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Parents of ADHD Children

Has anyone heard of Dr. Amen?

He claims that there are 7 different types of ADD and through brain spect imaging he can tell what type you have and treat it.  Thoughts on this?


Yes, he’s very well-known.  The ways we tend to classify things in behavioral medicine is based on outward behaviors and putting people in different boxes based on the behaviors that person, as well as others, have observed.  ADD was a big box originally that only netted those “classic” hyperactive boys.  The more they put into that box the more they noted other distinguishing features and eventually realized there was this whole other category of largely inattentive ones who seemed to be suffering from the same basic neurological dysfunction.  Over time clinicians/investigators/etc began to observe that there were some who had features of both—so a new box “combined” was also added.

Dr. Amen’s work is fascinating because his classification scheme started with looking at brain function (using SPECT scans) and amassing enough numbers of those to draw conclusions, make connections, then come up with a way to classify those results.  They are classified & grouped based on the similarities that the visual representations of different anatomical regions (and the brain functions they produce/correspond to) show.  Once the visual representations were grouped together then they started filling in the observed behaviors, personality traits, etc that corresponded to each group.

If only SPECT scanning wasn’t so prohibitively expensive and/or more insurance companies would pay for it we’d have a lot more data to better understand this thing called ADHD.  If SPECT scans were free I’d get one done in a heartbeat!

Posted by BC on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:33pm

My girlfriend went to his clinic for herself and felt it was a lot of bunk and all about selling products.

My concern is that if the work isn’t peer reviewed or if other doctors aren’t using it, then I would be suspect.

Clearly, my opinion is person and I can’t argue with anyone who has used his clinic and gotten results.

Posted by momodoodle on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:31pm

He is certainly well know and has written tons of books, including one about ADHD.  I find him a compelling speaker, but I know the medical Psychiatric community has not embraced his methods.

Posted by staypositive on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:44pm

Dr. Amen just did a fascinating webinar with Listen to the podcast here:

His approach is integrative, and that is often not accepted in Western medicine. I think, in time,  this approach to categorizing different presentations of ADHD to better tailor treatment will become more mainstream—although that will take far too long to benefit our children.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:04pm

He’s been around for years. He’s a neuro doc from Washington State. To my knowledge, that is where he opened his first clinic. In the beginning, he only advocated “natural” treatments, but has since moved on to some pharmacological drugs such as stimulants as well as gabapentin, a commonly used seizure drug.  We supplement my son’s meds with many of the treatments he suggests. He takes L-thaenine, the calming agent in green tea as well as a balance of EPA/DHA Omega 3 fatty acids. My husband is also on the recommended treatment for one of the ADHD types, Welbutrin.

He says you can get a scan for about $1800 or a full eval for $3600. No insurance. He also has questionnaires based on his scans. They are obviously much cheaper. I think they are as effective as a scan because they are based on his scan research, but without further research, I can’t promise that.

Dr. Amen is also an advocate for a trial elimination diet. Because I have many food allergies, I am already on an elimination diet. I don’t eat any cow’s milk, wheat or soy. But, the diet he advocates is also free of any dairy also corn and added sugar including honey, agave. maple syrup or cane juice. He recommends unprocessed Stevia instead. I am trying, but have found adapting this treatment very difficult if not completely impractical.

I want to believe that he is legit, but I wonder sometimes if he has become more of a brand than a healer.

I hope this answers your question.
Susan in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:05pm

Thanks for all of your opinions, adhdmomma, thanks for the link, I watched a special with him and his wife on our local pbs station and was interested in other’s opinions and learning more.

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Mar 25, 2014 at 6:12pm

I’m curious about him as well. His slick ‘sales’ approach makes me very leery. Also, I took his on-line test to identify my ADHD ‘type’ (i.e. his 7 types—I already know I have the predominantly inattentive type). His test told me that I had at least 4 or 5 of his 7 types of ADHD! I wonder if that’s common? It made me suspect that his advice wouldn’t help me, because it’s tailored to each of his 7 types.
I’m certainly open to alternative treatments to supplement the mediations I’m taking. I find that Omega 3’s before bed really help me sleep better—I haven’t yet noticed if they help in other ways.
I’d love to hear more comments on Dr. Amen and whether he’s helped people.

Posted by K.D. on Sep 05, 2014 at 3:21pm

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