ADHD epidemic rages out of control – News Update

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

ADHD?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Almost all U. S. children infected with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

In my morning news was the startling report that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is spreading among America’s children (AHRQ, September 2012.) It now appears likely that all U. S. Children will not be able to pay attention sufficiently to grow into mature adults.

In a short ten-year period (2000 to 2010) the number of ADHD-related visits to doctors’ offices increased by a whopping 68%. During the much longer decade of the 1960’s, most doctors office visits centered on getting children off drugs.

If I read those news statistics right, in just four of those recent years (2003-2007) 5.4 million children caught a case of ADHD.

So far this epidemic has been confined to the United States. The United Kingdom and northern Europe have not yet seen a flood of ADHD cases, but given the prevalence of internet viruses, the impact of this epidemic may soon be felt worldwide.

This problem has become so severe that two and three-year-old’s are now being brought in for diagnosis and medication to improve their attention. The fear has become that some children may forget how to grow older if they do not get medications.

The magnitude of this crisis has required that an army of child psychiatrist be redeployed from less serious issues like schizophrenia and suicidal depression to facing the onslaught of pediatric ADHD.

The news release on this topic reports that the huge increase in public education of ADHD may have led parents, children and providers to identify conditions that previously would have been dismissed as behavioral and conduct disorders to now be attributed to ADHD.

Over this time period while we have been spending an increasing share of our resources on fighting a war on stimulant abuse in adults, from 87% to 98% children identified with ADHD have been prescribed amphetamine-like stimulant ADHD medication. If amphetamines have been so effective in improving attention and behavior in children it is hard to understand why the widespread use of Methamphetamines has not eliminated the occurrence of adult crime.

In fairness to the manufacturers of stimulant ADHD medications, the evidence does not indicate that childhood use of stimulant ADHD medications increases adult drug abuse.

This huge rise in the number of American Children leads me to several possible Hypotheses.

1. All children have ADHD and should receive a prescription for medication at the time of birth.

OR

2. Children are inherently young and immature and no amount of effort on our part will get children to act like responsible adults until they have in fact grown old enough to legally be adults.

In support of hypothesis two I note that in countries where children start school at older ages, they have significantly less ADHD. Also, children, who receive more exercise and are allowed to waste time at recess on physical activity, are better able to sit quietly in class. Classrooms which eliminate recess to increases classroom time and test scores are those that have higher rates of ADHD.

All that said, with tongue protruding from my cheek, I do believe there legitimately are cases of ADHD and those with ADHD are vastly helped by medication. My concern continues to be that we are trying to medicate our way out of family, societal, and economic problems, lack of quality education and efforts to raise test schools by excessive expectations of very young children rather than more educational opportunity as the school experience progresses.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Degree but can’t find a job.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Filling out a job application

Job application.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You got a degree but you still haven’t gotten a job.

Why did this happen and what can you do? Unfortunately, there are more and more people in this boat these days. When the economy turns down, lots of people return to school to get an advanced degree. Student loan debt is moving ever higher.

Just because you get that new degree does not mean you are going to get a job. In some majors, less than half of the people who received the degree ever found a job in their major field. One study found that ten years after graduation as many of 10% of graduates from a major prestigious college still had not found a job.

Many, but not all of the better-paying jobs available today require an advanced degree but there are plenty of college graduates who are unemployed. Why the mismatch?

Finding a job is a separate skill from what you learned in obtaining your degree.

Many college graduates became technically proficient in a narrow skill but they have little or no skills in interviewing. Lots of people want to work in a technical field because they are more comfortable around things than people.

Then when they look for work they find they don’t have the people skills to be able to work in a company. Career counseling can help with this issue. Go to groups and meet people, learn to network. Networking has two advantages, it helps you find job openings to apply for and it may improve your people skills so that you land a job after your interview.

There may be no jobs for your specialty in the area you are planning to live.

Until very recently California did not license professional counselors. Students majored in those areas because that was what they wanted to do. Then they discovered that to pursue this goal they would need to leave the state and move away from family, friends and social networks. Some chose to go and some stayed and worked in fields unrelated to their degree.

Jobs that are only sort of related to your major, may not pay what you had expected and you may not be able to maintain your skills if you work outside your degree area. It pays to think about possible job openings and do the research before you graduate. Sometimes even well into your college program, it is worthwhile changing your major or adding a minor in a related field.

Some people may be majoring in a field in which there are few jobs.

