Friday, October 2, 2015

Talking With Me About Stimulant Medication

I've had experience talking with people about stimulant medication. I've had experience reading what people have written about stimulant medication. I've had experience reading Facebook posts about stimulant medication.

I have five years of experience supporting, managing, teaching and observing someone who takes stimulant medication.

Previous to and overlapping with that, I had several more years of experience supporting, managing, teaching and observing someone engaged in occupational, speech and language therapy and social skills group.

There are people I would like to talk to about stimulant medication. There are people I would not like to talk to about stimulant medication.

Now I have some rules for myself around talking about and reading about stimulant medication. They are the same rules I have for talking about and reading about ADHD.

This is not a 10 Things Not To Say list. Those lists bother me. They assume everyone is the same. This post is about my vantage point. That said, you might relate it to your particular situation or learn a few things. Any comments you make might teach me something too.

If you are a psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician, neurologist, neuropsychologist, family practitioner, nurse practitioner, developmental pediatrician or internist with experience working with those who take stimulant medication, then I would like to talk with you about ADHD and stimulant medication.

If you currently take stimulant medication I would like to talk with you. If a close family member takes stimulant medication then I would like to talk with you. I would like to hear what you have to say whether the experience has been good, bad or indifferent.

If your name is Dr. Ned Hallowell and have written a book called Driven to Distraction then I would like to talk with you. I also like to read what you write about ADHD and stimulant medication. You are welcome to contact me for conversation at any time.

If your children are exceptionally well behaved and you are wondering why all these kids are getting drugged up I have a feeling that a conversation about ADHD and stimulant medication would not go very well. It would be like me having an opinion about team sports. I don't play team sports. My kids don't play them. It didn't take. So I don't go around giving opinions on neighborhood baseball teams.

If you don't know anything about ADHD or stimulant medication and would like to ask me about it, I would welcome that.  If you are asking in the spirit of greater understanding then I would be more than willing to participate.

But if you have a lot of preconceived notions that you are very invested in, it might not be a satisfying conversation for either one of us.

If you like comparing carefully prescribed stimulant medication to crack, illegal amphetamines, speed, espresso, cold brewed coffee, tranquilizers or dark chocolate then it is unwise for me to engage with you on that subject.

If you have accidentally or purposely tried a tiny bit of someone else's stimulant medication and you yourself do not have ADD or ADHD, then I would love to have a conversation with you and compare notes.

If you are currently contemplating treatment for yourself because you've been struggling and these struggles are pointing you and your doctor to ADD, then you are welcome to talk with me. There are many people who learn more about themselves as adults. Adults who are self aware, change course and seek help are brave adults. I'll talk carefully with you and mostly listen.

If you are wrapping your mind around helping a child, then I know that in spite of what other people say and write that this is almost always a difficult decision and a multi-tiered one. I will walk on eggshells and you'll do most of the talking.

If you are a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist or special education teacher with experience in this arena you are people I admire. I always want to hear what you have to say.

If you are a classroom teacher I like talking to you. You see a high volume of kids every day. That alone is worth the price of admission.

If you are Judith Warner and you have written a book called We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication then I would like to personally thank you for writing it. You would be a person I would enjoy talking to about stimulant medication and ADHD.

If you are writing a book and want to say something about ADHD or stimulant medication, then do deep research and talk to real people walking the walk and the people who work with them. Otherwise, people like me see right through your book or article.

If the words Adderall Nation have crossed your lips or peppered your writing then you will find a lot of like-minded company, just not with me.

If you have no experience with this, whether you are a grandparent, a journalist, a friend, or a public figure, be humble. Own your inexperience. It's important to know when you are out of your depth. Know that you don't know.

If you are wondering if this person or that really needs stimulant medication consider that they may look like they don't need stimulant medication because they are in fact on stimulant medication. When they are not on stimulant medication is when they look like they need stimulant medication.

Think about it. There is beauty in this logic.

If you are thinking that your generation was better because nobody needed stimulant medication when you were coming up or when you were raising kids I find a conversation with you will be like talking to a brick wall.  There are gaping holes in what you are saying but its better to agree to disagree and change the subject.

If you feel the need to point out that there is no ADHD in France, and that French mothers are doing a categorically better job of parenting than American ones, then I don't want to talk with you about stimulant medication or ADHD. I will no longer read what you have to say.

If you are not a parent at all but have opinions about the use of stimulant medication in children then maybe you'd like my opinion on stuff I know nothing about—how about those Yankees?

In addition to all things already mentioned, I am skipping any conversation, article, podcast or reference to the Marshmallow Test. For personal reasons I have adopted a no Marshmallow Test policy.

The elevator speech version of the long-winded stuff I just wrote is this. If you are in the trenches, I'll talk to you. I'll read your book. If you are not in the trenches but know you are not in the trenches them I'll talk to you. All others, no. I'll talk to you about other stuff. Just not stimulant medication and ADHD.

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