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Finnish Doctors Are Prescribing Video Games For ADHD

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the you've-been-self-medicating-for-years dept.

Medicine 76

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Ville Tapio runs a private psychiatry center in Helsinki, and psychiatrists had told him they were reluctant in particular to hand out drugs for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD drugs are psychostimulants, they are frequently abused, and kids can be prescribed them young and kept on a regimen for years. Tapio had an idea to do it better. His alternative? Getting people with mental health concerns to play video games. They're special video games, of course — ones that can change how your brain works, with a technique loosely termed gameified neuroplasticity therapy."

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Yikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104515)

That's like prescribing vodka to an alcoholic.

Re:Yikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104649)

In Finland everything is possible.

tetris (3, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#45104875)

nothing improves your concentration like an hour playing tetris. I can still hear the song in my head. for best results, play it on an original game boy.

Re:tetris (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 10 months ago | (#45104931)

That's true - nothing better than the gameboy version. Especially for music.

Re:tetris (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#45105117)

gameboy tetris is too easy. if you want to make sure people are paying attention, you want a version where pressing the 'drop' button at the wrong time is instant death. The gameboy version just accelerates the block, IIRC.

Re: tetris (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about 10 months ago | (#45140531)

Yeah, but back when Gameboy was the newest thing, my family didn't have one. Too expensive.
But my older cousin did. So whenever you lost in Tetris, you could expect a slap in the face.

(This method was tested on humans with terrific results.)

Finland (0)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 10 months ago | (#45106115)

Shows what is possible in a country with a functioning health care system.

Re:Finland (1)

sasquatch989 (2663479) | about 10 months ago | (#45107763)

Yep, this really does demonstrate what to expect from socialized medicine....mainstream doctors using bullshit as medicine. Is working memory training effective? A meta-analytic review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612437 [nih.gov]

Re:Yikes. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 10 months ago | (#45106597)

In Colorado everything now is possible. Natural medication and video games...Should have them sharp as a tack by noon.

Re:Yikes. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#45104667)

It's not just any video game, it's specific video games made specifically for this purpose.

The most interesting part of the article IMO, they are using EEG 'mind reading' controllers, so when your readings show up in a certain way, you progress in the game.

Also, the summary makes it sound like they are prescribing this to everyone who comes along, when actually they are still doing preliminary studies. The preliminary studies seem to show good results, so they will probably continue deeper investigations into the topic.

Finland! (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 10 months ago | (#45106205)

Actually it sounds like a great idea.

Re:Yikes. (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#45105065)

If someone claims alcoholism can be solved with a regimen of vodka, and they have evidence you can't prove wrong, you'd be dumb to insist it couldn't possibly be true just because it sounds incredible.

Skepticism is fine, and ideally the study would already be published, but lets not reject it out of hand just because it sounds counterintuitive.

Re:Yikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105581)

Not exactly what was mean by GP, but AA has been saying for years: "if you think you are not an alcoholic, go out and try some controlled drinking". Most of the time an alcoholic sufferer tries this, they end up coming back more humble and with much less resistance to the idea of sobriety.

Re:Yikes. (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 10 months ago | (#45106595)

Actually, bad chronic alcoholism _has_ to be cured by alcohol, to some degree. You can't go cold turkey, you have to slowly come off. Therefore treatment of an alcoholic always involves more alcohol.

Re:Yikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45113137)

Nup. My father would drink about 14 jugs in a night... that'd be around 14 litres a night. He takes it up every decade or so, and then gives up cold turkey every single time.

Re:Yikes. (2)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 10 months ago | (#45105103)

That's like prescribing vodka to an alcoholic.

It gets worse!

We also give money and healthcare to poor people!

Re:Yikes. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45105115)

That's like prescribing vodka to an alcoholic.

A common therapy for ADHD is to prescribe stimulants, which cause people with ADHD to calm down and stay focused. So there is some precedent for contrarian remedies.

Re:Yikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105617)

There is also a case to be made for a "controlled vodka treatment" as opposed to how some homeless drunks will drink anything, uncluding much more unhealthy liquid substances. It may not treat the alchoholism, but it may decrease the amount of "piggy-bagging" issues and that help the alcholic to a better (perhaps longterm even alchohol-free) life.

