More Thoughts on ADD Medicine Overuse

January 27, 2010 by Geoff Nixon

The Role of Cognitive Training in Learning

A recent NY Times article highlighted the ADD medicine overuse for ADHD, bipolar and other disorders.  It put the difference in usage — 4% of kids on Medicaid versus 1% for private insurance — down to the fact drugs are covered while interventions are not.

It makes you realize just how little the advances in brain research have penetrated mainstream thinking or practices.

In most fields of medicine it goes without saying that it is better to focus on causes of issues rather than focus almost entirely on the symptoms.

In the learning realm though, this is exactly what happens.

The symptoms of learning difficulties — ADD, ADHD, erratic and anti-social behavior — receive a lot of attention from parents and professionals, but often ending up in a drug prescription.  Far less time is spent on treating the causes of the behavior.

Why is that?  Part of it is a continuing suspicion or simple lack of awareness of brain training programs that can resolve many underlying learning glitches.  But mostly, it comes down to the still pervasive belief that learning is fixed, and so there is nothing to be done.

The discovery that the brain is plastic, that it can be rewired, is considered perhaps the most important discovery of the last 150 years, and yet the applications flowing from this profound change in how we should view learning skills — capable of change, not fixed — are still by no means pervasive or even embraced in many parts of the educational community.

This discovery means that natural remedies for ADD, using brain plasticity are not only possible, they are being used daily all over the world.

It is just another indication of how early Gemm Learning and its peers are in the early stages of rolling out new science, new being the last 10-15 years.