Category Archives: Treatment

October is ADHD Awareness Month

Speaking the truth about ADHD as we know it.Stigma, misinformation, and fears about ADHD continually flood us with negative messages. Pre-conceived ideas, ignoring scientific evidence, and misinformation combined with a bias against medication make getting diagnosed and properly treated problematic throughout most of the world. The truth is out there, but spreading the news is a never-ending battle. Having a month devoted to sharing information, encouraging treatment, and even celebrating a common experience can provide relief for many.

Participating in ADHD Awareness Month  – We list a number of both online and in-person events for 2018. Get a great education and experience a powerful feeling of community.

Understanding the ADHD brain

Scientific research and new models of ADHD are proving that ADHD is much more involved than anyone has previously conceived.” As Joel Nigg, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, says, “ADHD is a genetic disorder, but DNA is not working alone Stress, diet, and environmental toxins change the brain as well.” “ADHD is not a breakdown of the brain in one spot. It’s a breakdown in the connectivity, the communication networks, and an immaturity in these networks,” says “These brain networks are interrelated around

  • emotion,
  • attention,
  • behavior,
  • and arousal.

People with ADHD have trouble with global self-regulation, not just regulation of attention, which is why there are attentional and emotional issues.”
More Than Just Genes: How Environment, Lifestyle, and Stress Impact ADHD and Everything you Need to Know about ADHD.

Diagnosing and Treating ADHD is challenging

ADHD is a complex and highly comorbid disorder. “Diagnosis of ADHD requires much more than meeting the criteria set forth in a certain set of symptoms. You need to see a mental health professional who will take a complete history using personal questionnaires and interviews with the person, their family, or teachers. This process will help them assess your symptoms and see if your story “fits” what they might expect from ADHD.” (See ADHD Screening Tests for signs to look for when you suspect ADHD)

“Comorbidity or co-occurring means having two or more diagnosable and related conditions at the same time. Indeed, researchers are discovering that ADHD “seldom rides alone.” Studies suggest comorbidity rates between 50% and 90%. This complex interplay between ADHD and its commonly occurring comorbid psychiatric disorders complicates diagnosing and treating ADHD. (Taken from ADHD Grows Up ) For more on diagnosis, see “A Physician’s Perspective” listed below.

Medication is a personal choice that deserves much more attention than I can give it here. Please see A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD Medications by Theodore Mandelkorn, M.D. as well as Why I Choose to Medicate my ADHD Child by Diane Dempster for their viewpoints.

Managing ADHD is Possible

Our guest author, Mary Fowler explains. First, we must understand that most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to doIt’s a matter of doing what we know.” 

In her mini-workshop for teachers, Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD, Mary describes in detail many specific tools to help children “do what they know” through simple support techniques  Although Mary’s advice is quite useful the classroom, the same understanding of ADHD and principles for getting things done remain true for all ages. It is well worth reading for yourself as well as sharing with your child’s school

But, DO NOT expect that using these ideas just a couple of times will change their behavior in the near future. That’s like expecting a child in a wheelchair to get up and walk up the stairs because they’ve used a ramp for a while. It’s not a lack of knowledge, but an inability to perform mundane or confusing tasks at an assigned time that is affected by ADHD.

External scaffolding is needed – like developing habits and routines, getting comfortable with transitioning between activities, strategies for starting and finishing projects as well as controlling one’s emotional responses.

“What you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Accept that supports may be needed across the lifespan of a person with ADHD.
  • Interventions have to happen in the here and now on an as-needed basis.
  • The strategies ONLY work when they are used.”

 
Acceptance and Community

In Learning to Accept Myself after my ADHD Diagnosis, Kristi Lazzar writes, “Getting diagnosed started me on the path of new growth, change, and yes, acceptance. I could finally be myself and stop wondering why I couldn’t be like everyone else. I could stop the self-loathing. I now had a name for my behaviors, which gave me something to work with. I could finally be myself. I could stop the self-loathing.”

“ADHD communities are extremely supportive and a wonderful place to learn about your diagnosis and what to expect. “When you feel lost and alone, it’s comforting to know that others get it. … My best teachers have been people like me.” An online community will do, but meeting in person or through a video Zoom connection is even more powerful. See our sections on Finding Support for ADHD and Options to Personal ADHD Coaching for help discovering your own “safe place.”    For an amazing feeling of community, you might want to attend the 2018 International Conference on ADHD in St. Louis, Missouri is being held on November 8th – 11th. 

The Art of Thriving with ADHD

Thriving with ADHD is a gradual process. You may be surprised to know that they aren’t about productivity; they’re about how you are feeling about yourself.” They are as much about accepting your unique personality quirks and gifts as they are about learning strategies to overcome your difficulties.  Author Kari Hogan says,Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it.  When you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths. And “Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not.” Only then does she offer a number of strategies in 16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem. (If link doesn’t work, Copy and paste: https://addfreesources.net/16-steps-to-better-self-esteem-with-adhd/)

  1. Your first step is STRUCTURE.
    By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
  2. The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).
  3. Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities….”

