Monday, November 21, 2011

ADHD, Drugs, Ethnocentrism, and Sickness

1. Couldn't understand one of my old dreams about Australia.

It's from September 20, 2007.

I wrote: I walk past kitchen and TV suddenly turns to Australia movie. At first I'm not sure. I think they mention Australia...but I'm not sure I heard right. The ground looks red...Australian. But I can't figure out why the TV has suddenly turned to Australia. Then the red record light goes on. I think it's funny that the TV came on and then it recorded a few minutes later.

Did I mean an Australian movie; or the Baz Luhrmann Australia movie?   Was that known about yet?  
2. Saw from IMDb that Australia was released November 2008.  

It could have been talked about in the media in September 2007.  I don't know.....

3. Cringed at the racism in my Australia history book.  

Here's what they say about the convict William Buckley.   He had dwelt for thirty-two years among the natives.   During this long time he had experienced many strange adventures, but had not exercised the smallest influence for good upon the natives.   He was content to sink at once to their level, and to lead the purely animal life they led.  

The book was written before 1923, so that helps to explain the ethnocentric attitude.  

I can't say, though, that this attitude doesn't exist today.  Some people assume their culture and belief system is superior to others, and they believe it's their duty to spread their culture to those who are ignorant about it.  

Isn't that what missionaries do?

Yes, they try to bring food, medicine, clothing, etc to those who are less fortunate.  But isn't their main goal to spread Christianity?

4. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says that some modern missionaries try to avoid cultural imperialism.

That's good.

5. Disgusted by this news article.  It says the National Health and Medical Research council is considering a proposal that will involve reporting parents to authorities if they don't medicate their kids for ADHD.

That is SCARY.

Here's another article about it.  There are angry comments.  From what I know, I agree with them.  

JD says, 

So now pychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies want forced drugging of children. Drugs such as Ritalin that have known and reported side effects such Cardiac Arrest, Heart Injury, Depression, Drug Dependence, Aggression, Anger, Delusion, Hallucinations, SUICIDE and DEATH.

We've gotten a few prescriptions from doctors lately.  I don't get it. The listed side effects are worse than the symptoms we've been complaining about.

6. Consulted Lord Wiki and he seems to agree with JD and other commenters. He says that there haven't been many long term studies on the benefits and adverse effects of ADHD drugs.

He has a long list of side effects caused by Ritalin.

Do the benefits outweigh the risks?  Maybe in some cases.  But I doubt that's the case in all patients; and it's terrifying to imagine parents being forced to put their kids on these drugs.

I think mental illness is over-diagnosed and I think people are over-medicated.

It's so weird that we have this push to medicate children who don't easily fit into the square holes, and then, at the same time, we also have this war against drugs.

It makes no sense to me.

7. Found website comparing Ritalin and Cocaine. 

It talks about how Ritalin is becoming an abused drug among teenagers.  The website says it's not addictive in small prescriptive doses, but is addictive in larger doses.

The website says children are often taken off of Ritalin when they get to be adults.   Then they will sometimes turn to cocaine. They're more prone than other kids to get addicted to cocaine.

They also say, Recent animal studies suggest that children who are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD and treated with Ritalin may be more likely to develop depression as adults.

How is ADHD diagnosed?  How do you distinguish between normal child hyperactivity and unhealthy child hyperactivity?

If so many children are being diagnosed with the disease; could it be possible we're medicating children for a disease that really should be called Acts-Like-A-Child Syndrome?     

8. Found an ADHD screening test for adults.

One of the questions:  At home, work, or school, I find my mind wandering from tasks that are uninteresting or difficult.

Yes, and...Why would my mind NOT wander if I was bored?  

9.  Took the test.  I answered most questions with the option of "Just a Little" because "Not at all" seems a bit extreme.  I would think most people have these traits at least some of the time.

Despite my not really relating to most of the traits my score came out as 31 which is Borderline ADHD.

10. Felt better after seeing this children's test for ADHD.   I answered the questions for Jack, usually choosing "Sometimes" rather than "never", "often", and "very often".

The results said, Your child does not have symptoms of ADHD.

We should be able to admit that sometimes we have certain traits and symptoms without being told we have something wrong with us.

Children should be able to be somewhat restless, impulsive, inattentive energetic, fidgety, etc. without being diagnosed as having a disorder.

If some children are overly restless, impulsive, inattentive, energetic, fidgety, etc. then MAYBE medication is a valid treatment.  The risks and benefits should be heavily weighed.  And parents certainly shouldn't be villainized for taking an alternate path.  

11. Went to the website of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

They have a media release about ADHD.   It doesn't talk about forcing parents to medicate their kids.  They just say they're coming up with a clinical points draft thing.  

Are they seriously considering reporting parents to authorities for not medicating their kids?   I don't know.  Maybe.  Or it could just be a wild card that got into the mix, and the media got a hold of it.

I hope the latter is the case.

12. Found an editorial written by a child psychiatrist; George Halasz.  He defends the draft guideline things and points out it's not necessarily about medicating children.  

Halasz says, It’s important to get to the wording of this Draft Clinical Practice Points correct – it says, “As with any medical intervention, the inability of parents to implement strategies may raise child protection concerns.”

The general idea is that parents should give their ADHD kids SOME type of help; but it might not necessarily be medication.  

That's fair.  If the basic idea is to prevent parental neglect, I'm fine with it.   The problem is when parents get in trouble for disagreeing with a diagnosis or teacher assessment.   Or they get in trouble for having an alternate method of dealing with the issues.

13. Decided Halasz sounds reasonable to me.  He talks about children who get diagnosed with ADHD after an hour consultation and then receive medication.  He says he doesn't see this as a good thing.

14. Decided it would be neglectful of parents to refuse to give treatment to their children if there were no (or very little) side effects.  And it would be neglectful of parents not to give treatment to their children if there was a definite method of diagnosis, and the results of not seeking treatment would be fatal or otherwise disastrous.  

An example would be a child who gets a positive strep result and the parents refuses to treat the child with antibiotics.  That's likely to be a case of neglect.  

But there's no blood test for ADHD.  It's a matter of a doctor's opinion.   And opinions aren't 100% right even when it's coming from someone who's been through medical school.

Also. From what I'm reading, it doesn't seem like Ritalin is a definite solution to what's plaguing parents, teachers, and kids.   It might help.   It might not.  There are side effects and possible long term negative consequences.

15. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of Shopping and Gossip.

This is the story with the octuplet.  

There's been two new posts since I last read.

16. Started to read.

The first new post is by Iggy's sister, Alessia Blackbury-Tremaine.  She's the one shopping with Iggy.

I don't think she's one of the octuplets.  I think she's the sister that came included with the mom who married Iggy's mom.  In other words, she's Iggy's stepsister.

17. Saw that Alessia has been ill and is in remission.  I guess she had cancer?   I associate remission with cancer, but there are probably other illnesses that include that term.

18. Figured that Iggy is probably gay.  His posts talks about awkwardness at a game of spin the bottle.

Every time he thought about the kiss he felt really strange. The girl, the sister of Yves' friend, had totally surprised him and he kept trying to convince himself that shock was the reason he had frozen up and stared at her in mild terror. He felt like a freak for not responding like the other boys clearly thought he should have. The whole thing made him feel weird and confused and he didn't like thinking about it for too long.  

The last time I read about Iggy, I considered that he might be gay because he is effeminate.   I know that's often associated with homosexuality.  But men CAN be effeminate and not be gay, so I tried not to jump to conclusions.

19. Started to read the biography of Alessia Blackbury-Tremaine.  

I peaked at the bottom part and saw I was wrong about Iggy being the only homeschooled one in the family. Alessia is too.

20. Saw that Alessia's face claim is Molly Quinn.  Lord Wiki says she's from Texas.

Quinn is on the TV show Castle.   This is the show that features Nathan Fillion, who is the face claim for the headmaster of Tallygarunga. 

21. Watched interview of Molly Quinn.  

22. Learned that Alessia covers herself in lots of clothes because she burns easily.  She has very fair skin.

23. Learned that Alessia is somewhat spoiled because of her earlier serious illness.

It says here, Alessia tends to be able to get away with almost anything. Whether its because there is always the possibility that she will become sick again, or just because she can end up working herself into a state if she finds herself in a serious confrontation over something that she wants to do, its anyone's guess, but the simple fact is that she is somewhat spoiled and not often given orders or told off.

I've seen parents being overindulgent with children who are seriously ill.   It seems like a bad idea to me, and I judge them for that.   Then I imagine if it was Jack who was very sick.   I can't say I'd act any differently than those other parents.

24. Figured out that Alessia probably had cancer.  There's mention of chemotherapy and radiation.

She's a pureblood witch, so that surprises me.  My guess would have been that witches and wizards get magical diseases and not Muggle ones.  I'd also imagine that they'd be treated with magical potions and not stuff like radiation.

But I'm basing that opinion on what I read and remember from the Harry Potter books. And those books deal with only a select community of witches and wizards.

Approaches to disease and medicine might be different in the Australian wizarding community.  

25. Started to read Alessia's history.

She was diagnosed with cancer when she was very young—toddler-preschooler age. 

26. Decided to start reading He Died With a Felafel in His Hand.

Now I'll be reading three books simultaneously.  It's not something I usually do.

It's just that the two other books I'm reading are a Kindle book and a library book.   I'm about to color my hair.   I like to have something to read while I'm waiting for the color to do it's magic.

I don't want to drip dye on the Kindle or library book.  It's much better to drop dye on a used book.  

27. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Oliver Archibald.  

He was a politician, born in London in 1850.   

His parents died when he was ten.  He went on to do the apprentice thing.  He worked for a piano-building company.

In his teen years he became involved with speech-making and debating.

28. Learned that Archibald migrated to New Zealand first.  That was in 1879.  He would have been about 29 at the time.

Later Archibald moved to New South Wales; then to Victoria, and finally to South Australia.

29. Learned that Archibald did government railway work.

He also got into politics.

He joined Federal Parliament under the Labor party.  His seat was Hindmarsh.

30. Learned from Lord Wiki that the person in the Hindmarsh seat now is Steve Georganas.   He's from the Labor party.

31. Learned that William Archibald switched from the Labor party to the National Labor Party.   This was the party started by William Hughes.   They were pro-conscription.

32. Decided to look at alternate times to go to Australia.  It seems very unlikely that we'll be able to go at our originally planned time (February-March) but we may be able to go later.

I want to work around school holidays because I know accommodations are much more expensive those days.  Although if we end up there for a few days during a holiday; it's not a huge deal.  

Sometime between April and June might work.

The thing is Tim's on new medication.  They say it will take about a month to know if it's working or not.  By then it will be December; and it will probably be too late to buy plane tickets for February.

I could be wrong.

That's the good-case scenario, though.   That's with Tim feeling great and us saying, oh man you're feeling great; but all the flights are sold out (or too expensive).  In the not-good scenario, he's still feeling like crap and we're searching for new medications.  

33. Decided if we end up going in April, we'll probably keep our original plans—Melbourne and Sydney.   If we go in May or June, we'll probably do a brief visit to Melbourne, a brief visit to Sydney, and then run to Queensland where it's warmer.

Then the question will be where do we go to in Queensland. I think it will be either Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, or Cairns.   

34. Went to look at more of Fredweng's fourth day in Australia Flickr set.  

35. Thought these penguins were cute.  

36. Thought this was a very sweet koala photo. 

37. Saw the Fredweng returned to Sydney

He went to the Sydney Fish Market.  

38. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australian quiz.  This one has something to do with numbers.  

39. Embarrassed that I got the first question wrong.  It's about the number of stars on the Australian flag.

I should hang my head in shame.

Anyway, there are six stars.

It seems although I love the Australian flag, I don't look at it closely enough.

We played Trivial Pursuit when we were in Australia.  I think I had a similar question and got it wrong that time too.

40.  Got the second question wrong.   It was the number of points on the big star on the flag.  The question said there was a point for each state and territory.   So I sat there counting states and territories in my head, over and over, because I kept forgetting something.    I think most people forget Tasmania.  I kept forgetting Victoria.

I finally came up with eight—six states and two territories.  The answer was seven.  All the interior and exterior territories are lumped into one point on the star.

That's not really fair.  

41. Got the third question wrong.  It's about the song "Clancy of the Overflow".

How many letters were written to Clancy?

The answer was one.   I didn't know that, and I didn't manage to guess correctly.

42. Started to listen to Slim Dusty sing "Clancy of the Overflow".

43. Wondered if I will answer any of these quiz questions correctly.

44. Got question #4 right!  Finally!  It was about "Waltzing Matilda".

45. Got question #55 wrong.   I was reminded that Banjo Patterson is on the ten dollar note.

46. Got question #6 wrong and learned that Survivor and some other shows are (or were) on channel 9.  I forgot the other shows.  I'll find out when the quiz ends. 

47. Got question #7 wrong and learned there are five cities in Australia with populations over a million.

I'm feeling very ignorant right now.

48. Finished the quiz.  I got 4/10 right. The average is 6/10.

The question that most people got right and I got wrong was the one about Channel 9.

And the other shows mentioned in the question were Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, CSI, and Current Affair.

49. Practiced singing "I Am Australian".   I was awful, and I looked awful in the video.   I look old and overly thin.   But I'm definitely not overly thin.   I'm not thin at all.  It's just the camera's making me look that way.  

50. Wanted to clear something up; just in case I have people confused.  I could be wrong, but I don't think Tim has any kind of awful fatal illness.  I mean he COULD, but then so could I...or anybody.   Any of us could be dying and we just don't know it yet.

We've been doing a lot of research, have seen doctors, have done tests; and the answers point to something that's annoying, chronic, uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating....but not likely deadly.  

I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying that.   I don't want the universe trying to make a fool out of me—Tim coming back from the doctor and saying, Dina, bad news.  I have three weeks to live.  

I just don't want people overly worrying about us and getting all dramatically teary-eyed when they read my blog.

It's bad right now in our family.  But it's not...BAD.  If you know what I mean.

So feel a little sorry for us.  Throw a little sympathy our way...and some prayers (if you're into that).  But save most of your tears and sympathy for those who need it more.

51. Tried singing "I Am Australian" again.   It was so incredibly bad.    Now I'm wanting to return to the mindset that I'm a horrible singer and should just give up.

I think I'd rather just go and read my book—well, one of my three books.  

Really.  Do I have to try to improve my singing?   It seemed like a great goal the other day.   Now it just seems boring and a waste of time.

And honestly, I hate watching myself sing on video.

I may not be ugly.   I'm not trying to say that.   I just personally don't care for my looks.

I'm not my type.

52. Decided when I sing on video I remind myself of the dorky older sister in Dirty Dancing

53. Decided I should concentrate on writing rather than singing.

I DO actually like my style of writing.   Sometimes when I go back and read my old stuff, I think to myself,  Wow, I am awesome.   

If I wasn't me; I'd totally read my blog.  And I'd buy all my books...if they were published.      

54. Decided if I'm honest with myself, and people reading this, I probably don't feel my singing is bad-mediocre.   I think it's usually between mediocre and good.   I don't include the singing I did a few minutes ago.   That was somewhat awful.  

I think I have a fairly decent ability to sing.  But I personally don't like how my voice sounds.   It's too.....


I don't know.

I don't mind singing in the shower.   But I don't like recording my voice and then having to listen to it.

My own voice grates on my nerves. 

Really.   I think I'm going to give up.   I'll still sing, but I won't try to turn it into a serious hobby.