by Daniel G. Amen
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 14th 2002
Healing ADD is aimed at parents who suspect or know that they
have a child with attention deficit. It
sets out cases of children with this problem, and argues that the problem has
biological, psychological, and social causes (including TV, the Internet, and computer
and video games). Author and
neuroscientist Daniel Amen goes into some detail in his discussion of brain
studies and his categorization of six different kinds of ADD: classic, inattentive,
overfocused, temporal lobe, limbic, and ring of fire. He gives many cases of patients, both
children and adults, with these different forms of attention deficit, and he
explains how he differentiates the different kinds. He also discusses ADD caused by trauma and inherited genes, and
also the link between ADD and substance abuse.
Amen goes into some detail discussing the ways that ADD affects peoples
lives at school and work and in their personal relationships.
Amen argues that the best treatment for ADD involves
a combination of biological, psychological and social solutions. His suggestions include eliminating drugs,
alcohol and caffeine, protecting ones head from injury, eating a
higher-protein, lower carbohydrate diet, getting intense aerobic exercise,
avoiding computer and video games, taking medication, using natural
supplements, using neurofeedback, getting proper sleep, psychotherapy, getting
an ADD coach, focused breathing, self-hypnosis, and involvement with support
groups. For teach suggestion, he
describes the approach in detail and discusses which sub-types of ADD it works
best with. He gives families and school
teachers lists of hints about how to go about changing their behavior towards
their ADD children in order to best help them.
The book ends with a chapter about what to do when ADD treatment does
not work, and includes the possibility that the person has the wrong diagnosis,
is receiving the wrong treatment, or there are interfering factors. The book also contains ideas about how to
find the most suitable professional help.
Healing ADD contains so many suggestions that some are bound to
be helpful, but the number might be confusing to parents who are looking for a
simple solution. The suggestion that
there are six main types of ADD is interesting, but is very much the opinion of
the author, and is not a suggestion found in the discussion of attention
deficit disorder in major psychiatric textbooks. The writing style is clear and approachable, even if many people
may find the pictures of brain activity somewhat confusing. For parents looking for as much information
about ADD as they can get, they may find this book a useful resource, although
I think it would be wise to consult other books on the topic as well, to get a
sense of the variety of professional opinions on the issue.
© 2002 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main
research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested
in exploring how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is
keen to help foster communication between philosophers, mental health
professionals, and the general public.