with it for a bit, but he was luckier than most. At that time, all these medications were not available yet.

    In a way, it made him a more aggressive person when it comes to pursuing his dreams. He graduated with 2 degrees in engineering and a masters degree. This, while he was coping with a learning disability that sometimes comes with having ADD.

    He used to say *what doesn’t kill you, just makes you stronger*

  2. Nathaniel Says:
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    My father had a similar experience. He was actually put into classes for the mentally retarded when in reality, his IQ was tested at genius level! I do understand the need to prove one’s self. This entire country says “there’s something wrong with your brain, you are not able to pay attention.” and we are all saying. “I’LL PROVE TO YOU THAT I’M NOT THE IDIOT YOU THINK I AM!”

    I agree, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. That totally fits here. It is difficult to work with but once you learn to work with it, you can’t be stopped. On top of that the wandering mind of those with ADD can be useful. For instance, I am an artist, a wandering mind is great for artistic inspiration. I just let my mind ADD out and BAM! I’ve got a new idea for a piece of artwork. Any subject requiring intuition and instinct, we’re just going to be better at.

    There are all sorts of funny things like that. For instance, those with dyslexia (which I am also diagnosed with… although you wouldn’t notice from any of my posts) have higher spatial intelligence than those without. I don’t know why, but it interesting none-the-less.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Sharon Says:
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    Nathaniel, it’s all a state of mind.

    We are not perfect. What makes a different, makes us who we are. Special.

  4. Nathaniel Says:
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    The biggest point, however, is that we need to treat these kids the same as everyone else. Treating them like there is something wrong with them gives them a complex. For instance, it is emotionally devastating when a borderline mentally handicapped person discovers that they’re not normal. There is no reason why someone with ADD should ever believe that they are worse off than anyone else.

  5. Sharon Says:
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    I don’t think ADD is borderline mentally handicapped, and I never thought of it that way. Especially when I have seen how far my father has reached and achieved.

    I’m not sure what today’s methods and standards of treating ADD but I personally know a lot of people that have been diagnosed and have thrived to be successful in their lives.

  6. Nathaniel Says:
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    Oh, no, I didn’t mean that ADD was borderline mentally handicapped. I suppose I should rephrase. If someone has something “wrong” with their brain and they realize that they aren’t like all the “normal” kids, it can be really devastating. This happened to me acutally. I thought I was not just stupid, but mentally retarded… because that’s how I was treated. It took me ages before I was able to sort through all that garbage and admit to myself that I’m perfectly intelligent.

    My point was that these kids don’t need to be treated differently. They just need to be taught how to deal with their shortcomings. Be taught discipline and be taught how to learn. That’s all. I just don’t agree with people doping kids up so they’re more managable. It treats the symptoms, but not the “disability”. Get a kid to where they can operate on their own, without medication, and I’d call that cured.

  7. Sharon Says:
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    I totally agree with you on this one.

  8. Lora Says:
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    Do you think I have ADD?! LoL Seriously…

  9. Nathaniel Says:
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    You may well have ADD. My test is simple and doesn’t require that you go to the doctor. If you can drink a cup of coffee and fall asleep you probably have ADD. It isn’t conclusive but it can at least give you a good idea.

    Hey, thanks for dropping by.

  10. Lora Says:
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    I drink coffe I get migraine n then I must go to sleep to make it go away. plus my migraine meds make me pass out. wut else u got to throw at me?!

  11. Nathaniel Says:
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    Caffeine is a vasodialtor, it increases blood flow to the extremities. That increases blood pressure and could cause migraines. Still, if you can go to sleep afterwards that might mean you’ve got it. If depressants like pain killers and antihistamines make you hyper, then you probably do have it. Now I throw ninja stars! WHAAAAA!

  12. Sharon Says:
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    Nathaniel, I’ve always wondered why I want to go to sleep after I’ve had my coffee.

    And I used to tell my friends that coffee makes me sleep….

    Maybe I should get myself checked out.

  13. Nathaniel Says:
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    Even if you can be diagnosed with ADD, there are ways to deal with it that don’t include the doctor or pills. Chances are, you’ve already found out several ways to “deal” with it on your own. Heck, taking any kind of stimulant will act the same as getting doped up with the amphetamines they call “medication”. Caffeine is the perfect stimulant for this. If you’ve got mild ADD, just a piece of chocolate or Tea may work well enough for you. Obviously, if coffee makes you go to sleep, that’s not a good idea.

