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Welcome to my blog……. 12/30/2010

My psychology practice deals with various mental health problems experienced by children, adolescents, and adults. The purpose of this blog is to provide readers with factual information about these mental health issues. I find that people increasingly believe information that is factually inaccurate. A recent Newsweek article attributed some of these inaccuracies to the Internet and TV. 1 My training as a psychologist emphasized relying on facts and conclusions that can be verified through research. This is the information I’d like people to rely on. So let’s begin with some facts about Attention Deficit Disorder that contradict one of the current myths.

An increasingly held belief about Attention Deficit Disorder is that everyone has this disorder because multitasking throughout the day with multiple technological gadgets is decreasing all of our attention spans.

Let’s get a little historical perspective here. Evidence of Attention Deficit Disorder has existed for over 100 years. Over 80 international scientist/researchers signed a Consensus Statement in 2002 stating that Attention Deficit Disorder is a real disorder involving differences in multiple brain functions. The disorder has been documented on numerous continents.

But……, if we’re all more distracted and have shorter attention spans today, how do we know who really has ADD? It means we have to evaluate children and adults using a revised “norm” of attention. If the new norm for sustaining attention is lower, people with ADD must be considerably less attentive than this new norm. As new norms are developed for rating scales used to screen for ADD, we’ll have a revised basis for comparing ADD and non-ADD individuals which will allow us identify ADD even in a less-attentive society.

1. Thomas, Evan. Why It’s time to Worry. Newsweek. Dec. 13, 2010, pp. 34-35.