The journal Pediatrics published research today that suggests — pretty strongly — that physical activity is important for kids who have ADHD because it increases executive control and inhibition, much in the way that ADHD medications do. Exercise: Possibly the best thing for all mental health?
No word as to how it affects adult ADHD, but I’d wager that it’s also beneficial. James Hamblin at The Atlantic raises a really important point about how we treat kids with ADHD:
“‘If physical activity is established as an effective intervention for ADHD,” they continued, “it will also be important to address possible complementary effects of physical activity and existing treatment strategies …’ Which is a kind of phenomenal degree of reservation compared to the haste with which millions of kids have been introduced to amphetamines and other stimulants to address said ADHD. The number of prescriptions increased from 34.8 to 48.4 million between 2007 and 2011 alone. The pharmaceutical market around the disorder has grown to several billion dollars in recent years while school exercise initiatives have enjoyed no such spoils of entrepreneurialism.”
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I’ve said it briefly before, but I want to say it again in more depth: I’m not ashamed of my emotional disorder. In the six months since I started writing for a living, I’ve had a rash of people — okay, trolls — on the internet writing e-mails, leaving comments, and even writing blogs about my mental stability, but specifically saying that there’s something “wrong” with me.
I mean, kind of. I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don’t think I’ve ever said explicitly why: Because I was in a long-term, abusive relationship, and because six months after I left it, I was raped. On top of that, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 13, and I’ve gone through a slew of diagnoses to figure out exactly why I feel emotions as intensely as I do, and my doctors and I have recently settled on it being sort of a generalized personality disorder — not exactly one or the other of those listed in the DSM-V. Keep reading »
The results of a UK study on depression and exercise show that it’s possible that exercise is as effective for treating depression as therapy or medication. The researchers caution, of course, that better studies need to be done to come to a conclusion.
But cool! Maybe that’s one of the reasons we get depressed in the winter (I was not going to the gym during the Endless Winter this year, that’s for damn sure). Medical News Today goes on to review the chemical reasons that exercise helps with depression: It increases our levels of a protein called PCG-1a1 that purges substances from the body that are harmful to our mental health, and also helps our enzymes to speed up the conversion of a stress-linked metabolite called kynurenine into kynurenic acid. Keep reading »
When I went to the MoMA, I went not knowing what exactly they had in their collection. I do that with museums — why spoil the fun of discovery? I went to the National Gallery of Art in 2012 and was preoccupied with a Sol LeWitt and a Lawrence Weiner before I rounded the corner and happened upon Tony Smith’s Die, a seminal minimalist artwork that I never dreamed of encountering in person, the kind of artwork that absolutely requires your physical presence in order to actually understand the artwork, and I was floored and overwhelmed by how lucky I felt to be in the same room as this object. Keep reading »
Oh, great, there’s a new weight loss app for kids. That’s awesome. I know I would’ve loved that when I was a kid.
You know what was the best thing about my childhood? Everything that didn’t have to do with being hyper-aware of my weight and what food I was or wasn’t “supposed” to eat. Like, seriously, everything else. I loved school, I was in community theatre, I took art classes, I played dress-up with my sister, I listened to music, my family went to museums, we road tripped, I had awesome adventures with my friends. But I was very tall, kind of stocky (genetically), and overweight on top of that. Not extremely overweight, just chubby. But it was treated like a fucking crisis, both by my parents and doctors and by my peers, who called me the Pillsbury Dough Girl, poked my stomach, and then got mad at me when I didn’t accordingly feel like going “hm-hmmm!” Keep reading »
I get behind on “Doctor Who” — being cable-less will do that to you — but this week’s episode was being widely touted as one of the best in years, so of course I had to make it a priority to watch. When “Doctor Who” is good, it’s really, really good; it is at heart a celebration of humanity, and as much as The Doctor’s companions can be cast as his accessories, he’s often also their foil, the vehicle by which they have the opportunity to express their humanness.
I’m not too cool to admit that I’ve taken life lessons from “Doctor Who” — I abide by John Green’s definition of “nerdiness” as “unironic enthusiasm about the miracle of human consciousness.” (I’m also not so pretentious that I consider my opinion on it invalid despite the fact that, no, I haven’t watched the original series, so there.) I named my blog for a quote from “The Power of Three.” I have “Allons-y!” tattooed on my leg. I think one of the show’s strengths is its zeal for adventure and discovery, not just in terms of travel to distant places, but in terms of introspection and self-discovery: see “The God Complex,” or really any regeneration. The show’s protagonist has to find out over and over who he really is. Keep reading »