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Ed

ISSUE 6 ARCHIVE - CAN I DIVE WITH..?

ADHD

When my son used to have tantrums as a 2 year old, lying prostrate at the checkout of M and S demanding more Fizzy Fish, I would tut knowingly to the others in the queue and say, "he's never been the same since the MMR."

When he was older and would act the recalcitrant 5 year old, my line changed to a loud voice direct to him… "Shut it Jamal, and come get yer Ritalin". This would work best on the top deck of a bus, especially the 137 in Clapham Common. Other parents would nod knowingly, and many would offer me their own supply. Yes, indeed – it seems all our kids have behavioural disorders now, most likely inherited from our own undiagnosed states.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is where kids ping around in full physical Brownian motion trying to make sense of this f***** up world with poor logical processes. ADD, or attention deficit disorder has less activity and more ignoring of you dear parent, passer-by or teacher.
Travelling Diver
If either acronym is preceded by "adult" then look out for the fully developed man hunk version of this illness. Think Norman Wisdom or that other comedian (who ripped off his act) on a mescal bender.

So this illness, where the afflicted can only concentrate for tiny bursts; whose behaviour comes out of the blue in offbeat responses to ordinary events and whose moods may swing more than a 1930's dance band, is treated by an upper. Yes, an upper like in amphetamine sort of stuff. They get buzzed up by the meds, reaching parts their body's own nervous system can't reach and lo, they calm down and concentrate. Go figure.
It's one of the commonest questions I get though. No, not – "is my paediatric psych completely wrong and misdiagnosing this problem simply because my child torched his couch and called him a Freudian twat" – but, "Can Jimmie learn to dive with an ADHD diagnosis and a gut-full of Ritalin".

Here goes – the official line is that every case should be judged by its own merits. However my line is a big resounding "NO".

Why? Well the issue is that yes – ADHD folk can learn the ropes, do the pool work and pass the four dives needed. They will have trouble at times, but they probably can get through the Open Water course. But as we all know, when the chips are down and a diver reacts in a problem situation with an innate sense of what to do without thinking, like George Bush avoiding a flying sandal, can we guarantee an ADHD diver can do the same – 110%? No we cannot. And there's the effects of the medication at depth too. No research has ever been done.

It is just not worth risking diving in this situation. They could nark at 10 metres. Their concentration could worsen the deeper they go, and sadly we can't load sheep with Ritalin, send them to 30 metres and get them to do a Sudoku to test concentration. My God, freak result – that might even show the sheep were cleverer than us. Chairman of the Bank of England – "Baaaa – yes, interest rates down to 0.5%, Let's spend our way out of this mess".

So what can ADHD'ers do with a condition that causes irrationality and poor concentration? Go to med school and become a GP.

Amen.
O'Three

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