Re:Yikes. (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 10 months ago | (#45106879)

I'm unclear on the relationship you have in mind. In this case, the patient has difficulty staying still and focusing, so the doctor is prescribing an activity which will require him to stay still and focus. Even without using specially designed games, video games tend to engage the player's attention, and endeavor to hold it. It makes sense to me that this could teach habits that improve concentration, and extended attention span.

Re:Yikes. (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 10 months ago | (#45107105)

You know this actually happens in hospitals. People who are long term alcoholics are often prescribed medical whiskey to keep them from possibly dying from the shock of detox.

Re:Yikes. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45108205)

People who are long term alcoholics are often prescribed medical whiskey

Does medical whiskey taste as bad as hospital food?

Watch what you post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104533)

Obama is watching your words. He'll know your every idea. Big Brother is watching you.

Re:Watch what you post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104665)

And the Obama goose stepping moderators have struck again.
 
They just hate to see the truth about the man made public.

wrong police force (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#45104721)

The OFF-TOPIC / FLAMEBAIT moderators took this case, it's their jurisdiction.

Re:wrong police force (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104805)

Fuck you, fucking retarded faggot cunt. I was just trolling.
 
Go shove another baseball bat up your fucking asshole.
 
BTW: your homepage sucks much dick. Bitchtard.

Re:wrong police force (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45104845)

Fuck you, fucking retarded faggot cunt. I was just trolling.

Go shove another baseball bat up your fucking asshole.

BTW: your homepage sucks much dick. Bitchtard.

Strong case you're making for why we should care about your opinion.

Oh wait, no - the opposite of what I just said.

Re:wrong police force (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 10 months ago | (#45107113)

Did I just see a troll successfully counter-trolled? Its like watching Leonardo Dicaprio in Trollception.

Re:wrong police force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45110201)

You're a fucking retard too fucking fuck. No one gives a fucking shit about the turds that come out of your shithole mouth. Your homepage sucks dicks too.

As a client (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104543)

It worked for ... SHINEY RING!!
*runs off*

Medication at work... (3, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about 10 months ago | (#45104627)

Sorry boss, my doctor says I need to medicate every 2 hours while I'm awake.

special videogames (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#45104635)

As though there aren't a lot of people with mental health concerns playing videogames all day...

Must not be Pac-Man or Space Invaders they're playing if they're trying to fix an attention deficit.

Are there any available for free? (1)

uslurper (459546) | about 10 months ago | (#45104641)

Are there any of these games available as an app or free download?

Re:Are there any available for free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104755)

Are there any of these games available as an app or free download?

second that.. where can i get a copy for some self medication?

Re:Are there any available for free? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104893)

According to the article, these "games" utilize a brain-scanning cap that you place on your head. It reads brainwave activity and translates it into motions on the screen. It's designed to get the user to focus on tasks better and improve concentration. I don't see it being feasible with the size, power, and physical limitations of a smartphone or tablet anyway.

As someone with ADHD, I can easily see where this could work over time. If something could train my brain to slow down (without drugs), I am sure I'd be able to concentrate on tasks a lot better. Sort of like folks with anger control issues learning to breathe calmly and count to three (or whatever they do).

Re:Are there any available for free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105535)

You can actually buy this stuff on Amazon, the simplest example of which might be this: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wild-Divine-Biofeedback-Software/dp/B00099YLPM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381531792&sr=8-1&keywords=biofeedback+adhd+software

It's generally referred to as "biofeedback". Therapist have been using it to treat the ADHD afflicted for at least 10 years in the US (possibly longer). The title is like many on /., it's misleading. The "games" are not typical games and they are not particularly fun. And the therapeutic benefit comes from the treated individual doing what amounts to technologically assisted meditation. The therapist will perform an analysis of the patients Alpha, Beta, Theta (and other) brain wave patterns and then set ideal ranges that the patient should attempt to maintain. A typical cycle goes like this 1) User gets target waves inside of ideal range/s => the "game" responds with a reward, such as moving the games character/view port through a predetermined path in the game world 2) Users brain waves go outside of the set thresholds => the game stops moving the game character/view port or gives the user a subtle notice that they are out side of the ideal range. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Re:Are there any available for free? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105587)

YOU train your own brain. It doesn't do it for you. The 'game' just gives you a pretty interface to distract you while you do it. It's a positive feed-back loop. You can do it without the game. Meditate.