 

All too often, we dwell on the negatives of ADHD. Andrea Nordstrom reframes the way we look Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder as merely a deficit in The ADHD Manifesto. (2 ½ minutes) It’s a great pick-me-up if you’re ever feeling down about “being different.”

We don’t do life the normal way. we do it the ADD way! We are not broken. We are whole. When we fuel ourselves properly, our drive accelerates us.”

 

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

 

 

Spiral Stairs Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Title page created on Canva.com

 

ADHD: Acceptance and feeling worthy. Own your story.

Be aware of how ADHD affects you. Know that you are worthy to seek help and get the best treatment available.April 2108 Newsletter Greeting

 

“How well have you accepted your ADHD or that your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Do you doubt the diagnosis or feel helpless in the face of the many challenges in your personal or family life?

ADHD is NO ONE’S fault, but once you know about it, it is your RESPONSIBILITY. You and/or your child deserve to handle everyday life without undue stress and strain. Why? Because you are WORTH it.

None of us are NORMAL. It doesn’t exist. All of us are somehow DIFFERENT. An article reporting on a Yale University study claims that all traits exist somewhere along a spectrum, “…Nobody is Normal. This complicates matters for medical professionals, but a moderate to high degree of impairment determines whether the criteria for a diagnosis is met. Since an evaluation for ADHD requires that impairment be present in two or more settings, some type of intervention is indicated and could be of great value. Choosing to medicate and/or develop an ADHD friendly environment and a “bag of strategies and tricks” helps to “level the playing field.”  Get to know your strengths, the ways that ADHD impacts your life, and develop a few ways to DO something about it!

I began to think about the power of self-acceptance and feeling worthy after watching “Take your Pills” on NetFlix. Once again, the ADHD community has come under attack by the popular media. The latest volley is in the guise of a documentary.

Jessica McCabe of the How to ADD YouTube channel reviews this attack and expresses her feelings well. “Controversy sells, and the media knows it. So a lot of what we see, read, and hear about ADHD and ADHD treatment either misrepresents the facts or is flat-out meant to scare us.” Jessica offers a more balanced perspective with science-backed information on ADHD, the value of medication and other strategies proven effective for treating ADHD. You’ll find her video near the end of the newsletter.

I was confused and disturbed by comments made by a few people interviewed for the program. Although most were diagnosed with ADHD, many didn’t really “own” their ADHD or take it seriously.  Even while indicating a positive response to medication, some seemed to feel like they were somehow cheating by using it, and further, resented needing any intervention at all. Like too many of us with the disorder, they also questioned the necessity of dealing with their ADHD, believing that they SHOULD be able to do it all on their own by “just focusing” and “powering through.”

So many of us just don’t know enough to name the unique ways our own ADHD is expressed. We also don’t realize or track the benefits of medication or other strategies to create better coping skills. For help with this, see Response to Treatment Rating Scales on this site. 

WHY do we have such denial? We struggle to accept help and develop twisted stories about ourselves.  I feel this re-written history lies in not accepting ourselves, misunderstanding what ADHD is and is not, and not feeling that we are “worthy” of asking for help or support.

Happily, some people in the documentary accept their ADHD and appreciated the benefits of being appropriately medicated. Like those of us actively addressing their symptoms, they also talk about using proven treatments like basic self-care, coaching, therapy, and other ways to bolster executive functions and control their emotions. Realizing what “turned on” their interest-driven nervous system, they felt better able to cope with their weakness and harness the power of their strengths and values. You’ll find a number of tools to help with this in Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know yourself.

But, “so many of us feel unworthy. We feel that we’re not good enough, we don’t fit in, and we don’t matter. We’re overly self-critical, fixating on our flaws and failures. We think we need to be perfect and successful in order to have value.” ~ Sharon Martin, LCSW. This feeling is not specific to ADHD by any means. It is a universal plague on most of humankind. Martin writes about dealing with these destructive feelings in 5 Ways We Compromise Our Self-Worth and How to Rebuild It.  

When you believe in your own worth and are willing to seek outside intervention to improve your life, ADHD need not be a barrier to success. You CAN find greater happiness in your life through knowledge, true acceptance of the disorder, and practicing empathy in how we speak and behave towards your child or self and seeking help. Don’t try to do it all alone!

ADHD Living has a wonderful article on the importance of outside support.  “If ADHD is your challenge, support is a must. ADHD is a major mental health concern that can greatly impact your life and the lives of others around you. It deserves a certain level of time and attention paid to it.” According to Dr. Ned Hallowell, M.D., connection with others reinforces our feelings of worth and reassures us that we are NOT alone. People who care about our well-being can provide invaluable advice. I was lucky enough to have an ADHD support group in my own town, but you can find lots of ideas for finding support here. Other means of support are ADHD coaches and Coaching groups.

Feelings of unworthiness and non-acceptance of yourself confuse the issue of treatment and compound the problems inherent in ADHD’s impact on our lives. I found four new articles this month that expand on this theme. They offer valuable help for anyone interested in looking at ADHD in a new light and in learning about adjustments they can take to improve their mental health.  My thanks to these three writers who have so graciously shared their work.

I started to be real about my ADHD. I needed help.Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction provided 5 Lies I Tell Myself about Having ADHD. I’m sure you’ll recognize many of these rationalizations from your own story.

Ann Doyle has just begun to write about ADHD in Small Town Wife.  You’ll find some great tips in her Parenting ADHD: 7 Steps for the Newly Diagnosed.

Freya Cheffers of Never a Dull Moment – Life and ADHD on Facebook shares two articles this month. Both offer a refreshing view of ADHD, outlining many positives of people with ADHD without ignoring their very real challenges in a neurotypical world. According to the author of the aforementioned study from Yale on no one REALLY being “normal,”  “There’s a level of variability in every one of our behaviors,” and “no behavior is solely negative or solely positive. There are potential benefits for both, depending on the context you’re placed in.”

You CAN reassure your kids that they have a bright future. “ Just because you don’t do school that well does not mean you’re going to have a bad time for the rest of your life.”Freya lists a number of positives about ADHD in 10 Things I Love about People with ADHD. See if you agree with her opinion.

When Cheya’s son asked her about what kind of future he could expect, she shared her own story. She attributed her own experiences and accomplishments DIRECTLY to thinking and acting in ways that suited her NATURAL ways of learning and being.  See Mum, Do You Think I have a Bleak Future?  to listen in on this reassuring conversation.

 

Videos

We have one short video this month on validation and Jessica’s review of “Take your Pills” mentioned earlier. I link to another 1-minute video from ADDitudeMag and also include a 2 ½-minute classic just for fun.

Finding Happiness in Neurodiversity with Shawn Smith, Me.D., CCC, founder and consultant of Don’t dis-my-ability. (One-minute preview.)

“We often feel that validation comes from people liking us. But that’s not true…It comes from within. You’re not going to gain acceptance from other people because that means you’re trying to be something that you are not.” * For the complete interview and transcription, the podcast is on Different Brains.com.

Why I’m Upset at Netflix’s New Documentary “Take Your Pills   (9 ½ minutes) with Jessica McCabe of the YouTube channel How to ADHD

Your Unique ADHD Brain Chemistry – Produced by ADDitudeMag, this is a 1-minute video on the ADHD interest driven nervous system, as proposed by Dr. William Dodson.

Sh*t  no one with ADHD says 2 ½-minutes) from TotallyADD
This tongue-in-cheek video was unfairly flagged for bad language, so take the time watch it to help keep it on YouTube. (Editor’s note: After 20 years of working on my foibles, these situations no longer apply to me – at least not very often.)

I’ll close with a mantra from Sharon Stone to help rebuild your feelings of self-worth.
 
“My self-worth doesn’t depend on being liked or being perfect. I can choose to accept myself and live knowing I’m just as worthy as everyone else. We’re all different, of course, but there doesn’t have to be any judgment or comparison.
Today I will rebuild my self-worth by… “

 
Thanks for your attention. If you find help or reassurance here, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
 
 
Joan Jager

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ADHD: 7 Tips for The Newly Diagnosed Child

Kids with ADHD need help. Don’t make them struggle on their own.Guest post from Ann Doyle of Small Town Wife

We have a blended family.  I have 2 children; my husband has 2 children.

We love each other’s children as if they were our own.  We wipe tears, we do homework, we send to rooms, we talk; and we watch our children with their day-to-day struggles and wish we could make it better, just like their “real” mom/dad does.  We may each be step-parents to each other’s children, but each of us is there for these kids.  They are all treated the same and are all loved the same.

it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. That’s because I concentrated all my energy towards a very special little boy who needs a lot of love right now.

The kiddo I’m writing about is my husband’s youngest child.  He is a bright, funny, sweet, adventurous little boy, who is in the 2ndgrade.  From the first time I met him, I knew he wasn’t like most boys.  He was loud, he moved around a lot, he was distracted easily.  I have a background in early childhood education, and I knew deep down that he had ADHD.

He would say things like “I just can’t slow my brains down”, “I can’t stop moving”, “I just don’t get it”; even after reading the same homework question 5 times in a row.

This was 2 years ago.

About a year and a half later, his current teacher suggested that he may have ADHD.  I watched his dad vehemently deny that claim.  But deep down, I knew it was true.

The rest of the evening, I listened to his dad tell me stories of his own childhood, how he was just like his son, and that even today, he still has moments where he “just can’t slow his brain down”.  So, knowing how his son must feel, he decided to make an appointment.

When he broke the news to him about getting help for the way he feels at school, this kiddo was excited.  Because he understood he had no friends because something made him different.  He never got the right answer when he was called upon in class because he was just so excited, he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.  He couldn’t read his own handwriting because he was in such a rush to complete the assignment.

