A presenter on the BBC’s flagship “Today Programme” has just blithely dismissed ADHD as being the fault of teachers that can’t keep discipline.
We would like to point out to the BBC that this was not presented with any evidence whatever and is quite simply ‘journalism’ of a very poor standard. There is a huge amount of scientific evidence for ADHD, a lot mentioned on this blog in previous posts. But, worse than just poor journalism, the effect that such comments on a supposedly serious programme have is to foster an opinion that there is no such thing as ADHD and thus will lead to the harassment and bullying of people that suffer it. For shame ‘Today’.
We await a response.
A very long running study, 33 years and still going, has been looking at various aspects of how ADHD affects people across life. A new paper in Pediatrics (out now on-line and in the June paper edition) has found that children with ADHD in childhood are twice as likely to be obese as the non ADHD population in later life, even if the ADHD appears to be in remission.
It is a very solid study since it has been going for so long so can be sure of accurate records (some studies rely on people’s memories which is okay as far as it goes, but aren’t nearly as reliable as having contemporary records). One point to note is that, even in a very long running study, because two things correlate, here ADHD and obesity, cause and effect is not necessarily proven. Cause has to precede effect, so obesity in middle age can’t have caused childhood ADHD, but the ADHD may not have caused the obesity, there may be a common cause. This is discussed in a very digestible form for the non-scientist in this article in the Scientific American.
However, whatever the cause, it is yet another burden for those afflicted. Obesity, in common with ADHD is a problem that is often regarded by the general public and even members of the medical profession as a moral failing in the sufferer rather than a medical problem to be treated.
To people with a long-standing knowledge of ADHD the study isn’t entirely surprising. One might think that people with ADHD in remission wouldn’t suffer the side effects, but ADHD used to be considered as ‘just’ hyperactivity and people simply slow down as they get older. The human dynamo nature of hyperactive children may drop off, but there is no reason to suppose the other aspects just go away on their own. Study after study has shown that people with ADHD fare worse in all sorts of measures compared to the general population.
Something to watch out for in discussions of the paper is that the study was only done on boys, so when a headline says that ADHD is linked to obesity in men, it is pretty likely that it is linked to obesity in women too, just that the study only followed boys. 33 years ago ADHD and its various forms was barely recognised in girls (and even in boys it was fairly new and was considered to be mainly hyperactivity).
There is a very interesting article in yesterday’s Financial Times that points out that despite scientific evidence that ADHD symptoms persist into adulthood and despite evidence that there is a high burden of cost associated with under treatment of ADHD, some European regions are still cautious about approving medications that treat ADHD symptoms. A spokesperson from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) explained that they recognise adult ADHD as a condition, but the spokesperson also said that the reason “no product has so far been approved for adult ADHD is because submitted data were insufficient to establish a positive risk-benefit balance, not because of a lack of recognition of the indication.” The full article is available from the Financial Times here.
Given that our own Guidelines here in the UK were published 5 years ago (actually to be precise 4 years and 8 months ago), I feel that it is shameful that we are not further along than this!
A very interesting paper in The Harvard Review of Psychiatry looks at the effect methylphenidate has on the brain. This is a link to the original article (the abstract is free).
There is a more layman friendly description in ScienceDaily. (And before anyone writes in, yes, we are aware that the word ‘normalises’ is spelled differently on either side of the Atlantic.)
“ADHD Persists in Adulthood, Ups Mental Illness, Suicide Risk”
Here is an interesting approach to non-drug therapy for adult ADHD. There is an associated book which we’ll review if/when we get a review copy (the list price is over £17 so unless you are very flush we wouldn’t recommend buying without the recommendation of someone who has read it or having had a good look at it yourself).
Here is the book (but read the blog first – it is free!)
We’ll let the organisers of the Cambridge Science Festival speak for themselves:
Re: Cambridge Science Festival promotion
I am writing in the hope of promoting the 2013 Cambridge Science Festival on your website’s event page.
The Festival takes place 11 – 24 March 2013, and bookings for events are now open.
Please see below for information on our talk that may be of particular interest to you:
5.30pm – 7pm, 14 March
Focusing on ADHD
Babbage Lecture Theatre, New Museums Site,
Supported by The Wellcome Trust and the
British Association of Psychopharmacology
Poor concentration, hyperactivity and impulsivity
are common in people with ADHD. These
symptoms may be distressing and cause difficulties
in daily life, but what causes them? How can they
best be treated? This Brain Awareness Week
discussion panel includes Professor Barbara Sahakian,
Dr Ulrich Müller and Dr Sam Chamberlain.
Event: 27, Map: 4, Talk, Ages 14+, Pre book*
With over two hundred events for all ages, the Festival aims to give everyone the opportunity to discover, question and take part in scientific activity at the University of Cambridge and partner organisations. Over the two week period, guests will be able to explore research that is leading the world at events that discuss science and its place in our lives – covering subjects from astronomy to zoology, with hands-on experiments and talks from leading researchers and celebrities.
