Paying the Wrong Kind of Attention to ADHD

by James Wiley, MD, FAAP -- @adddoc An email alerted me of a study concerning ADHD medication.  Since I prescribe it every day and take it myself, I’m always interested. When I clicked on the link I was directed to a July 15 article with this headline:  “Do ADHD Medications Boost Substance Abuse Risk?”  The article was reporting on a June 2016 study from the University of Michigan published the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In brief, the study concluded that if stimulant medication treatment is started earlier (before age 9) and continued, it actually cuts the rate of substance abuse in half.  Put another way, treatment cuts the risk back down to the rate for kids that do not have ADHD. You might think that the media would have noticed a study from a… Read More »

Why Physicians Should Pay Attention to ADHD

by James Wiley, MD, FAAP -- @adddoc In recent years, our understanding of ADHD has overwhelmingly improved. We know that this chronic medical condition has been proven to cause serious problems with learning, destroys self-esteem, significantly increases the risk of accidents, and can lead to substance abuse, depression, anxiety, divorce, and even incarceration. A recent study suggested that those with ADHD have an increased risk of suicide, especially completed suicide, even without depression. Now that we know so much about ADHD, isn’t it ironic that so few physicians are paying attention to it? Why are so many ignoring a serious condition that is diagnosed in five to ten percent of our patients? Here's who is not ignoring ADHD: The Media. The media gives ADHD plenty of attention, but it's the wrong kind of attention. We know that ADHD teens are more likely to… Read More »

Focusing on Her Future: 2016 Scholarship Winner, Haley Millard

After successfully managing her ADHD in grade school, Haley made the decision to stop taking her medication while in middle school. During middle and high school, Haley's grades were acceptable, but not nearly as high as they were in elementary school. Rushing through work and careless errors led to low test scores, but she didn't really think that her untreated ADHD was the problem...that was a problem for "kids." Haley began college and before long found herself on academic probation. Determined to help herself get on the right track, she researched ADHD and found that it wasn't a problem everyone simply outgrows. In her essay, Haley wrote, "It is an unfortunately common misconception that ADHD isn’t a serious problem for kids, and I now know that adults can be just as harmed by it, but I won’t let it keep me down."… Read More »

Independence Day

by James Wiley, MD, FAAP [email protected] As Americans we are celebrating our nation’s history of Independence-- you know, when we told our mother country she no longer had to tell us what to do, supervise our every move, or run our financial affairs.  As parents of kids with ADHD, we look forward to the day when they can claim their own independence and make good decisions, and manage their time, relationships and finances without us. Unfortunately, there are times when ADHD, especially when untreated, can delay this independence.  It takes longer for our kids to "grow up", mature, and take care of their own business in a responsible way. They impulsively want that independence, yet spring forward without considering consequences. This usually doesn’t go that well (for them OR for us). How do we get them ready for independence? We provide… Read More »

Why I don’t Diagnose Oppositional Defiant Disorder (Part 4 of 4)

by James Wiley, MD, FAAP -- @adddoc As we wrap up this series on why oppositional defiant disorder is often misdiagnosed, let's talk about depression.  "She doesn’t care about anything." "He’s lazy! Every day instead of doing homework or studying he goes straight to bed." "She is so grumpy and cries at the drop of a hat." "She won’t even try in school.  When pushed she gets very angry and says the meanest things." "He skips school or falls asleep in class half the time." "Every time I ask her to do something she argues or tells me she is too tired." "She can’t make up her mind about anything until we ask her to do something and then she won’t do it." Does any of this sound like common rhetoric in your household? Depressed kids seem apathetic and don’t see… Read More »