Think of the cap like a mouse or joystick interface. There's no reason it can't work on a tablet or phone (you'd need a bluetooth interface for the cap). There are a few DIY BCI (brain-computer interfaces) designs out there. They aren't great, but they'd work well enough to practice this type of meditation.

Re:Are there any available for free? (1)

seebs (15766) | about 10 months ago | (#45107261)

The key point is the feedback so you can tell whether it's working, and the structure that provides a reward mechanism to overcome the brain problem. Sounds useful to me.

Re:Are there any available for free? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 10 months ago | (#45106877)

Interesting, sounds like the pharmaceuticals will be spending hundreds of millions of dollars with the lobbyists to get it banned ASAP. Cure, screw that, treat the symptoms with patented 1,000% profit drugs. It is going to be a real battle.

Re:Are there any available for free? (1)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about 10 months ago | (#45107827)

Been there, done that: http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/09/24/1922221/fda-will-regulate-some-apps-as-medical-devices [slashdot.org] ...and technically (regulation wise), I'd support any software aiming or proclaiming to treat or cure should have some scrutiny applied as a "medical device". Unchecked, it's only a matter of time before the penis/breast enlargement industry figures out a way to hop on the software-based-medicine bandwagon.

Finnish Joke (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104653)

How do you tell the difference between an introvert and an extrovert in Finland? A Finnish extrovert looks at your feet instead of his own when talking.

Re:Finnish Joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105223)

I am Finnish, and I approve of this joke.

Who said the can do this (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104743)

Seriously the United States has a shitload of Jewish property law lawyers who can compel Finland to stop violating the rights of children and force these evil doctors to prescibe good old laboratory tested peer reviewed pharmacueicals. Isn't Finland a signatory to the WTO. Doesn't this mean that the U.S. can compel the use of these life saving pharacuticals. Can't we get the United Nations involved. If people in Finland stop using our drugs, Jews in our country will be forced to spend less time on the golf coase, and will not be able to get this years BMW. This is positivlely anitsemintic

Re:Who said the can do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104867)

Jews on the golf course? I thought Jews weren't allowed in most country clubs.

Re:Who said the can do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104959)

sorry, but playing sega cd is EVERYONE'S right, and that is more important than playing golf or buying bmws.

Re:Who said the can do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104995)

I don't know what drugs you're taking, but I think you should stop.

Not so hard to get medicine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104765)

But rather a diagnosis. I'm a 27 year old Finn and despite many visits to several doctors, got my ADHD diagnosis just last month. Before that they had just said I was depressed. Yes, since I was a small child.

After the diagnosis. my psychiatrist prescribed me medication straight away. He didn't even ask me for my opinion. And this is public healthcare we are talking about. They go apeshit if you try to get sleeping pills let alone medicine that are considered drugs like Concerta.

Also I call BS on frequent abuse of medicine like Concerta in Finland. It's so expensive and pharmacies make sure that you don't buy more any sooner than you are supposed to have used up all of your medication. It's easier and cheaper to just buy something off the street.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45104907)

After the diagnosis. my psychiatrist prescribed me medication straight away. He didn't even ask me for my opinion. And this is public healthcare we are talking about. They go apeshit if you try to get sleeping pills let alone medicine that are considered drugs like Concerta.

Question about your doctor, or rather, the pens he has in his office: they don't happen to have Janssen Pharmaceuticals [concerta.net] logos on them do they?

