Anatomy of Motivation, Part 1 (Episode 153)
Doctors Brian and Giuseppe interview Dr. Leonard Sax, author of Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men, about boys' motivation (or lack thereof), the reasons for underachievement, and what parents and schools can do to help. In Part 1, we discuss:
- How changes in education could reduce boys' motivation to succeed in school
- How the increasing frequency of the use of stimulant medication to treat ADHD might affect brain areas involved in motivation. Dr. Sax wrote about these effects in an article for the New York Times. Dr. Biederman's case is discussed here.
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We'll reiterate the "word of caution" that Dr. Sax mentions near the end of this episode: When we discuss medication used to treat ADHD, the discussion is intended to provide information only, and should not be used to guide specific treatment of any individual. You should not change a medication or discontinue medication without talking to your physician.
A further note: As I noted in the interview, Dr. Sax makes strong statements about the possible impact of stimulant medications on the brain areas responsible for motivation, but in his book, he provides examples of kids who recovered from these effects. The side effects that he talks about are not necessarily a "life sentence".
Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor. Doctors Brian and Giuseppe discussed kids in general in this episode, but every child is unique; your experience may vary from that discussed in this episode.