Highlights this year include: Professor John Gurdon, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine; science comedian Robin Ince; author Simon Mayo; and up-and-coming BBC Science presenter Helen Czerski. We’re also delighted to welcome Benedict Cumberbatch as our Guest Director, whose note on the festival and its importance can be found in the programme and on our website.
Our family open days are on 16, 17 and 23 March, and there are hundreds of activities running throughout the entire Festival fortnight. With so much going on, there really is something for everyone and we hope you really enjoy it: we invite you to challenge your mind, try something new and join us on a journey of discovery and excitement.
Here are some details of a group that has just started on the Isle of Wight:
The regular central London meeting meets on the first Tuesday of the month. This means that the next one will be on January the First 2013. We still plan to hold the meeting, same time, same place, so please feel free to come along. More details here.
New(ish) article on WebMD:
“Dec. 10 2012 — Teens diagnosed with ADHD are likely to have an array of issues as adults, including problems with physical and mental health, work, and finances, according to new research.”
A very interesting piece of research the ADHD skeptics should be aware of (although we would like to point out that the vast majority of people with ADHD are not and have never been involved in crime!): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20414822
A very interesting study from the Wellcome Trust counteracts some of the negative things the anti-ADHD brigade comes out with. Excerpt below, click link for full article:
15 October 2012
Children living with ADHD tend to feel they benefit from medication to treat the condition and do not think the medication turns them into ‘robots’, according to a report published today. In fact, they report that medication helps them to control their behaviour and make better decisions. The study, which gives a voice to the children themselves, provides valuable insights into their experiences and the stigma they face.
The ADHD VOICES – Voices on Identity, Childhood, Ethics and Stimulants – study has worked with 151 families in the UK and the USA to examine ethical and societal issues surrounding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly the use of treatments such as methylphenidate (Ritalin). The project has been led by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh from King’s College London and was funded by the Wellcome Trust. Full article here.
This study, from a reputable source, suggests one factor in causing ADHD may be mercury poisoning in the womb, which can be caused by eating too much of certain types of fish.
Those of you who know Professor Nutt may like to listen to this recent BBC programme:
It’s a condition normally associated with children. But what’s it like to be an adult sufferer of ADHD? Francesca Townsend, 29, from Brighton explains…
‘For most people, the weekly supermarket shop is a tedious, but uneventful, part of their week. For me, it’s a moment I dread. I’ll be halfway round the store when my heart starts racing, the bright lights overwhelm me and the neatly packed shelves with all that choice fill me with panic.
Procrastination is more or less a way of life to people with ADHD, especially those with the inattentive sort, so this programme may be of interest (but we’d be surprised if they mention ADHD – let’s see)…
We had a recent enquiry as to whether medication for ADHD has an effect on heart rate and blood pressure. Intuitively one would think that the stimulant medications, at least, would raise them, and many people are of this opinion, however the research does not always support this idea.
Here is a paper on the subject by researchers at St Mary’s Hospital, London, that suggests there is harldy any effect at all:
You may like this video:
This meeting has moved, it is now at:
The Little Coffee Company
4 Bartholo Mews
EVERY 2ND Wednesday of the month. 7pm to 9pm.
What to expect at our “Chat About Anything ADHD” meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of the month:
If you need directions or help getting to the new venue please see www.adhdbrighton.org.uk or feel free to call the organisers on 07849 352 483.
Brighton ADHD Support Group also meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month for a Peer Support meeting 6pm at The Community Mental Health Centre, 79 Buckingham Road, Brighton. At this meeting we have group discussions with a different topic each month. For more info see our website.
New Members Welcome!
There have been reports of healthcare being rationed in various media. We note, however that the Government has said this is wrong.
From today’s news:
Health minister Simon Burns described such practices as “unacceptable”.
“If local health bodies stop patients from having treatments on the basis of cost alone, we will take action against them.”
Full story here:
The article has a space for readers to write in their own experiences. Please could anyone with ADHD (or suspected ADHD) who has had difficulty or specifically is now having trouble getting a referral write in. It could make a huge difference. No matter that the article doesn’t mention any mental health issues, they are equally valid when it comes to needing treatment and this needs to be said.
Do you ever need someone to e-mail you to remind you of something but have trouble finding someone reliable enough to do it at the right time, or at all?
A web service www.followupthen.com will do it for you. There are several ways to set up reminders, including by e-mail, and you can copy people in. Have a go and let us know what you think, or even let us know your own top tip.
ADHD in the news, but maybe not in the best way…
Our Bristol support group was featured on BBC Radio 4′s Inside Health, part of the ‘Medical Matters’ strand.
Probably nothing vintage students of ADHD won’t already know, but a good introduction to adult ADHD and very good for getting the word out.
And you should be able to find the podcast version here (useful if you want to listen on MP3 player or to keep on your computer and it might be better for people outside the UK.)