This is especially problematic in fields that people enter for emotional rather than monetary reasons. There are way more photography majors than paying jobs for photographers. Most photographers go into business for themselves only to find they should have majored in business, not photography if they want to make a living.  Technical schools and private colleges have been especially at fault here. They develop programs that sound appealing in the ads, but the number of students they are teaching far exceeds the available jobs.

What you learn to get a degree and what you do on the job may be very different.

Teaching is a good example of this. The course of study is about how to be a good and effective teacher. The reality is getting along with parents and administrators and trying to keep discipline in the classroom. Lots of teaching students complain that the reality is more like being a babysitter than an educator.  Before you commit years of study and tens of thousands of dollars to getting a degree consider learning more about what people with that degree actually do. Research working conditions, and job satisfaction. What you see people doing on T. V. is not what most people in that field do most of the time. Interviewing people who are actually working in that career is helpful. Many will be glad to share their experiences with someone who cares enough to ask. Especially ask them, “If you had it to do over would you do something else? Why?”

The narrower the specialty the faster the field changes.

The more specialized the field the more likely that you will need to stay in school or return often to stay current. The computer field has provided lots of examples of this. I know of someone who went to school to become a keypunch operator, computers used to need large trays of punch cards to tell them what to do. By the time this person graduated, the companies in their town were doing away with punch cards. Unless your school and instructor are cutting edge it is possible that even with a degree the firm that hires you will need to retrain you on their equipment and process. More on the retraining issue in the post about Cordwainers and Redsmiths.

Have a realistic expectation for salary; know what salary you should expect.

More than one person I have met has returned to school and gotten a new degree to make a career change only to find that they can’t afford to give up their present job and start over at the entry-level salary that the new field would offer. Do your research on salary and market conditions for a given field before you start and you will be more likely to be satisfied afterward. Monitor the job market while in school and be prepared to take some extra classes or adjust your program if the career field is changing. Salary should not be your only consideration. People who do things they love are happier, more productive and often more successful than people who are unsatisfied with the job. But make sure you can afford to live on the salary you will get for a given job before you are locked in. Otherwise, you may have a degree in one field and work at something totally different.

The more advanced the degree, the higher the pay the longer it may take to find a job.

Especially if you are limited geographically or because of a narrow specialization. Many recent college graduates expect to find a new job right away. In this economy that rarely happens. Even in good times, it takes longer to find a job that requires and pays for a master degree than if you have a two-year or four-year degree. Finding a position if you have a Ph.D. will probably take even longer. The conclusion? A degree by itself will not be enough to get you that good paying job. Do your research before, during and after your college experience. Develop job search and interviewing skills in addition to your technical skills. Especially work on people skills, anywhere you go there will be people you need to work for and with. Develop other skills to allow you use your skills, become better at communicating and expressing your thoughts. Have patience but continue looking and don’t give up.

Best wishes on finding that dream job.

Bipolar Disorder Genetics Research Study- Come one come all

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Person with masks

Bipolar.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Here is another Bipolar research study that I thought was worth passing along.

This was announced last month but I just came across the post.  While it may not help anyone with their current symptoms these kinds of studies help us understand more about

This was announced last month but I just came across the post.  While it may not help anyone with their current symptoms these kinds of studies help us understand more about Bipolar disorder and other conditions that just look like bipolar but aren’t. Here is the full press announcement from the March 1, 2012, update from the NIMH partner’s email. Let me know what you think of these blog entries on Bipolar research programs. Are they helpful? Have you heard about this before? Feel free to leave a comment on the counselorssoapbox.com blog.

“Nationwide Recruitment: Bipolar Disorder Adult Research Study

Bipolar Disorder Genetics: A Collaborative Study

Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder may be eligible to participate in a research study at the NIH Clinical Center. The purpose of this study is to identify genes that may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder (manic depression), and related conditions. Bipolar disorder is a common and potentially life-threatening mood disorder. The tendency to develop bipolar disorder can be inherited, but this is poorly understood and probably involves multiple genes. This study will use genetic markers to map and identify genes that contribute to bipolar disorder.

Families and individuals who have the disorder are asked to contribute personal information and a blood sample to an anonymous national database. This information will aid scientists around the world who are working together to develop better treatments for this serious mood disorder.

To find out more information, please call 1-866-644-4363 or email kazubad@mail.nih.gov.

National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services

For more information on research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD click here http://patientinfo.nimh.nih.gov.”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.