You would think that there would be a happy ending here, but unfortunately, the story continues.

The struggle to find an effective medicine for his ADHD is proving to be difficult.  But it is even more difficult when the very same teacher who championed for an ADHD diagnoses, seems to have dropped the ball.  She may not realize she has, but that’s how we feel.

When your ADHD child is in school, you need to have a detailed report from the teacher, regarding the child’s behavior.  A report of “Your child just wouldn’t listen today” is very broad.  Why weren’t they listening?  What activity were you trying to do?  What subject was he working on?  How much stimuli was around him at that time?  What were you requesting of him?

Those are very important factors that must be included in a behavior report.

Accurate reporting makes all the difference. This kiddo’s doctor cannot prescribe treatment for a child who “just won’t listen”.  If that were the case, most children would be diagnosed with ADHD!

I take this kiddo to his med appointments, and communicate with his doctor, because our kiddo’s “real” parents are at their jobs, making money to support their families.  They trust that I am going to communicate with the school and the doctor while keeping this child’s best interests in mind.  (Which I do. Who wouldn’t?)

However, when it comes to his teacher, she refuses to communicate.  She refuses to listen to any advice our doctor suggests and refuses to correctly complete the behavior reports.  This is her classroom, and gosh golly darn it, she’s going to run it her way, and she knows what’s best.  In our opinion, she wants a zombie who will fall asleep from being over-medicated.  But we don’t want to lose our boy’s personality, and neither does our doctor!

This kiddo needs help.  He can’t do this on his own, and the battle is twice as difficult when there is little support from the school.

Remember, you, as well as his/her “real” parents, are the only educational advocates your child has.  And believe me, the more you all work together for your child, the more it is going to benefit them.  If your child’s school chooses to ignore your voice because you’re merely the step-parent, remind them that under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), that you, as the step-parent, DO have the right to advocate for your child’s education.  FERPA defines the term “parent” as “a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian.”

We have reached out to other teachers for advice and have questioned why our child has not been referred to our school’s special education program.  We have had several non-productive conferences with the teacher and one conference with the principal, which we thought was productive, but unfortunately, had no effect.  Our next step is to go to the Superintendent of our school district, to get some answers, insight, or assistance.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope you find a treatment plan that works for your child.  Here are a few tips that we use at home, that we have discovered along the way:

  • Those with ADHD need structure and routine.

They need to know what is coming next because they do not transition well.  It’s hard to calm down from an exciting activity and expect to do quiet work.

At home, we have a routine, and we stick to it.  The kids come in, they sit down and talk while we go through assignment notebooks, we figure out what their homework is, we then give them their papers, and while we fix dinner they complete their homework.  We eat, then we play for a bit, and then we wind down and pick up toys, then we get PJs, take a shower, watch a few cartoons, and we go to bed.

  • They need encouragement and praise.

Many children with ADHD have low self-esteem, due to the lack of friendships, stemming from their inability to understand that their behavior is taken as disrespectful or hurtful to others.  In children with ADHD, the area of the brain that controls impulsive behavior is under-developed for their age.

Every time we see something accomplished, we offer genuine praise.  When we see a behavior that could be interpreted as disrespectful or hurtful, we let him know, and why.  It’s the only way he’s going to come to understand.

  • They need social guidance.

Children with ADHD often seek to be the center of attention, mostly because they think that the “cooler” they are, the more friends they will have, they don’t understand the difference between positive and negative attention.  In their minds, they think “Hey, all eyes are on me, I’m pretty darn cool!”

We try to explain the type of attention we are giving at that certain moment.  If he has just smacked his step-brother to get his Hot Wheel and has been pulled aside for discipline; obviously that’s negative attention.  We try to focus on what his feelings are during the discipline process.  On the flip side, if he has just read a book to his step-brother, on his own, we praise him, and again, try to focus on what his feelings are at that moment.  Positive attention feels good; negative attention feels bad.

  • They need a reward system in place to help jump-start their motivation.

Some days are better than others.  But when they see that the goal IS attainable, and progress has been made, chances are, with a little encouragement, they will find the motivation to complete the task and receive that reward.

At home, we have different days that certain tasks get taken care of (Remember that schedule?)  If we can complete a certain number of tasks successfully, we earn a treat or a trip to eat, we get to choose our dinner, etc.

  • They need instructions to be broken down, step by step.

As our kiddo says his “brain doesn’t slow down”.  This leads to forgetting the steps to whatever task he was given.  Tasks that require 2 or more steps, need to be broken down into smaller chunks.  Once they complete a couple of steps, given them a couple more.

At home, we can’t say “Go pick out your clothes for tomorrow, grab some PJs, come in and take a shower, then come watch some TV.”  Inevitably, he ends up in his room playing with the toys he picked up earlier.  Actuality, it goes something like this: “Go pick out your clothes for tomorrow and grab some PJs.”  99% of the time, he returns for further instruction.  And once he does that, we continue with “Get in the shower, and when you’re done, come join us.”

  • They need to be brought into reality.

When I say this, what I mean is that before you explain instructions, you need to grab their attention.  Begin by stating their name.  We follow that with “look at my eyes”, because we know at that moment, we have his attention.

When we have something very important to say or discuss, we always start out by saying his name and asking him to look at our eyes.  If I see he’s really struggling, I ask him to take a deep breath and let it out.  I then tell him what I need to say and have him repeat it.  If it’s a discussion, it goes so much smoother if I start the conversation out that way, and continue with, “Tell me what’s going on with ________________.”

  • They need to keep moving.

Offer a balance ball to sit on or a tall chair where they can swing their legs.  Continuous movement can help stop them from fidgeting with erasers, or picking at the paper they are trying to write spelling words on and help them focus on the task at hand.

It sounds counter-intuitive.  But it works.  If our kiddo is doing something with his legs, he rarely fidgets with his pencil, or picks at the paper, or taps his fingers.

I sincerely hope these tips help you manage your child’s ADHD.  And if you are in the same boat as us, I hear you and I understand your frustrations.  There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to travel a little longer before we get there.

 

About the author: Ann Doyle of the blog Small Town Wife and her husband have 4 children who range from 18-months up to 17-years. She writes about living in Kansas and offers a wide range of tips for running a house, saving money, parenting and DIY projects. We can look forward to more articles on ADHD and how it affects their family.

 

Originally posted as ADHD: Tips for the Newly Diagnosed Child http://smalltownwife.com/2018/03/adhd-tips-for-the-newly-diagnosed-child/

(Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

Visit our Pinterest Boards for more help.  We offer an extensive collection of curated articles, memes, and quotes that explore a number of topics concerning  ADHD and related issues. Our Facebook page features a number of Pinterest boards and provides a steady stream of information, encouragement, and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Lies I Tell Myself about Having ADHD

I started to be real about my ADHD. I needed help.Guest post by Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction

There are roughly 8 million adults in the US living with ADHD. Less than 20% of those who meet the criteria have been diagnosed, and even fewer seek help. Source Unfortunately, living in denial prevents some people from realizing that life can actually get better.

I lived this way for a long time, so I know how that feels.
There is still so much stigma attached to any kind of mental health diagnosis. And yes, ADHD falls under the category of mental health.

In the fall of 2010, I had a 2-month-old baby. He cried incessantly. I didn’t realize at the time that he had sensory issues and could not regulate the incoming input from his senses, so I thought I was doing something wrong. Spending all your time nursing and listening to your child scream is not how most women picture themselves after giving birth.

On top of this, my house was falling apart. All of the plans I had for cooking, cleaning and becoming the consummate housewife went out the window.

One afternoon as I sat on my bed crying and nursing, I realized that I needed help for my ADHD. I needed something to help me prioritize. I needed something to help me manage my life. So I started to open up about my ADHD. After all, I was diagnosed when I was only 12 years old.
I had been lying to myself for a long time.

5 LIES I TELL MYSELF ABOUT MY ADHD

NOBODY NEEDS TO KNOW

For so long I thought if I led a highly structured life, nobody would suspect that I was drowning. I never told my employers directly, though I did tell a few close coworkers. Discussion of ADHD within my own family wasn’t an issue because my brother didn’t want to talk about it either. I didn’t even tell my fiancé directly until after we were married. Even then, I glossed over it. After our son was born, it became so obvious that I dropped all my defenses and just told him I needed help.

There are benefits to keeping it a secret. You get hired, people trust you. But when you do screw up it is much harder to explain.

I JUST NEED TO MAKE LISTS

List-making is a favorite pastime of mine. I make lists for housecleaning, grocery shopping, prioritizing tasks, and God knows what else. The thing is– the lists made it worse. You and I look at a list and realize there is no way in hell it can all be done. Then we get frustrated and angry.“Why can’t I just do things like a NORMAL person?!” We end up screaming in our heads, which is never a good thing.

Now when I make a list, it has no more than 3 major items. Or I use Kanban flow.

MEDICATION WILL FIX EVERYTHING

ADHD medications are very effective for many people. Indeed, I experienced success with medication. But still, I quit taking them at some point. Now, I’m revisiting my decision. Previously, I disliked depending on medication to cope with what seemingly came easily for other women. Now, I have come to realize that taking medication is not a cop-out and it doesn’t make you lazy.

But medication alone will not fix everything. You will still need support in the form of counseling and/or coaching. Despite the many people who do not take lifestyle into consideration, I still contend that for your medication to do its best work, you need to have a healthy lifestyle.
Develop healthy habits and routines that help you get restful sleep, schedule regular exercise times, eat real food, control your blood sugar and your stress level. For success, don’t rush to do everything at once. Take it step by step. Small changes make a big difference.

