Friday, January 19, 2024

Adapting to individual differences

Rach Idahu has a blog ‘Adulting with ADHD’. BBC News reports that she told BBC Podcast ‘Access All’ that she lost £200 when she late checked in for a flight, even though she did not realise she was late (see article). The article explains that Rach estimates she has lost £4000 to the ADHD tax, by which she means that because of her ADHD she has trouble paying attention to details and may regularly misplace or lose items causing additional expenditure.

Everyone is different as far as their ability to pay attention to detail and misplace or lose items is concerned. As I said in a previous post, ADHD has been classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder over recent years and the diagnosis of ADHD has burgeoned (see another previous post). Professor Amanda Kirby is quoted in the BBC article as saying that “people with ADHD are prone to impulsive behaviour because the neurotransmitter that controls feelings of wellbeing and reward does not function properly". It is true that dopamine has been implicated in motivational function but it is mere speculation to say that dopamine is not functioning properly in ADHD. 

In fact it’s reducing people to machines to think so. Society does need to adapt to the individual differences of people. But to be blaming our brains is not the best way to look at the issue (see eg. yet another previous post). Although it may suit us to think that ADHD is due to brain pathology, it’s actually a mistake to be looking for brain pathology to explain it (see eg. my BJPsych letter).

(With thanks to Evgeny Legedin for alerting me to the BBC News article)

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