Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so.
Galileo Galilei ~1640
Consider this year, 2014, as “ADHD’s Galileo Moment.”
Galileo changed the way we think about measured observations, and that consequence became a scientific Renaissance. A similar, remarkably parochial disdain exists today with ADHD medications, and it’s going to take a serious change in thinking to bring about a change in ADHD medical practice.
The pervasive, unmentionable problem: too many write for meds without any training on the reality of diagnosis or treatment specifics for ADHD, thinking that labels provided sufficient maps for mind travel.
Collectively we stand on the frontier of an inevitable Mind Renaissance – if we can move forward from Neo-Freudian labels to data-driven, measured mind solutions that address mind complexity beyond oversimplified diagnostic conjectures.
Galileo introduced advanced measurement tools [including the telescope] to science. Those measurements challenged a globally accepted and incorrect solar conclusion, and ultimately changed belief systems based for centuries upon superficial observations.
The sun does ‘look like’ it rotates around the earth. But when the earth and sun were measured accurately around 1616 with that telescopic advanced technology, Galileo confirmed the Copernicus measurements, the now well known Heliocentric Reality, that contrasted markedly with emotionally held beliefs based upon Geocentric Appearances for thousands of years. Data matters.
Common beliefs about ADHD treatment arise from a combination of public dissatisfaction and professional appearance protocols. However, these professional medication protocols are based on limited diagnostic [and treatment] perspectives. Much like the world’s assumptions about the sun before Galileo introduced the telescope, critical biomedical information about ADHD diagnosis and treatment isn't missing, it's disdained.
We don't use easily available technology, we don't test of helpful answers, and too many wish to metaphorically kill the biomedical technology Galileo Mind Messengers – the innovators, the evidence crowd. As a result, all too often, public sentiment takes a firm destructive stand against using ADHD medications for effective medical treatment, and often with good reason.
Quite reasonably you may then ask: “What is the problem with ADHD medications? Why are so many people so negative, or hesitant, when stimulant medications can prove remarkably useful for many?”
1. Current Labels for ADHD Overlook Medical Reality
Currently, ADHD diagnosis and treatment protocols overlook critical information about the biomedical complexity of ADHD. ADHD labels (Hyperactive, Inattentive and Combined) describe behavior, but they do not address measurable medical challenges that effect brain function. Cellular activity and immunity issues, for example, are important, measurable complications that actually compromise brain function and impair working memory. For example, despite the existence of world literature confirming the link between damaged brain functioning and immunity issues, such as gluten and casein sensitivity, their consideration as reasonable ADHD treatment remains astonishingly controversial. Remarkable, but true.
2. Brain and body function are omitted when considering treatment
Thousands who do struggle with “ADHD challenges” meet the criteria for diagnosis, attempt treatment, and suffer from side effects of medications. Treatment will improve if medication treatment include measuring how brain function and working memory affect executive functioning. For example, the symptom of Hyperactivity may be corrected by medication, but executive functioning can remains markedly impaired.
Inattention may seem to improve, but avoidance and procrastination, (more directly associated with brain function) remain off the treatment radar – considered as personality disorders. Measurements that address deeper medical imbalances, such as genetic metabolic imbalances or specific medication duration of effectiveness, provide valuable information for both physicians and patients, and ultimately minimize inaccurate medication practices.
3. Cognition — The Essential “ADHD” Problem — both Overlooked and Denied as Significant
Balanced cognition – reacting appropriately to make timely adjustments to changing Reality – distinguishes the human thinking process from that of cows, cats, and even well trained elephants. Ultimately, balanced cognition is the treatment objective when managing ADHD. Paradoxically, ADHD is a behavioral diagnosis, observable from the outside. Cognitive self-observation is not reported or considered for diagnosis, which means that the current system of “ADHD” diagnosis and treatment overlooks the very objective of treatment: cognitive activity, executive function. This unacceptable consequence perpetuates vertical medical management systems and encourages the truth that anyone is an expert on the basis of such superficial protocols.
Because diagnosis is hyper focused on behavioral issues, cognitive impairment is overlooked. It is noteworthy that the current DSM code does not consider cognition to be impaired unless one suffers from dementia. The way the Diagnostic Statistical system is currently arranged, with it’s inattention to cognitive markers, the entire medical system “doesn’t get it.”
For example, labels inherently overlook issue of the sequence of working memory –- how people manage their own reality through thinking, acting and remembering on a timeline. This internal cognitive disability can cause individuals to act without thinking, think repeatedly without acting, or completely avoid reality by avoiding thinking or acting in time. Associated behavioral challenges can then be understood in the context of identifying what is happening cognitively.
ADHD and Metacognition: A NEW way of thinking
Metacognition is a new, more accurate, more functionally useful word from the ADHD literature that connects biomedical reality, brain function, diagnoses, and reality-based, customized treatment strategies.
When we actually think about thinking, or the process of thinking in various real-life circumstances, treatment targets improve. Just as Galileo’s telescope changed the way we measured solar observations. The process of looking for a different, improved set of answers enhances metacognitive understanding of ADHD.
We must now walk with Galileo by asking the following questions;
A “yes” to any of the above may indicate a de-synchronization in brain functioning and working memory – to then open new ways of thinking that can change the course of treatment. Executive function, dealing with changing reality remains the primary target. All detailed much more in New ADHD Medication Rules.
Applying metacognition, or thinking more carefully about the biomedical process of thinking, encourages several important improvements in both targets and process:
Those who currently suffer with executive function challenges will directly benefit from this new thinking. Fresh neuroscience evidence changes thinking. Galileo would be pleased.
For more information on how details can work for you, see the paperback, the eBook or the Audible: New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense.
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Dr Charles Parker
Author: New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense
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