I DON’T NEED MEDICATION

Have you ever fallen into this trap?
Granted, some people can function without medication. Chances are many of these have a lot of support and help from others, just as all of us need. Some have accepted the way their brain works and have created a work environment and life that promotes their strengths. This helps make their weaknesses less visible and impairing. I know of several entrepreneurs who are ADHD, but they have an entire staff to keep their lives together.

Accept that your brain works differently. Trust me, you will feel less inadequate this way. I came to the conclusion over time that being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The key is figuring out how to work around it.

My schedule will always overwhelm me, and my house will always be a little messy. So what? I’m working on it.

MY MEMORY ISN’T THAT BAD

This is a big one for me. I cannot remember anything. It is incredibly frustrating. At least twice a day I look at a website or read an article and I think, “Oh I can find this later.” Do I find the article later? Nope. Forgetfulness is so common with ADHD that it becomes comical in certain circumstances.

My newest tool is writing everything down. I have notebooks all over my house and in my bags. I figure if it’s good enough for Richard Branson, it’s good enough for me. My memory sucks. It is what it is.

I had been lying to myself for a long time.

What lies do you tell yourself about ADHD?

 

About the author: Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction offers “Solutions and Strategies for Women Living, Laughing and Parenting with ADHD.” She blogs regularly. Sign up for her email list to follow her work. Liz also hosts a private Facebook Community, works with individuals and created the Coaching Corner group. Her goal is to help women understand how ADHD impacts their lives, explore strategies to help, and live well.

Article originally posted at:
https://adoseofhealthydistraction.com/5-lies-i-tell-myself-about-my-adhd/

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ADHD: Create your Best Life

ADHD: Create your Best Life, as Unique as You Are

March 2018 Newsletter

 

Hello again, and welcome to our new subscribers,

The year is MARCHing by, but I am pleased that I have been able to meet many of my goals so far. I’ve been developing tactics are helping me feel much more in control of my life. I’m also working to hold my head high without shame or jealousy for others accomplishments. I remind myself daily that judging myself for what I WILL NEVER BE only hurts me.  It isn’t easy, but I’ve had a lot of help along the way.  For ME, I’m doing well. I’m learning to accept how ADHD and bipolar disorder affect my world and learn ways that allow me to express myself, live without stress, AND be happy in my work. As the song goes, I did it MY way.” But all of us are uniquely ourselves and must follow our own path to happiness.

 

ADHD is complex and different for each person. There’s a saying among ADHD professionals, “If you’ve seen one case of ADHD, you’ve seen one case of ADHD.” Although there are similarities of symptoms, no two cases are the same.  In the same vein, there are no simple answers to effectively treating individual cases. Types of medication used and dosages vary according to personal responses.

 

Another common saying is, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Developing these skills and systems must also be crafted for to meet individual needs. It’s also important to note that ADHD is a chronic condition that can be managed but not cured. A number of non-medical interventions have been found to be useful.

 

It’s important to remember that successful treatment doesn’t mean you can correct everything that’s affecting your ability to cope. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. As ADHD coach David Giwerc says, “Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life.”

 

This month we have something for both parents and adults to develop personalized strategies that Work WITH the ADHD brain. In “The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous System,” William Dodson, M.D. suggests that you write your own rules. The ADHD nervous system is activated by things or tasks that are interesting, challenging, or urgent. Rather than focus on where you fall short, you need to identify how you get into the zone.

 

 

I’m honored to have three guest authors who have generously shared their work this month; Lou Brown of Thriving with ADHD, ADHD coach and Organizer Sue Fay West, and Cindy Goldrich from PTS Coaching.

 

The first article encourages you to accept that not all strategies work for all people. The next few help you identify challenges as well support your novelty seeking ADHD brain by defining and learning to use your personal strengths and interests that inspire you and to create and meet goals that support YOUR values.

 

Of course, no newsletter on ADHD can ignore the ever prevalent strategies that HAVE proved useful with time management, organization and increasing productivity for some people. We have two articles with ideas for both children and adults. They won’t all work for you, but it’s amazing how the RIGHT changes, even small ones,  can make your life easier.

 

Just for fun, I’m posting a short cartoon that likens the ADHD brain to a movie director that keeps falling asleep on the set. See the newsletter online for an excellent Rap song, “You Don’t Know”, to promote ADHD Awareness. It’s G rated, so the kids can enjoy this one as well.

 Let Me Be Your Camera – Understanding ADHD and Executive Function What happens on a movie set when the director keeps falling asleep? (2 1/2 minutes)

Continue reading>>> ADHD: Create your best life, as unique as you are.

 Hope you enjoy these choices and find them useful in your lives,

Take care,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net 

 

 

Resources: The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous System

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

 

ADHD: Create a life as unique as you are  

 

ADHD affects everyone in the family. Here’s help

ADHD in the Family

Welcome to February,

In the Northwest, we’ve been luckier than others around the country this winter.  Although it’s been wet, our mild winter is already yielding to spring.  I’m already enjoying the hours of light lengthen each day and watching crocuses and other early bulbs emerge.

Hope good weather arrives soon for you as well.

ADHD in the Family: Working Together for Peace, Love, and Understanding

ADHD impacts everyone in the Family.  Understanding the complexity of ADHD and developing strategies for your home and personal life are important steps to coming to accept and deal with challenges.

This month, I have a mix of articles for both parents and adults. The first celebrates keeping peace in the family and love alive in your relationship.  Next is an extensive article I’ve been working on detailing the new perspectives on ADHD.  If you prefer watching videos to reading, I’ve included a few short clips that further expand on the topic. The final articles offer ideas you can tailor to fit your own needs, like using music to keep on task and decluttering your home and/or office. Hope you find some “treasures” this month.

 

"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."How I Fixed my ADHD Husband by ADHD coach Linda Walker

“What I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything.” “Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished.” (Note: Duane Gordon is the current President of ADHD for Adults) ADD.org  

ADHD Grows Up: New Perspectives on ADHD

by Joan Jager

Attention problems, Hyperactivity and Distraction symptoms for diagnosis in childhood are just the tip of the iceberg. Many aspects of ADHD, especially in adults, are now better defined as developmentally delayed Executive functions and poor emotional control. Coexisting conditions or comorbidities further compound the issue.

This realization has been slowly changing how we understand ADHD and its expression throughout the lifespan(Article features a number of videos for further information. )

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD by Charles Carpenter

Music helps with many challenges of kids with ADHD. Studying music can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues. Music can not only get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with psychical coordination.

18-5-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess  by Leo Babauta

Out of clutter comes simplicity.  Baby steps are important. Start with just five minutes. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate!

 

Take care of yourself and each other,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net  – On Pinterest and Facebook

 

Photo credits:

Newsletter Title: (Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto Facebook) Modified on Canva 

Crocuses (Photo courtesy of kookai_nak/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

How I Fixed my Husband (Linda Walker with her husband Duane Gordon from coachlindawalker.com) Modified on Canva

ADHD Grows Up (Photo downloaded from Facebook – Credit unknown)

Music Theory for Kids with ADHD (Photo courtesy of Debspoon/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

18 Five-Minute De-cluttering Tips (Photo by Idea go/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

ADHD in the Family

February 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to February,

In the Northwest, we’ve been luckier than others around the country this winter.  Although it’s been wet, our mild winter is already yielding to spring.  I’m already enjoying the hours of light lengthen each day and watching crocuses and other early bulbs emerge.

Hope good weather arrives soon for you as well. ***(View newsletter online: https://addfreesources.net/adhd-in-the-family/)

ADHD affects everyone in the family. Here’s helpADHD in the Family: Working Together for Peace, Love, and Understanding

ADHD impacts everyone in the Family.  Understanding the complexity of ADHD and developing strategies for your home and personal life are important steps to coming to accept and deal with challenges. This month, I have a mix of articles for both parents and adults. The first celebrates keeping peace in the family and love alive in your relationship.  Next is an extensive article I’ve been working on detailing the new perspectives on ADHD.  If you prefer videos to reading, I’ve included a few short ones further expand on the topic. The final articles offer ideas you can tailor to fit your own needs, like using music to keep on task and decluttering your home and/or office. Hope you find some “treasures” this month.

 

"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."How I Fixed my ADHD Husband by ADHD coach Linda Walker

“What I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything.” “Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished.” (Note: Duane Gordon is the current President of ADHD for Adults) ADD.org  

 

 

 

 

 

ADHD Grows Up:

New Perspectives on ADHD  by Joan Jager

Attention problems, Hyperactivity and Distraction symptoms for diagnosis in childhood are just the tip of the iceberg. Many aspects of ADHD, especially in adults, are now better defined as developmentally delayed Executive functions and poor emotional control. Coexisting conditions or comorbidities further compound the issue. This realization has been slowly changing how we understand ADHD and its expression throughout the lifespan(Includes a number of videos for further information. )

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD by Charles Carpenter

Music helps with many challenges of kids with ADHD. Studying music can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues. Music can not only get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with psychical coordination.

18-5-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess8 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess by Leo Babauta

Out of clutter comes simplicity.  Baby steps are important. Start with just five minutes. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate!

 

Take care of yourself and each other,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net  – On Pinterest and Facebook

 

Photo credits:

Newsletter Title: (Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto Facebook) Modified on Canva 

Crocuses (Photo courtesy of kookai_nak/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

How I Fixed my Husband (Linda Walker with her husband Duane Gordon from coachlindawalker.com) Modified on Canva

ADHD Grows Up (Photo downloaded from Facebook – Credit unknown)

Music Theory for Kids with ADHD (Photo courtesy of Debspoon/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

18 Five-Minute De-cluttering Tips (Photo by Idea go/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD

ADHD kids need structure. Music and rhythm could help.By Charles Carpenter

ADHD kids need structure. Music and rhythm could help.