In my nation, America, it's not uncommon for physicians to happily prescribe whatever the drug rep he's cheating on his wife with tells him to; I wonder if Finland is similar in any way.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105077)

As another Finn I can add that it would be pointless as soon as there's a generic alternative. The public health care system mandates that the pharmacies inform you if the same drug that has been prescribed exists as a generic alternative and if you want to change to it because it's cheaper. Usually people do since the subsidy you get is much less if you want a more expensive option, if there's no difference from a medical POV. This is the case with normal prescriptions. I myself have had a chronic condition (epilepsy) for 15 years (a rare and difficult form that 1 in 100 epileptics have) and I get the "original" drug all the time since with any chronic condition the drug expenses are limited to 3 € each time you buy them (regardless of the amount but the max is three months needs). And no matter what drugs you buy, as long as they have been prescribed by a doctor, there's a limit on how high your annual expenses can be (if you have more than 550 € in annual drug expenses, the system pays the rest). Thus I'm not so sure pharmaceutical companies would benefit from influencing doctors to prescribe their drugs unless they're so new that the patents are still valid and generics don't exist.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105621)

It sounds like you live in an evil country where your government looks after the citizens. In more democratic freedom loving countries such as my beloved United States the government naturally looks after the rights of the domestic corporations and foreign powers who control it's debt, while selling its citizens lottery tickets. This is the proper way to run a country. I feel sorry that you have to live in a despotic regime like Finland. Maybe we can use the power of the WTO to liberate you from your despotic regime. Then we can get you set up with a system of insurance companies and malpractice lawyers to ensure that you have the best health care in the world (just like the USA)

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45109639)

Don't worry, it's going down hill with all the new laws, that'll make sure that no one will have any fun. Just work, taxes, shitty plastic cars and jogging as a hobby.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105083)

I think that is an issue more at private clinics as doctors in national healthcare don't really have much to gain for prescribing one drug over another except in some special cases. I have come across situations where doctors prescribe the most expensive medicine available, but pharmacies are mandated to give you the cheapest generic brand available if you ask them to.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 10 months ago | (#45104947)

Here in the US, you just say "I have a child..." and the doctor hands out a script for Adderall.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105165)

As a fellow Finn that has had to use the public system a lot, I must say that my experience has been somewhat different. A couple of questions:
Were you offered therapy? Therapy is the preferred option even if it's more expensive since all drugs have side-effects.
And do you have any other conditions? I do and I have also been diagnosed with ADHD but ADHD drugs are very, very tricky to prescribe since if you take any other drugs at the same time, you can get some really fucked side-effects (heart failure, seizures, convulsions etc.). Thus the doc really needs to be sure there's no other option. Some sleeping pills also fall into that category. So if you have difficulties falling asleep the first option should be melatonin.

The pharmacies have clear regulations that they follow and there's nothing strange about those. Three months at a time. And considering that you're not the one paying for it (more than nominally), it shouldn't come as a surprise that they only give you an amount that you won't resell.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105903)

Therapy is not recommended to me because I am old enough to know how to live with my condition as I have formed coping methods already. We are going to discuss other options at later time however.

I have no other conditions diagnosed that are related.

My doctor is also aware of all the medication I am using and there shouldn't be a problem. My medication was one of the first things he checked before even the diagnosis actually. I understood it was to check that none of my medication are causing the symptoms.

And when it comes to sleeping pills, I have gone thru all the steps. From literal guides "how to fall asleep" to melatonin. Didn't work. Probably because I have ADHD. ;) According to my doctor, I should be able to fall asleep more properly without sleeping pills after I start taking ADHD medication. I sure hope so.

I was also in the understanding that you only get one months prescription at a time unless you have very good reason for it. I guess your doctor is more lax? And last I checked, I pay most of my medication, not the tax payers. Well, unless I go over the limit of 600 or so euros a year. Then most of it falls to tax payers.

Honestly, you seriously sound like you don't know what you are talking about.

Re:Not so hard to get medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45107417)

I have had a rare and hard to treat form of epilepsy for 15 years so I have had to experience everything in the system - including taking part in a medical trial - so I know a thing or two even though I'm not a doctor. And because I'm not a doctor, I don't state this for a fact but some things you say are strange:

There are numerous ways therapy can help you if you have ADHD and/or depression so when you're saying it's "not recommended", I simply don't believe you. You didn't mention your job situation but if you're unable to work, a plan is made together with your doctor, therapist(s) and the job centre for how to put you on track in the work force.

Other medications are not checked just to see if what you call symptoms are side-effects, they're checked to see if a combination of pills that are otherwise "harmless" won't cause some other side-effects when combined. In my case the options are severely limited because I need three different pills to live a normal life. For instance most pain killers are too risky for me since they can cause problems with my other pills.

I'm sorry about your sleeping problems and you probably know that you must start calming down a couple of hours in advance, reduce lightning (and close the curtains during the summer) and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

The duration for which I can take pills has nothing to do with the doctor. All the doctor does is to prescribe pills for whatever time he/she deems it necessary for you but the pharmacy can only sell you pills for at most three months even if the doctor prescribes them for longer. I have a prescription for one year at a time but the pharmacy imposes that three months at a a time limit. If your doctor prescribes you pills for a shorter period of time than that, I guess he/she wants to have an appointment with you to find out how you're doing before prescribing more. Other than deciding the total, the doctor has nothing to do with what you can get from the pharmacy at a time. The only other thing that comes to mind is that if it's possible to misuse the pills you've been prescribed, a shorter limit than three months may apply but that would be something I'm unaware of.

And last I checked, I pay most of my medication, not the tax payers. Well, unless I go over the limit of 600 or so euros a year. Then most of it falls to tax payers.

This I take issue with. Check your pharmacy receipt again. Especially how high the subsidy percentage is and be grateful. The 600 € limit (must've been raised from 550 € which it was a few years ago when I exceeded it) is absolute. Anything over it is covered as long as you do the paperwork right (you didn't mess that up did you?). And if you're low income or get welfare subsidies the limit is lowered for you. Because I only pay less than 3 € at a time when I buy my pills even though the total cost of my medication per month is 2680 € people who whine like you do really aggravate me. Note: The 3 € is once your condition has been diagnosed as chronic and not temporary - then it's added to your health insurance (KELA) card so the pharmacy knows it. Until then you need to pay more. Before my condition was under control and I had an uncertain future that would've been a completely impossible expense for me as a student with retired parents to pay, I would've been SOL without the public system - what private system would lend money to a seriously ill person to pay for medication in the hopes that he one day can start earning and pay it back? Now, however, I pay much more than that in taxes per month since I - thanks to the system helping me to a normal life and graduate with a very valuable degree - have a high-paying job, I'm very, very grateful that we have such a system. I'm very far from a leftist and the stupid financial decisions of low-income people aggravate me tremendously (so much that I'm considering entering politics) but I do thank the system for giving me a chance. That's something I would not have gotten without it. In the US I would of course be considered a batshit crazy commie, socialist, liberal, nazi, marxist by the Tea Party, at least (Americans: I know that many/most of you are not like them but they're so vocal that we hear them too and shake our heads).

It works like a charm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104825)

I've never been so focused on anything in my entire life like i'm currently focused on GTAV

Sinister plot for Angry Birds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45104843)

Could this be a sinister plot to sell more copies of Angry Birds? "It's not just a game, it's medication." Soon doctors in Finland will be prescribing the game and your health insurer will be required to cover it.

Re:Sinister plot for Angry Birds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105015)

The health insurer in this case being Finland. Health insurance in the USA is quite unlike the rest of the world.

Taking ADHD Seriously (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45104957)

After reading TFA, I can say it's nice to see a national healthcare system that actually takes ADD and ADHD seriously. Here in the USA, it seems (to me) that there's a lot of "misdiagnosis" of the malady, as if American physicians are more concerned about paychecks and drug rep kickbacks than actually treating the illness.

Not sure if it's still as much an issue today as it was 5-10 years ago, but there was a time when US doctors prescribed Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs to any and every half-assed unruly child, rather than doing any medical or science-based testing to determine if they were indeed ADHD sufferers.

Re:Taking ADHD Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105625)

It's gotten worse. Teachers can require and force kids to be medicated over objections of the parents. As the quality of food goes down, the medication levels increase.

Addiction to Prescription Medicine? (1)

sharknado (3217097) | about 10 months ago | (#45105059)

Studies have found that kids with ADHD are much more likely [boston.com] to become addicted to video games. Does this count as an addiction to prescription medicine? Hmm....

Yay games!!!! Wait... (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 10 months ago | (#45105167)

As somebody with mild ADHD and who just happens to be a gamer I was exited by the headline. That is until I saw that these games aren't really games, at least not the kind any self-respecting gamer would choose. Bummer dude.

Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 10 months ago | (#45105233)

It has always amazed me how people who are diagnosed with ADHD manage to sit and play video games for hours on end. Yet for some reason, activities like listening to someone speak or learning a new subject seem like impossible tasks for them. This approach seems to make sense since it takes one of the few tasks these people seem to be able to focus on and uses it to rewire their brains to allow them to concentrate better on everyday activities.

Re:Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 10 months ago | (#45105409)

Common wisdom is that people with ADD and ADHD can't pay attention, but this isn't true. We pay attention to things we find rewarding (which generally does not include things that their teachers and parents want them to pay attention to).

The solution is helping people with ADD/ADHD find rewards where they might not have found them on their own.

Re:Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 10 months ago | (#45105939)

Thank you! This is such a common misunderstanding people have and it can really lead you to confusion when actually dealing with a person who has the condition. In fact it was that exact problem that led to my parents being reluctant to put up the money to have me tested as an adolescent. They were caring people, but money was tight, and the few times I remember it being mentioned by friends or family as something to look into they would reply non-defensively that they had considered it and then provide examples of how I would read my software and computer manuals cover to cover (back when they were 200 pages) or had no problem focusing on cartoons, or how I had never been trouble in school. I remember them telling a teacher my at conferences in 5th grade after he suggested testing, and upon hearing it the teacher himself remarked that my issues must be something else then.

This was compounded further by the fact that I am much more closely aligned with what used to be called ADD back before they bizarrely decided to reintegrate ADD and ADHD back into just ADHD. I'm not hyperactive at all, and despite ADD and ADHD's many shared symptoms I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have to explain to people who are confused about how I could be such a slow paced laid back person(to a fault) and have a disorder that people associate with kids jumping off the walls. This disorder is already so surprisingly misunderstood by the public that lumping slow pokes like myself with individuals who at first glance seem to be my polar opposite only further confuses those trying to understand my situation, and gives ammo to people who think the whole thing is made up or just a willpower issue.

Re:Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

p00kiethebear (569781) | about 10 months ago | (#45106819)

Thank you for posting this. It sucks that the general population doesn't understand what it's like to have this. I used to play warhammer 40K and I would stay up for hours into the night painting miniatures and meticulously crafting terrain to display them on. Many kids with ADD do well in individual sports too, I was a good enough gymnast to take state. I loved tumbling and doing giant swings on the high bar. These things were rewarding to me.

Put a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird in front of me at the age of 14 and ask me to read it and think about the underlying messages. Fuck that. I couldn't see any satisfaction in doing that and I had no motivation to WANT to do it so of course my attention is going to wander easily to something more interesting.

Re:Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 10 months ago | (#45107603)

Common wisdom is that people with ADD and ADHD can't pay attention, but this isn't true. We pay attention to things we find rewarding (which generally does not include things that their teachers and parents want them to pay attention to).

The solution is helping people with ADD/ADHD find rewards where they might not have found them on their own.

Nice summary. I think the latter bit is particularly important -- it's possible to get interested in something you didn't use to find interesting.

I sometimes think I have some level of borderline ADH?D, as I have done well academically, but I find most real-life work unbearable. I have basically given up on an academic research career, since I don't work well in an office. At the moment I'm back at the university doing undergraduate studies, which is strangely enjoyable. Listening to a lecture is great fun, it's the perfect thing to focus on. (Meanwhile, some students are chatting etc. and missing the whole lecture, and they have to try and study the material later -- what a waste of time, especially if you have any kind of student life.)

In fact, I believe happiness is all about focus. The problem is that it's hard to focus if you're not interested. One reason we enjoy sex is because it is something you'll do with 100% focus, and you forget about everything else for a while. Obviously, it's not so enjoyable if your mind is wandering.

Meditation is, in a way, the ultimate way to enjoy a focused activity, but also one of the hardest, as there is little or no actual activity to get you into focus. However, it's possible to get into pretty much the same state via other, focused activities. Basically, if you get into a flow state, you can let go of the other activity and just enjoy the concentration itself.

So what does this have to do with working life? In my experience, there are very few jobs that encourage focused work. Even academic research has become this huge mess of constant social interactions, and a political quest for better positions and grants. I spent a few years as a science teacher, which turned out surprisingly nice for my philosophy; my job was to get people into an enjoyable state of focus for 1-2 hours at a time, and the preparations etc. outside lessons I could do when and where I felt like. OTOH, it is quite taxing as a heavy social activity, and it might be a while before I get back.

Re:Video Games and ADHD Go Well Together (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45105635)

It shouldn't be too amazing. The video games offer a variety of constant visual stimulation that simply isn't there when listening to someone speak or learning a new subject. The ADHA sort of actually works for them in the games because the changes in visual input generally satisfies their attention interests while also making them a better player because the minute details that change often usually give performance advantages.

I agree, with your overall assertion but have to ask if the inverse is also true. If games can help rewire the brain to stimulate concentration, can the same mechanisms that allow ADHD players concentrate rewire the brain to make them less capable of concentrating when listening to a speaker or learning a new subject? I suspect that a lot of the old "tv will rot your brain" and "video games make you stupid" was anecdotal from ADHD players swarming to those mediums and excelling (playing lots of games and watching lots of TV but not doing well in school or their career). I'm just wondering if there is any truth to it outside of that.

video games for adhd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45105399)

It has to be Supertetris for the PC. I am SuperADHD, I played that game an average of a couple hours a day for 2 years. I managed to get 2.1 million points, took me almost a week playing 6 to 8 hours a day. Called them up and told them and there was a 45 second laugh on the other end of the phone, cause they knew how long it took to get that score. They also said that they had never seen a score higher than 1.7 million, which I was stuck on for almost a year. This 1992-93.

This is hardly new, (2)

p00kiethebear (569781) | about 10 months ago | (#45106793)

This has been going on for almost 20 years now. I had ADD as a kid and when I was 11 my parents sent me to a biofeedback clinic where I would sit in a dentist chair and concentrate on a pac-man. If my brain waves were in the ideal range the pac man would move through the maze and I would gain points. The speed at which he moved accelerated so the longer I was able to 'focus' the faster he would go through the maze and I'd get a higher score.

I'm sure the technology must be much more precise these days and the games have probably gotten a lot more interesting to look at but they all essentially are based on the same principle.

The problem is that most kids that age don't care about wanting to learn how to focus better. They just have fun being who they are naturally. These kinds of programs work really well for adults and younger people with a great deal of motivation to change / practice their 'focusing' ability but as an 11 year old, I got really bored doing this and eventually I started falling asleep in the chair half way through every session. Program was a wasted on me but I applaud my parents for wanting to try to help me without medication.

There is no such thing as 'ADHD' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45107783)

If by 'ADHD' they mean a BRAIN DISORDER.

'ADHD' is a set of OBSERVED BEHAVIOURS which quite clearly are caused by EVENTS in the person's life, or in their past.

Hilarious. The stupidity of people nowadays knows no limits - they can't even THINK about the most basic thing and see through it.

Re:There is no such thing as 'ADHD' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45119403)

What is your proof of this? It must be very convincing, so provide it to us so the world may see. Better yet, get it published in a medical journal.

Tranquility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45108237)

There was a game called "Tranquility," which I believe is now defunct. It was designed to promote a state of mental focus. I played it for a while, some years ago, and really enjoyed it. I miss that game.

You can see a demo of it here on YouTube. [youtube.com]

What will the cost be vs medicine? (1)

Gibby13 (2675437) | about 10 months ago | (#45109615)

I would think in the beginning you will only be able to do this in the Doctor's office and then on top of that how many times and a week and how often? It would be nice to be able to take the device home and upload results to your Doctor to review and then in return download new games/settings recommended from your Doctor. While I am hopeful, we won't see this in the US for a very long time.

ADHD Drugs Exist That Can't Be Abused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45132259)

Refer to the last portion of the video for the information on treatments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3d1SwUXMc0

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