    Now, I’m not a doctor, but then again, my advice on ADD won’t kill anyone… so I think I’m safe.

    If you find that you cannot focus, eat some chocolate or better yet, drink some tea. If you’ve got ADD or not, it will help.

  14. Joan Says:
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    I think you are out of your ever wasting mind. How cruel this is. I think an apology is due to all who has this affliction, and yes, they are intelligent people or kids, who turn out to be smarter
    than kids who are supposed to be highly intelligent.Shame on you.

  15. Nathaniel Says:
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    If the previous comment was directed at the article (and not a comment from someone else), then I owe no one an apology. I HAVE ADD!

    The entire article is flatly stating that I believe that people use ADD as an excuse for laziness and bad behavior. It’s also an excuse to dope uncontrollable kids up so that they can be controlled.

    I don’t think you got the message I was trying to get across. I also also agree that kids with ADD can often times end up being more intelligent than kids who do not have the condition. In fact, I would also argue that kids with ADD are more likely to be highly intelligent because all the symptoms of ADD seem to indicate the child is bored (school is too easy and unchallenging).

    Again, I have been diagnosed with ADD. So I know what it’s like, first hand. Perhaps I didn’t make that obvious in the article, but there it is. My argument is that kids with ADD are really not that different from kids without and that everything we do to treat these children harms them both chemically and mentally. That is my honest belief.

  16. Joan Says:
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    I’m the one to apologize. I misunderstood what you were saying. I talked to my daughter, whose son(my grandson) has ADD. It hurts me so bad to see other kids make fun of his speech or his behavior or tics. And especially, some of his teachers, who I don’t believe understand this. He is very intelligent, but his focusing and attention, in some classes, are hard for him. My daughter understood what you were saying and explained it to me. So sorry, and God Bless.

  17. Nathaniel Says:
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    It’s not a problem. Sounds like your grandson is one of the good ones. It’s unfortunate how kids are treated these days, especially those who are perceived as being “different”. Sounds to me like the child’s main problem is boredom. If he where challenged in school, perhaps he might be more interested.

    My only advice, which is what helped me get through it, is to learn how to learn. I know my brain works a certain way, I know I have difficulty focusing and remembering facts. Knowing my weak points and my strong points, allows me to refocus my efforts. With discipline and determination, any obstacle can be overcome.

    Children with ADD/Dyslexia also tend to be more visual learners, so seeing how things work and being able to dig right in and play around with stuff is very helpful. I don’t know a single person with ADD who can actually learn anything by being talked to. We just have to see it in action.

    Being treated differently and hearing everyone tell you “There’s something wrong with your brain” can cause a LOT of damage to a kid’s psyche. What got me to finally think of myself as intelligent was the drive to prove all those people wrong.

    I wish you and your family the best.
    And thanks for the discussion.

  18. Joan Says:
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    Thank you for writing back. My grandson is only 9 years old, and I do believe the problem may be boredom. My daughter will not put him on medicine, and is giving him fish oil and flaxseed and any other natural product to see if it helps. He’s a sweet and mannerly boy. I will continue to keep you , as well as others, in my prayers, and it sounds as though you are solving your problem with success. Thanks again..I wish his teachers were a little bit more educated about this problem.

  19. KillerZero1 Says:
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    well technically the guy asked for a twinky and a foot, not a twinky wrapper and im sure twinkies don’t have polyster, but none the less that was a good schooling

