76. ADHD: Nature or Nurture? Under-Diagnosed or Over? Gender-Specific or Not? With Ryan Wexelblatt

Is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder underdiagnosed or overdiagnosed? Should we think of it as a product of nature, nurture, or a combination of the two? Is it best treated as a developmental condition children will grow out of, or a lifelong neurological difference? Should it be approached differently in boys versus girls? Should society accommodate it like a disability, or should those who have this diagnosis adapt themselves to fit the world? Can it best be remedied by lifestyle, therapy, coaching, or medication? And, if left untreated, are young people at risk of failure-to-launch?In this episode, I had a conversation with Ryan Wexelblatt, also known as the ADHD Dude, about the topic of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and how it is perceived in our society. We delved into the nature versus nurture debate and explored the role of lifestyle factors in ADHD. Ryan argues that while environmental factors can exacerbate symptoms, ADHD itself is not caused by these factors. Ryan highlights the need to differentiate between normal developmental processes and the underlying executive functioning challenges associated with ADHD. Ryan emphasizes the importance of following scientific evidence and understanding that ADHD is a genetic condition with biological markers.We also discussed the concept of time blindness, which refers to the difficulty individuals with ADHD have in perceiving the passage of time, and how this may be influenced by our modern world, with its constant access to technology and lack of natural time markers.Moving on to the specific challenges faced by boys with ADHD, we explored the importance of understanding the differences in how boys develop social skills compared to girls. Ryan highlights the need for a male perspective in the field of ADHD and social skills training, as many existing approaches tend to teach overly formal etiquette that may not resonate with boys. We also address the issue of self-diagnosis and the influence of social media, cautioning against the misinformation and oversimplification that can occur in online discussions about ADHD.Ryan Wexelblatt is a licensed clinical social worker, former school social worker, and father to a son.  Ryan founded ADHD Dude, an evidence-informed resource for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD that provides practical strategies to address ADHD-related challenges. He has worked in the field for two decades and is a contributor to ADDitude Magazine. Ryan creates content for the ADHD Dude YouTube channel and the ADHD Dude Membership Site. Ryan is about to launch "Raising Boys On the Spectrum", the first male-specific resource for parents of boys diagnosed with higher-verbal autism. Originally from Philadelphia, Ryan and his son live in Tucson, Arizona.Books mentioned in this episode:"Feminism Against Progress" by Mary HarringtonAll books mentioned on this podcast can be found at sometherapist.com/bookshop or by following the embedded Amazon links. Affiliate commissions from these purchases help support the show. Thank you!Other resources mentioned in this episode:ADHD Dude YouTube channelADDitude Magazine[00:00:00] Failure to launch.[00:05:42] Minimal Brain Dysfunction.[00:07:45] Environmental factors and ADHD.[00:12:46] Cognitive inflexibility and ADHD.[00:16:30] Difficulty with executive functioning.[00:18:40] Time perception and ADHD.[00:23:08] Time and nature's rhythm.[00:25:11] Sensing the passage of time.[00:28:32] Mother's risk-taking in daycare.[00:32:51] Autism diagnosis and social media.[00:36:13] Social skills for boys.[00:39:16] Teaching organic connection skills.[00:43:24] Lack of empathy for others.[00:48:48] Video game addiction.[00:51:29] Parent-child relationship dynamics.[00:54:08] Reducing parental accommodation.[00:56:32] Giving and being flexible.[01:00:27] Developing executive functioning skills.[01:03:03] Shifting to declarative language.[01:06:41] The Socratic method.[01:11:05] Emasculated males with autism.[01:15:28] Lopsided dynamics in parenting.[01:19:44] Your courage is appreciated.[01:23:41] The End of Gender.[01:25:21] Intolerance in diversity training.[01:28:14] Gender critical therapy.[01:33:39] Discrimination in healthcare. To support this show, please leave a rating & review on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe, like, comment & share via my YouTube channel. Or recommend this to a friend!Learn more about Do No Harm.Take $200 off your EightSleep Pod Pro Cover with code SOMETHERAPIST at EightSleep.com.Take 20% off all superfood beverages with code SOMETHERAPIST at Organifi.Check out my shop for book recommendations + wellness products.Show notes & transcript provided with the help of SwellAI.Special thanks to Joey Pecoraro for our theme song, “Half Awake,” used with gratitude and permission.Watch NO WAY BACK: The Reality of Gender-Affirming Care (our medical ethics documentary, formerly known as Affirmation Generation). Stream the film or purchase a DVD. Use code SOMETHERAPIST to take 20% off your order. Follow us on X @2022affirmation or Instagram at @affirmationgeneration.Have a question for me? Looking to go deeper and discuss these ideas with other listeners? 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You Must Be Some Kind of Therapist is a podcast for seekers, dreamers, and questioners that intimately explores the human experience. Your host, Stephanie Winn, distills years of wisdom gained from her practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She invites guests from a broad variety of disciplines and many walks of life, including researchers, writers, artists, healers, advocates, inventive outliers, and creative geniuses. Together, they investigate, illuminate, and inspire transformation - in the self, relationships, and society. Curious about many things, Stephanie’s uniquely interdisciplinary psychological lens tackles challenging social issues while encouraging personal and relational wellness. Join this journey through the inner wilderness.