The antidote to ADHD isn’t Ritalin, it’s play: let’s make recess the first class of the day!

April 1, 2013

Neuroscience


For anyone reading today’s NYT article on the ADHD “epidemic” (sidenote: the only epidemic is in the eyes of the diagnosticians and, worse, the school administrators who ensure that normal boys look hyperactive by sticking them in classrooms at 8am every morning), it wasn’t hard to notice someone conspicuously absent: Jaak Panksepp.

If you haven’t read Panksepp’s most recent article on the normal evolutionary function of attentional shifting, and on the necessity of reorganizing our grade schools to make recess the first class of the day, read it now: Panksepp, ADHD and Play.pdf

The real tragedy here is that we are stuck with a system of education that came of age when most children were engaged in huge amounts of physical activity every day (walking to and from school, doing chores around the house, playing physical games rather then electronic ones). No adjustment has been made for this. Reasonable proposals – such as to educated girls and boys separately in the mornings, giving boys play first and study later, and then merging them in the afternoon – go missing entirely.  If we’re going to change the way we treat our kids, we have to begin by giving them age-appropriate outlets for the normal mammalian urge to shift attention rapidly and frequently in the pursuit of social experience. Or, as Panksepp calls it, play.

Image credit: http://www.deeblestone.com/1mages/LF_22_500w.jpg

Advertisements

About Peter Freed, M.D.

I am a psychiatrist (psychopharmacology and psychotherapy) specializing in the so-called "personality disorders," particularly narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. I was a Fellow and then an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia from 2004- 2011. I am currently in private practice in NYC.

View all posts by Peter Freed, M.D.

Subscribe to Neuroself.com

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

4 Comments on “The antidote to ADHD isn’t Ritalin, it’s play: let’s make recess the first class of the day!”

  1. marksolock Says:

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

    Reply

  2. sizegenetics Says:

    Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

    Reply

  3. fslrcb@hotmail.co.uk Says:

    Well done, thanks for the good read. You really helped me understand this topic much better.

    Reply

  4. Fatima Says:

    After exploring a handful of the blog posts on your blog, I honestly
    like your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark site
    list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website as well and tell me what you think.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: