Dr. Gabor Mate “What is ADD ADHD?”

Hi fellow ADDers. Below is a recent interview with Dr. Gabor Mate. He has some wonderful views on how we can better address ADD ADHD Issues.



AMY GOODMAN: New figures show the number of U.S. children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder–ADHD–has grown 22% since 2003. Earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control reported that one in ten children now have ADHD, an increase of one million since 2003. The spike in diagnoses of ADHD and other mental disorders has fueled an unprecedented reliance on pharmaceutical medications to treat children, with long-term effects that remain unknown. The conventional response has also emphasized coercive methods with parents and schools encouraged to focus on regulating children’s behavior.

Well, the Canadian physician and bestselling author Dr. Gabor Maté argues that these responses are treating surface symptoms as causes while ignoring deeper roots. Whether it’s in mental disorders like ADHD or in rampant instances of bullying Dr. Maté says, “Children are, in fact, reacting to the broader collapse of the nurturing conditions needed for their healthy development.” Instead of focusing on regulating children’s behavior, Dr. Mate argues that we should be look at how those nurturing conditions can be improved. Dr. Gabor Maté the author of four books including Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It and, with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers. Earlier this year, he appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss his work on drug addiction, as well as on the mind-body connection, the role of emotions and stresses in the development of chronic illnesses. Dr. Maté recently returned to our studio to talk about ADHD, parenting, bullying, the education system, and how a litany of stresses on the family environment is impacting American children.

DR. GABOR MATÈ : In the United States right now there are three million children receiving stimulant drugs for ADHD.


DR. GABOR MATÈ : Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are about half a million kids in this country receiving heavy duty anti-psychotic medications. Medications such as those are usually given to adult schizophrenics to regulate their hallucinations. But in this case, children are getting it to control their behavior. So what we have is a massive social experiment of the chemical control of kids’ behavior with no idea of the long-term consequences of these heavy duty anti-psychotics on kids.

I know that Canadians statistics just last week showed that within last five years, 43% increase in the rate of dispensing stimulant prescriptions for ADD or ADHD, and most are going to boys. In other words, what we are seeing is an unprecedented burgeoning of the diagnosis. I should say, really I’m talking about- more broadly speaking- what I would call the destruction of American childhood, because ADD is the template, or just an example of what’s going on. In fact, according to a recent study published in the States, nearly half of American adolescents now meet some criteria for mental-health disorders. So we’re talking about a massive impact on our children of something in our culture not been recognized.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what attention deficit disorder is, and what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is.

DR. GABOR MATÈ: Specifically ADD is a compound of three categories called, um, a set of symptoms. One has to do with poor impulse control. So, these children have difficulty controlling their impulses. When their brains tells them to do something, from the lower brain centers, there is nothing up here in the cortex- which is where the executive functions are, which is where the functions are that are supposed to tell us what to do and what not to do. Those circuits just don’t work. So there is poor impulse control- they act out, they behave aggressively, they speak out of turn, they say the wrong thing. Adults with ADD with shop compulsively – or impulsively, I should say. And again, behave in an impulsive fashion. So: poor impulse control.

But again, please notice that the impulse control problem is general amongst kids these days. In other words, it’s not just the kids diagnosed with ADD, but a lot of kids. And there are a whole lot of new diagnoses now. And children are being diagnosed with a lot of things- ADD is just one example. There is a new diagnosed called Oppositional Defiant Disorder which again has to do with behaviors and poor impulse control. So that impulse control has become a problem now amongst children in general, not just the specifically diagnosed with ADD. The second criteria for ADD is physical hyperactivity. So the part of the brain, again, that is supposed to regulate physical activity and keep you still just, again, does not work. And then finally, the third criteria is poor attention skills. Tuning out, not paying attention, mind being somewhere else, absent mindedness, and not being able to focus. Beginning to work on something and five minutes later the mind goes somewhere else. Kind of a mental restlessness, a lack of being still, lack of being focused, and a lack of being present. These are the three major criteria of ADD.


Original Article – http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2010/11/24/drgabormatonadhd_bullying

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