Now, does anyone know who we need ot speak to at the BBC to put a link to us on their relevant page?
The situation in Scotland has been difficult. Provision of services for adults has been poor to non-existent (although that sums up the situation for most of the UK with one or two notable and welcome exceptions) and, to make matters worse, the NHS guidelines for treating ADHD in Scotland only cover children!
So we are delighted to have received this letter:
I am an occupational therapist working in a small project team in Edinburgh. We are hoping to establish an Adult ADHD Team within Lothian the first of its kind in Scotland and would like some service user feedback. We are tasked with looking at patient pathways, training of staff/general public, developing treatment resources and developing a shared protocol for medication. We believe that user involvement is vital and hope to get some information via the questionnaire attached. We would value it if you could circulate this to adults with ADHD that you may be in contact via your organisation. We have a tight time line for the project with the service to be up and running by May. We would therefore require feedback by no later than the end of April. If you would prefer to contact me by phone you are most welcome. We look forward to your responses.Catriona DillinghamCatriona.Dillingham@nhslothian.scot.nhs.ukSenior Occupational TherapistNorth West Primary Care Liaison TeamBase : Craigroyston Health Clinic1B Pennywell RoadEdinburghEH4 4PHTel: 0131 315 2026Fax: 0131 343 2416
Service User Questionnaire
1) How old were you when diagnosed with ADHD?
2) How would you describe the impact of having ADHD as an adult on daily life? And which parts of daily living are most affected? Eg managing money, organising the house, socializing, working, building relationships etc?
3) What is your diagnosis ‘journey’?
4) What difference do you think it has made having that diagnosis both positively and negatively?
5) We are putting together training for a wide range of health professionals about Adult ADHD what specifically do you feel it would be useful for them to know?
5) We are developing an awareness raising campaign for public, so what you think would be effective here?
6) What are your experiences of taking medication?
7) Have you wanted to take medication as an adult?
8) What supports have been useful to you through your diagnosis/ experience?
9) What self-help materials or information has been useful? (feel free to send copies!)
10) What coping strategies have you employed during your time with this condition? What has helped, and what would you suggest to avoid?
Thank you for your feedback
Three actions by NHS Trusts and Commissioning Groups in Cambridgeshire are restricting access to NICE recommended treatments for people who are diagnosed as adults with ADHD.
First, the long-standing & pioneering adult ADHD clinic at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge has been forced to close due to lack of NHS funding. Secondly, NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Health Network recently implemented a “low priority policy” for prescribing Methylphenidate, Atomoxetine, and Dexamfetamine for adults that were not diagnosed by the NHS as children or adolescents. And thirdly, in July 2011 the Cambridgeshire Joint Prescribing Group designated these 3 medications (as prescribed for adults who were not diagnosed as children by the NHS) as Double Red. The Double Red classification means that they will not fund the prescribing of these 3 medications for adults who were not diagnosed as children or adolescents by the NHS.
AADD-UK has completed a scrutiny of the briefing paper in which the new “low priority policy” was proposed and have now written to Sir Neil McKay of NHS Midlands and East (and 8 others) requesting that the decision to implement the new policy be reviewed, and also that we be provided with written answers to our questions. With the letter we have enclosed copies of the briefing paper, the new policy, as well as a patient information leaflet which purports to explain the new policy. We have inserted our comments, recommendations, and questions into these documents. You can view the letter and documents at the following links:
Recommendations for people living in Cambridgeshire
For those of you who have been affected by this situation, we strongly urge you to file complaints with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service at the following:
1. NHS Cambridge: Freephone: 0800 279 2535 or 01223 725 588 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to them at Patient Advice and Liaison Service, Lockton House, Clarendon Road, Cambridge CB2 8FH
2. NHS Peterborough: Tel: 01733 776283 or by email PALSTeam@peterboroughpct.nhs.uk, or in writing to PALS, City Care Centre, Thorpe Road, Peterborough PE3 6DB.
Also, if any of you would like to help the local ADHD support group fight this, please contact Rebecca Champ. You will find her email address and phone number on her website: ADDventure Within.
There is an article in Psychology Today about adult ADHD. It doesn’t really tell any of us with it anything we don’t already know, saying the problems that come with ADHD are usually: self/time management, self organising and problem solving, self-discipline (because we’re all moral retards right?!), self-motivation, self-activation and concentration.
We have to applaud the article though, because it is in a pretty mainstream publication and so helps get teh word out to the millions and millions of people who either haven’t heard about adult ADHD or just refuse to accept there is such a thing.
A while ago I posted about how it is the ones without ADHD that are the real loonies and the rubbish advice they give you. I think I mentioned the (un)helpful advice of using a diary when we all already have many diaries. The same applies to lists. You have so many lists that you actually have started to make a list of lists, at least once, right?
Anyway, great minds think alike, or at least the ADHD ones do, since we all encounter similar problems including getting advice to make lists. Here’s what Kim Kensington has to say: