Beyond Binary Wikia
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Note: Everything expressed in this wiki is simply my opinion. In the case of mental health issues my opinion is far from "expert" but my belief is that the experts of mental health are too influenced by out-dated and government-sanctioned theories of psychology to actually address the common factor linking all mental illnesses: late-stage capitalist society. My opinions are biased away from established medical descriptions of all these so-called "disorders" and directed at finding spiritual healing for the common pains we all experience of being born into this confusing, pain-filled world.

Tendril Theory of Parallel Attention

ADHD is a terribly named "disorder" that, in my opinion, is used to stigmatise children who do not conform to the schooling system as 'abnormal', hence defending the status quo rather than accepting that children learn in a plethora of different ways and that the one-size-fits-all model of curriculum-based education is fundamentally flawed.

|MedScape://Why Now? Factors That Delay ADHD Diagnosis in Adults>

Background

ADHD stands for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and is now an umbrella term that includes the 'primarily-inattentive' type that used to be called ADD (attention deficit disorder). The term 'attention deficit' is completely offensive and implies that because children don't find it easy to pay attention to their teachers, that: 1. they have an inability to focus, and 2. this is a disorder in the child's brain.

To remedy this, psychiatrists throughout the western world prescribe these children with amphetamines and other stimulants which change the way the child's mind absorbs dopamine and re-wires the reward pathways of their developing brain.

Symptoms

A few specifically useful diagnostic symptoms is shown below, for a longer list see this page, or this very helpful guide from ADDitude Magazine.

Interest-Based Nervous System

"Despite its name, ADHD doesn’t actually cause a deficit of attention. It actually causes inconsistent attention that is only activated under certain circumstances.

People with ADHD often say they “get in the zone” or “hit a groove.” These are all ways of describing a state of hyperfocus – intense concentration on a particular task, during which the individual feels she can accomplish anything. In fact, she may become so intently focused that the adult with ADD may lose all sense of how much time has passed."[1]

Emotional Hyperarousal

"Most people expect ADHD to create visible hyperactivity. This only occurs in 25% of children and 5% of adults. The rest experience an internal feeling of hyperarousal. When I ask people with ADHD to elaborate on it, they say:

  • “I’m always tense. I can never relax.”
  • “I can’t just sit there and watch a TV program with the rest of the family.”
  • “I can’t turn my brain and body off to go to sleep at night.”"[1]

Rejection Sensitivity

"Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is an intense vulnerability to the perception – not necessarily the reality – of being rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in your life. RSD causes extreme emotional pain that may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either your own high standards or others’ expectations."[1]

(Note: RSD also overlaps heavily with symptoms of BPD, which is a much more common diagnosis for non-men displaying emotional hyperarousal and rejection sensitivity)

Trouble Sleeping

How_to_Get_to_Sleep_When_You_Have_ADHD

How to Get to Sleep When You Have ADHD

ADHD and Sleep Issues

The video on the right quotes a statistic that 70-80% of adults labelled with ADHD have significant trouble falling asleep or waking up in the morning. So if you are one of the many people who find your mind impossible to switch off at night and your body impossible to get out of bed in the morning, this could very well mean you are at least on the ADHD spectrum.

Too Many Thoughts

The main symptom I associate with ADHD is the feeling of having too many thoughts in your head to possibly keep track of. I personally found seeing this xkcd comic to be one of the first moments I realised how strongly I resonated with the experience of ADD/ADHD.

Difficulty Listening

Related to the last symptom, it becomes very hard to listen to other people when your own mind is constantly giving you new thoughts and everything they say is sparking even more thoughts. There is a tendency for people labelled with ADHD to interrupt others, not because we intend to be rude but because the anxiety felt at the thought of forgetting what we wanted to say is very intense and hard to control.

Emotional Regulation Issues

Help!_How_to_Deal_With_ADHD_Meltdowns

Help! How to Deal With ADHD Meltdowns

ADHD and Meltdowns

Emotional intelligence is simply not taught in modern schools. It is expected that children will learn emotional regulation either within their families or in the schoolyard. However, when families are under the pressure of late-stage capitalism and parents are working 40+ hour weeks, then many children are forced to either learn this themselves, or find ways to hide their emotional issues under a facade of happiness.

https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/adhd-emotions-knock-off-our-feet/

Gender

ADHD: a women's issue - Nicole Crawford, APA

"Psychologists are fighting gender bias in research on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder."

"When psychologist Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, published two studies on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in girls last October, psychologist Kathleen Nadeau, PhD, was heartened that females with ADHD were finally beginning to receive long overdue attention from researchers.

"Hinshaw is one of the first to study girls themselves," says Nadeau of the lead author's work, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Vol. 70, No. 5). "Most of the few prior studies have focused on comparing girls to boys--using boys' ADHD symptoms as the marker against which girls should be measured."

For Nadeau, Hinshaw's research was vindication for what she had observed clinically for years: "that girls experience significant struggles that are often overlooked because their ADHD symptoms bear little resemblance to those of boys." It was also a signal for her to push even harder to raise the awareness of the needs of women with the disorder." 

"Researcher and educational therapist Jane Adelizzi, PhD, theorizes that females with ADHD have been largely neglected by researchers because hyperactivity is usually missing in girls, who typically have attention deficit disorder (ADD), the inattentive type of ADHD. But for advocates, the bottom line is this: Girls with undiagnosed ADHD will most likely carry their problems into adulthood, and left untreated, their lives often fall apart. 

"Girls with untreated ADHD are at risk for chronic low self-esteem, underachievement, anxiety, depression, teen pregnancy, early smoking during middle school and high school," says Nadeau."

As adults, they're at risk for "divorce, financial crises, single-parenting a child with ADHD, never completing college, underemployment, substance abuse, eating disorders and constant stress due to difficulty in managing the demands of daily life--which overflow into the difficulties of their children, 50 percent of whom are likely to have ADHD as well," Nadeau adds."

Comorbidity

(see also Autism Comorbidities)

One study has shown that autistic traits are hugely over-represented in ADHD populations, with a prevalence of 18% vs 0.87%[2]. Of course, this is not the same as being autistic, but the rate of autism traits amongst non-ADHD children is commensurate with the accepted rate of 1 in 68, and hence is not an unreasonable estimate of autism prevalence[3]. Other studies suggest as many as 30-50% of autistic people exhibit ADHD traits[4].

https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/decoding-overlap-autism-adhd/ |SpectrumNews://Decoding the overlap between autism and ADHD>

""

Studies

Co-Occurrence of Developmental Disorders: Children Who Share Symptoms of Autism, Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

"In an analysis conducted with Lauren Rodgers at the Peninsula Medical School in the UK using data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a cohort of around 19,000 children who were all born between 2000 and 2002, we noted 44 children had a dual diagnosis of both ASD and ADHD (proportion of total population 0.3%) by age seven. The prevalence of children with identified ADHD in the ASD sample was 17%. Conversely, the prevalence of children with ASD in the ADHD sample was higher at 27%. Both figures indicate substantial overlap between these conditions."[5]

Probability

Looking at this from a Bayesian perspective, this is a fairly large factor of increase and suggests that people with ADHD are much more likely to be autistic than those who aren't. This is in direct opposition to the traditional "wisdom" of modern US psychiatry, which forbade a dual diagnosis until 2013[6].

Using Bayes' rule, and substituting the ranges 0.3 to 0.5, 0.01 to 0.02 and 0.034 to 0.11, this gives a range of conditional probabilities for the probability of being autistic if you have ADHD.

Considering that ADHD symptoms are much more commonly recognised, this could be a strong signal for identifying autism in otherwise less obviously-presenting populations.

Outcomes

"Several investigators have found [...] a higher percentage of children with both ASD+ADHD were classified as having significant cognitive delays than children with ASD-only (61 vs. 25%). Kotte et al. [...] had reported ADHD children with high score on the AT profile of the CBCL, were significantly more impaired than control subjects in psychopathology, interpersonal, school, family, and cognitive domains. Yerys et al. [...] reported on elevated rates of externalizing problem behaviors as well as greater impairment in executive functioning in children with comorbid ASD and ADHD, compared with children with ASD-only. Children with high functioning autism (HFA) and attention problems scored significantly below the children with HFA only, on the verbal memory and delayed recall measures, supporting the proposition that children with both disorders differ not only on a clinical level but also on a neurocognitive level[...]."[4]

Links

The Co-Occurrence of Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children – What Do We Know?

Exploring the relationship between autistic-like traits and ADHD behaviors in early childhood: findings from a community twin study of 2-year-olds.

"Phenotypic analyses showed that after controlling for general cognitive ability and socioeconomic status, autistic-like traits (total scale as well as social and nonsocial subscales) correlated positively with ADHD behaviors (r = 0.23-0.26). Structural equation model-fitting analyses revealed that there were modest shared genetic influences between ADHD- and autistic traits (genetic correlation = 0.27) as well as some common environmental influences explaining their covariation."

Articles

Autism and ADHD: The Complete Playbook for Social Challenges - Mark Bertin, M.D., ADDitudeMag

(TW: pathologisation of Autism as a disorder, medical bs, encouragement of behavioural therapy {ABA})

"Autism is a [[[Divergences|divergence]]] in which social skills do not develop as expected. More severe impairment affects children who barely interact with others around them, and have limited language. On the other end of the spectrum, there are fairly extroverted children who seek out others and get along with adults, but have a hard time getting along with other children."

"The key trait that distinguishes ADHD from autism is the ability to intuitively comprehend the social world. Delays in this skill are the common thread among all diagnoses of autism, regardless of severity. Children with ADHD alone may also struggle socially, but their intuitive understanding is present."

"Any intervention that improves the symptoms of ADHD will also improve the social abilities hindered by it. Comprehensive care for ADHD may mean individual- or parent-based behavioral therapy, social skills groups, medication, or other evidence-based treatment. (As a side note, misbehavior without seeming remorseful doesn’t always mean a child lacks empathy. Children with ADHD are often emotionally overwhelmed and immature, and don’t know how to express remorse or react when they’ve done something wrong.)"

|Understood.org://ADHD and Messiness: What You Need to Know>

"Some kids are naturally neat. They keep their things fairly organized and try to avoid mess. Others aren’t always so tidy. But many kids with ADHD (also known as ADD) are messy most of the time, which can cause problems at home and at school.
Kids who can’t find their supplies in their messy desk at school might not have time to finish an in-class assignment. They might miss a field trip because the permission slip got lost in their overflowing backpack. And they might repeatedly get in trouble for having a messy room, even after being told to clean it up."

My Experience

I was only diagnosed with ADHD in the last few years, after trying dexamphetamine and realising it had a profoundly different effect on me than it seemed to have on 'neurotypical' people (people without Aspergers or ADHD). Rather than feeling like a stimulant, the drug had the effect of reducing my anxiety and initially making me feel much more calm.

Having always enjoyed school and been a high-achiever, I was never a prime suspect for ADD, which is commonly associated with difficultly in school. However, social difficulties formed my major obstacles and throughout primary school I would often spend nights in bed unable to sleep as I replayed social situations over in my head and rehearsed future responses. This childhood social anxiety plus ADHD combination is typical of an Aspergers diagnosis, and this might have been more noticeable had I not also decided in year 3 to become something of a class clown in order to get approval.

By acting out, I placated my social anxiety and put on a daily mask of confidence and showmanship, spending my early years desperate to climb the social hierarchy by acting up and shocking people. One of the main methods was through sexualising myself and others.

Videos

Is ADHD an advantage? - ASAPScience

How to get stuff done with ADHD - How To ADHD

ADHD and Relationships: Let's Be Honest - How To ADHD

ADHD in Girls: How to Recognise the Symptoms - How To ADHD

Help! How to Deal With ADHD Meltdowns - How To ADHD

References

Journal

May 2016:

The 'How To ADHD' videos are really helpful and are helping improve my own organisational patterns for writing thesis and revising my first paper. Bought a pomodoro timer, too. :)

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