  20. Meridia Says:
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    Wow, hello close-minded person.
    Your own personal experiences can\’t represent an entire genre of people. But hey, on some points I agree. Teachers and doctors are doping kids up like crazy just for being kids. But for some of us, it\’s an actual problem. Sure, you could call it a \”natural deviation\”, but it still means we can\’t function the way the rest of the world does, ultimately becoming an inhibitor. I mean, with your argument, you could call ANY mental disorder \”a natural deviation\”. But let\’s not get into that.
    You think it\’s bullshit? You think kids take it as an excuse? Well, let me tell you my story. I wasn\’t diagnosed until I was thirteen, when it tends to start showing up in highly intelligent children who were able to skate by until then. So did I embrace my disorder, take my pills, and use it as an excuse to be lazy? Hell no. I denied that I had it up until recently (nearly 18 now), refused to take pills, and did everything in my power to overcome my problems. (Which you did a terrible job covering in that list, by the way. ADDers have more issues than THAT.) I tried for years to achieve intense self-control. But no matter how incredibly uptight I was (and still am), I still couldn\’t take social cues, still couldn\’t help but interrupt, and I couldn\’t do my accursed homework. It got to the point where I couldn\’t deny it anymore. I still don\’t take pills, but embracing my weaknesses and learning to work around them is better than pretending I\’m just lazy, like you would have me believe. So no. I didn\’t use it as an excuse. I didn\’t take the pills. I wouldn\’t let my parents tell my teachers I had ADD, or even talk about it around me. And yet, despite my diligence, my grades still became steadily worse and worse as work piled on, my self-esteem worsened further, and my depression deepened infinitely. Not only that, but I couldn\’t make a real friend, because I was visibly different and often rude when I was trying desperately not to be.
    And to prove to you that I\’m not a fake case, I\’ll tell you: ADD has been in my family for many generations. It\’s a chemical brain imbalance, remember, and that means genetic. So, my grandfather had it before they even knew what it was. He struggled with it and became an alcoholic with a highly developed artistic side. But this completely poor, unsuccessful man wasn\’t using an excuse. There was no excuse for him. He just thought he was lazy, until the day he died. My dad is the same, but luckily for him, he was diagnosed in his lifetime. And so was I. Not just by a doctor either, but a man who specialized in ADD, and gave me hours of extensive, abstract tests to prove it. Based on my denial of it\’s existence, I even insisted on a retest two years later, and the results were the same.

    So. I object to your entire webpage. ADD\’s misunderstood and applied to too many people, but don\’t bash on people who actually have it. (Which, considering what I\’ve read, I kind of doubt you do.) It has made my life HELL, and will continue to do so throughout my existence. Perhaps now you understand why I think you\’re a giant douchebag with shit for brains. I\’m sorry, but I really do.

  21. Nathaniel Says:
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    I have been officially diagnosed, it runs in my family, my father and my sister both have it as well. I can’t speak for my father or sister, because I wasn’t there when they were diagnosed and haven’t asked, but I was diagnosed by a psychologist as well (although whether or not he specialized in ADD I do not know), not by a random doctor doing exploratory prescriptions. I’m not denying that it is something real. I have noticed things like the fact that stimulants and depressants seem to work very differently in people with ADD than they do with so called “normal” people.

    What you did was the correct thing to do. You didn’t use your “disorder” as a crutch and you attempted to overcome it. Sure, you struggled as we all do, but you wouldn’t allow yourself to be doped up or be called stupid. I too have always had trouble making friends but so what? Dr. Seus got it right when he said “those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.” I wouldn’t want to be friends with anyone who wouldn’t want to have me as a friend anyhow. In any case, you are the exception, not the rule. It is my honest belief that ADD/ADHD are SEVERELY over/misdiagnosed and that the majority of cases are simply the natural result of kids being bored… which is often caused by ill-informed teachers who simply don’t know how to keep kids attention when covering boring topics. It’s also caused by the fact that kids are not taught HOW to learn, only that they must, and even then they’re not taught why they must, or why the reason the propose are relevant at all.

    Regardless of whether ADD/ADHD exists, and whether or not I’m “a giant douchebag with shit for brains” you do realize that you took the course of action that I suggested? You didn’t use your disorder as a crutch and you tried to overcome and accept your own shortcomings without allowing them to dope you up. That was my entire point from the start. If we treat all kids like this, teach them how to learn, teach them discipline, teach them to overcome/accept their differences and stop trying to dope up the deviants, I think we would be much better off. It won’t cure what we call ADD/ADHD, and for those that have it, it will always be a struggle (as it seems to be for the both of us), but it will help a lot more than doping people up.

    On a side note, you don’t have to apologize for thinking anything, even if it is thinking ill of someone. I’m fine with your opinion of me. I happen to disagree, but that’s neither here nor there. I also don’t really think you’re sorry… and that’s okay too. :P

  22. x7rts9 Says:
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    The ADD symptoms you listed are not symptoms of being a kid. They are symptoms of being a loud, obnoxious kid with no motivation. I had none of these symptoms you mentioned in childhood. I was quiet, calm and had no trouble focusing on anything. Whether someone is calm, quite and focused or loud, careless, unmotivated with no self discipline, is just in peoples’ nature.

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