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ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    It's Only Half a Loaf

    In their book, "ADHD in Adults," Barkley et al. discounts the importance of clinical observation in understanding ADHD and believe that scientific controlled studies are the only reliable source of information in understanding ADHD. By doing this, the authors fail to recognize the substantial limitation of scientific studies when it comes to ADHD. They fail to recognize that the ADHD brain has two distinct operational modes and acts completely opposite depending on the mode in which it is in. It will act one way when it finds a task or activity uninteresting, boring, or unstimulating to it and it will act completely opposite when it finds a task stimulating, interesting, exciting, or adventuresome.

    By failing to recognize this, the authors fail to recognize the limitation this places on the ability of scientific studies to capture all the characteristics of ADHD. In order to capture the operation of the ADHD brain when involved in a task or activity that is interesting or stimulating to it, the study must capture ADHD subjects while they are performing a task or activity that is interesting or stimulating to each individual ADHD subject. But, it is extremely difficult for scientific studies to accomplish this. I have read many scientific studies on ADHD and I have yet to read one that has assessed whether the study was conducted while the ADHD subjects were engaged in a task or activity they found stimulating or not. Without this assessment, scientific studies are doomed to the study of the ADHD brain when it is in the status of performing a task or activity that is uninteresting or unstimulating to it. If these studies cannot capture ADHD subjects when they are involved in a task or activity that is interesting to each ADHD subject, they will completely miss how the ADHD brain operates when it is absorbed by something it finds interesting or stimulating. They will completely miss all the abilities of an ADHD brain to hyperfocus, to be creative, to be innovative, to be imaginative, to be highly analytical, to think outside the box, to multi-task, to remain calm in stressful situations, to exercise sequential thought, to become highly organized, to absorb immense amounts of information in very short time spans, and to perceive and remember even the most minutest of details. They will completely miss the dichotomy of the ADHD brain.

    What Barkley et al. fail to recognize is that scientific studies cannot be relied upon to undercover this other side of ADHD and that the only way to truly understand ADHD is by using scientific studies, clinical observations, and the knowledge that exists within the brains of those who have ADHD. The failure of Barkley et al. to recognize this not only undercuts the validity of their book, "ADHD in Adults," but, more importantly, it demonstrates that they really do not understand ADHD. To them, if something cannot be confirmed by scientific studies, it does not exist. But, whether something exists or not is not dependent on the existence of a scientific study confirming it. Scientific studies are dependent on "existence," "existence" is not dependent on scientific studies.

    Written by an ADHD brain.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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