Posts Tagged ‘spiritual boundaries’

Growing out of ADHD: An Erroneous Concept

June 24, 2012

I am pretty much intolerant of junk science, shoddy research and uninformed opinions expressed as fact. Since the web is a total democracy, the banal comments following a well researched intelligent discussion on CNN or other well researched sites drive me nuts because everybody treats them as equally important to the main article and in a web democracy, everybody’s point of view is important even if it is ill informed and the person is a 17 year old cyber bully. However, that mini-rant is not the subject of today’s post.

While researching the current narrow topic of sexual addiction and ADHD, I was delighted to find a paper entitled  “Sexual Addiction and ADHD: Is There A Connection?” by Richard Blankenship and Mark Laaser published in 2004. This paper does an extensive review of scientific studies on the impact of ADHD on victims and the areas where scientific research is flawed or lacking. I believe that every person who has ADHD above the age of reason, every adult with ADHD and every person who has a child with ADHD should read this paper.

Unbelievable as it may seem to many this paper was written by two devout Christians. Blankenship is Director of North Atlanta Center for Christian Counseling, and Vice President of American Association of Certified Christian Sexual Addiction Specialists. Laaser is Director of Faithful and True Ministries, Bethesda Workshops, and President of American Association of Certified Christian Sexual Addiction Specialists. Seems ADHD is not just a problem with poor people who eat nasty food and bad parents, it crosses all socioeconomic and spiritual boundaries.

Of course one of the most comforting pieces of research relates ADHD with above average intelligence, but I already intuitively knew that. Thus, it agrees with my unscientific assessment of me, my family and my friends all peas in the same Mendelian pod.

The slightly less comforting assessment is that ADHD is a chronic lifelong condition which is under treated resulting in a huge loss in adult potential. From their paper:

ADHD if left untreated will metastasize into other disorders. ADHD untreated has been known to become conduct disorder in adolescence and antisocial personality disorder in adult years (Gresham, Lane, & Lambros, 2000). Left untreated, ADHD can also develop into substance and behavioral addictions. A Utah study revealed that 24% of male inmates had ADHD. Other studies have shown that up to 40% of people in minimum security prisons have disorders on the ADHD spectrum (McCallon, 1998).

Perhaps no study has revealed the magnitude of treating ADHD along with co-occurring disorders than that of Dr. Paul Wender. Wender was establishing through his study that ADHD is a lifelong condition and people do not outgrow it. In his study, when inmates were paroled they entered a program for a period of 6 months to 2 years. They were given medication and placed under the care of counselors, doctors, and support groups. National recidivism rates for people released from prison are approximately 60%. The inmates in this study had a two year recidivism rate of only 10%. Only one individual in the study had a new criminal charge while a few had parole violations. Many of these men had been diagnosed as children with ADHD but treatment did not continue past grade school years.

Some were told that they would outgrow ADHD after the teen years. None were being treated into their 20’s. 18% had discovered crystal meth from the meth labs that now exist in abundance. The methamphetamine had given them the ability to remain calm and focused. 20% were medicating with marijuana and heroin. More severe discipline will not change ADHD.

The guilt and shame families feel as they visit relatives in prison is incredible. Way too many were advised by people in the school system, counseling, and psychiatry that ADHD was a condition they would outgrow. Or, in the words of Dr. McCallon, medical director in the Colorado department of corrections “if he outgrew it, what is he doing in my prison?”

I know I couldn’t have said it any better even though I took the liberty of breaking this up in to shorter paragraphs so those with ADHD could take the time to read it.