One Response to US Radio Interview on ADHD, Late Sleep and Health

  1. " /> March 28, 2018 at 5:42 pm #

    Hi folks,

    I am delighted to hear Sandra Kooij explain her research in this audio.

    Less delightful: APSARD sharing an interview that showcases one of the very “ADHD deniers” (or at least minimizers) from the NYTimes Op-Ed section.

    A few points:

    1. From my reading of the study on tonsillectomies and ADHD, Thakkar absolutely slants the findings to his bias.

    Moreover, consider this excerpt from his op-ed of April 27,2013 (“Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit”), in which he adds more “conspiracy theory” to “Big Pharma” driving ADHD diagnoses:

    “Sometimes my patients have resisted my referrals for sleep testing, since everything they have read (often through direct-to-consumer marketing by drug companies) identifies A.D.H.D. as the culprit. People don’t like to hear that they may have a different, stranger-sounding problem that can’t be fixed with a pill — though this often changes once patients see the results of their sleep studies.

    “Beyond my day job, I have a personal interest in A.D.H.D. and sleep disorders. Beginning in college and for nearly a decade, I struggled with profound cognitive lethargy and difficulty focusing, a daily nap habit and weekend sleep addiction. I got through my medical school exams only by the grace of good memorization skills and the fact that ephedra was still a legal supplement.

    “I was misdiagnosed with various maladies, including A.D.H.D. Then I underwent two sleep studies and, finally, was found to have an atypical form of narcolepsy. This was a shock to me, because I had never fallen asleep while eating or talking. But, it turned out, over 40 percent of my night was spent in REM sleep — or “dreaming sleep,” which normally occurs only intermittently throughout the night — while just 5 percent was spent in delta sleep, the rejuvenating kind. I was sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night, but I still had a profound delta sleep deficit.”

    2. How many “op-ed” writers and others denying, minimizing, or otherwise obfuscating on the topic of ADHD have had the diagnosis themselves?

    In my observation, no one denies ADHD as vigorously and vehemently as those who have been diagnosed and entirely, ego-defensively resent it. The resentment and “denial” then becomes a mission—or at least a hustle—to ensnare others in this self-delusion.

    Unfortunately, the New York Times op-ed editors fail to do their jobs. They should be soliciting opinion pieces from vetted experts. Instead, they rely on high-powered PR firms to supply essentially a press release for the opinion writer’s new book, clinic, etc. This is irresponsible journalism. But it’s what we’ve come to expect from the anti-psychiatry New York Times.

    3. For many years, I have led an open-to-the public adult ADHD discussion group in Palo Alto, in the shadows of “ADHD Resistant” Stanford University and its renowned sleep clinic.

    We welcome people who have first been to the sleep clinic, not understanding that various sleep-challenges are common with ADHD.

    They have been prescribed CPAP machines for sleep apnea, and some have even had soft throat tissue removed or their jaws sawed in half. All with nary a mention by clinic staff of the possibility of ADHD.

    These folks seek our group because despite the intervention of this renowned sleep clinic, they still have ADHD. They don’t understand. They have been to the “best” medical center in the Bay Area. Or so they think. (Side note: Stanford’s Neuropsychiatric Clinic has “chosen” not to treat Adult ADHD. As if they can fully treat the other range of psychiatric conditions they “choose” to treat without addressing the commonly co-morbid ADHD.)

    On a more practical level, because theses folks still have unrecognized ADHD, they have difficulty following through with the CPAP machines, do not properly care for them, etc. Typically, motivation to continue looking for help stops there: “I tried. I must be hopeless.” Without spouses and other loved ones making the connection to ADHD, they might continue to physically and cognitively swirl the drain.

    Think I’m exaggerating? I attended a public lecture at Stanford a few years ago, with clinic directors William Demente and Clete Kushida. Time and again, they essentially said that sleep deficits cause ADHD. They never mentioned sleep co-morbids to ADHD nor the common behavioral patterns that means people with ADHD aren’t “organized” enough to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. No, sleep deficits cause ADHD, they insisted.

    One member of the audience actually asked, for clarification, about known sleep challenges to ADHD. But Kushida simply replied, “Yes, sleep deficits cause ADHD.”

    When I asked a more direct question about the known sleep challenges to ADHD, again, “Yes, sleep deficits cause ADHD.” It sounded to me like a mantra.

    Afterward, many people came up to me to tell me they’d been to the renowned clinic and still have ADHD. They had no idea what to do next. I invited them to our free meeting.

    As part of my work, I help people nationwide—with diagnosed or potential ADHD—navigate our “mental healthcare system” in order to find a competent evaluation for ADHD and, if diagnosed, competent treatment.

    The damage that incompetent psychiatrists and other physicians wreak on too many of these people is horrifying and incalculable. The “mental healthcare system” is in truth a crazy quilt of idiosyncratic opinions and personal biases masquerading as much more than that. Moreover, the public espousals of evidence-based strategies from some psychiatrists fail to materialize when it’s just the psychiatrist and patient in the room.

    I apologize for being long-winded, but I find this topic of paramount importance. I hear the fallout every day, in individual, personal human stories.

    I encourage APSARD to consider more closely the consequences of inherently endorsing such far afield opinions. As the foremost professional organization devoted to ADHD and related disorders, APSARD’s endorsement is a powerful anchor for people struggling to find their way. Their resources are often slim, and they cannot afford to bounce from one to the other, looking for evidence-based care. Moreover, as we know, motivation and initiation are typically impaired. They get worn down and give up. They need clarity, not more “marketplace of ideas.”

    Thank you.



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