ADHD IS CURABLE

A knowledgeable if curiously brief account of ADHD and its mitigation.

Meyers, a physician, offers a brief treatise on the nature and treatment of ADHD.

The author begins his look at attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by attempting to dispel several persistent myths that surround subject: “The symptom of poor concentration is usually explained as attention deficit disorder, or ADHD. However, a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings ensure that those affected do not always receive an accurate diagnosis and also an optimal therapy.” He flatly contradicts what he sees as canards, including, “if you can’t concentrate, you have ADHD,” “ADHD grows out all by itself,” and, most pertinently, “ADHD is not curable.” Meyers intends for his book to provide clarity and support for readers in more accurately assessing what is and isn’t ADHD as well as advice on how to treat the genuine disorder. “After thirty years of psychiatric work with children, adolescents, and adults, I know: If it really is ADHD and the highest standards of diagnosis and therapy are applied, this disease is curable,” he decisively declares. “Lifelong medication or therapeutic treatment is then no longer necessary.” The author lays out the different subtypes of ADHD, noting that many distractible children are mistakenly diagnosed with the condition, while many adults have no idea that they’re dealing with it in their daily lives. The specific details of these subtypes are illustrated by case studies of the author’s own patients that give personal context to what might otherwise be only lists of symptoms.

Meyers expertly interweaves the human dimensions of the disorder with a vast amount of scientific and clinical information—a surprisingly generous amount given the brevity of the book. Each section contains extensive links and citations for further reading. These attempts to increase the usefulness of the book are, to a certain extent, counteracted by a diagnostic in-the-weeds specificity that may leave even readers familiar with ADHD at a loss (and will certainly make this book opaque to general readers). Much of the discussion in the book’s early pages revolves around “OPATUS-CPT,” which the author refers to as “a proven tool for objective ADHD diagnosis” but neither defines nor explains in detail (it’s a diagnostic app). The text is clear and concise on the possible contributing factors to developing ADHD and the differences between some of its manifestations, and doubtless many readers will find these elements useful. But Meyers is frequently overly concise, almost terse, when discussing elements of his subject that call for more expansive discussions: “We speak of pathologically persistent early childhood reflexes if their activity is still above 25 percent even after four and a half years of life. This is caused by deficits in brain development as a result of life-threatening events shortly before, during or shortly after birth.” This is a fascinating subject, but two pages and two case studies later, the author moves on to something else. Part of this headlong pace is a byproduct of the book’s short length (an impression enhanced by how much of each chapter is bullet-pointed), but it cumulatively produces a hurried impression and will leave many readers wishing for a more comprehensive future edition.

A knowledgeable if curiously brief account of ADHD and its mitigation.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2022

ISBN: 9798404994049

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Independently Published

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2023

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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