While it is an alternative treatment method, music therapy offers many benefits for children with ADHD. Even if your child is not musically inclined, they can still incorporate stimulatory sound into their lives to help them focus more on everyday tasks. Here’s why music therapy may be able to help your child, and how they can use it to live a successful, happy life.

Music, for so many people, affords the opportunity to express themselves and communicate with others. Thus, it comes as no surprise that it can also help build social skills and even reduce anxiety. Studying music theory, for example, can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues.

Not only does music get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with physical coordination as well. Everyday Health notes that “Several small studies have found that rhythmic exercises improved attention, motor control, and academic skills in children with ADHD.”  For many kids with ADHD, there is simply too much going on at once that they can’t tune out. However, a little background music may be able to help drown out everything else and allowing them to concentrate. According to ADDitude Magazine, “Music is rhythm, rhythm is structure, and structure is soothing to an ADHD brain struggling to regulate itself to stay on a linear path.”    Simply tapping along can be calming to the mind.

You’ll find music can easily be incorporated everyday life. Together you and your child should make playlists tailored to specific moods and time periods within the day. More upbeat and inspiring tunes may help during a morning, commute or exercise, while softer sounds could be enjoyed before bedtime and during seemingly mundane activities like homework or chores. Consider even asking their teacher if he or she will allow your child to wear headphones during certain times of the school day so they can sing or tap along as they please. It could result in them being more productive at school.

Give your child the opportunity to collect music through multiple platforms such as digital, CDs, or vinyl records. Push them to attend concerts, dance or even perform. Because music exercises the brain just like a muscle, learning how to develop an interest in different genres can help them improve at school.

If your child expresses an interest in learning how to play an instrument, these tips may help. When it comes to buying instruments, there may be used ones available that are easier on the budget. If their school has a band program, you can ask if they can purchase or rent instruments. Also, look within your community for private lessons or ask the school’s band director for recommendations so they can further cultivate their skill set. There is a multitude of online videos, lessons, and workbooks they can utilize that will help them learn to play as well.

It’s important that your child picks the right instrument for them so they stick with it out of passion, rather than seeing it as a chore they have to complete. Before you make a decision, consider the quality of the instrument, your child’s playing style, budget, and intended use.

If they’re quieter and prefer alone time, perhaps select a gentler instrument that allows them to practice or perform by themselves like the clarinet or saxophone.

Percussion and more complicated instruments such as a trumpet are best utilized in an orchestra or band-like atmosphere. This could be a way they bond with others and challenge themselves to contribute in a group setting. Either way, they should set aside a small amount of time each day to practice in order to fully reap the benefits of playing and keep a solid routine.

Although it is commonly thought that classical music is most beneficial in terms of relaxation and IQ, there isn’t a specific type of music that works best therapeutically. Instead, let your child’s interest lead the way and encourage them to pursue music as a method of self-care.

 

About the author: Charles Carpenter is the father of a son with ADHD. He created Healing Sounds because he believes in the healing therapeutic power of music, and wants to spread the word.

 

 

(Photo courtesy of debspoon/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

 

 

 

Response to Treatment Rating Scales

 

How will you know when you have the right ADHD medication and dosage?

TRACK YOUR OWN or your CHILD’S RESPONSE to TREATMENT!   

You can’t notice small improvements or side effects without a monitoring sheet. The goal is to find the best results with the fewest side effects. Finding the right medication and dosage is seldom a straightforward process. It usually involves medication trials and may require many adjustments to dial in just the right combination.  The better you keep track of improvements or problems, the more likely to best the best results from treatment. Don’t waste time or suffer needlessly on the incorrect type and/or dosage of medication.

Your prescriber may slowly increase the dosage, then back off when side effects begin to interfere. Other times, they will switch to a different type of medication altogether. It will depend on what you have to report. Even if you use supplements like Omega 3 Fatty Acids, how will you know whether they are helping if you don’t record what changes, if any, occur?  For more on the alchemy of prescribing ADHD medication, see ADDitude Magazine’s 10 Medication Fallacies even Doctors Believe.

Dr. Charles Parker and Core Psych have numerous videos on the specifics of different ADHD medications and tracking an individual’s response to treatment.  Try the comprehensive and unique book on the subject that is reasonably priced ($6 to $15): Link works –  New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense. (Link works)

Pencil-and-paper treatment monitoring system developed by David Rabiner, Ph.D. Instructions provided for accurate reports. Download for free    (Link works or copy and paste http://www.helpforadd.com/monitor.pdf )

Medication Effects Rating Scales Children and Adolescents or Adults – Record changes observed and any negative side effects   Arlington Center for ADD

Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale – Track your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.

Return to ADHD Screening Tests

Other tests include:

Screening Evaluation Forms – Printable – For both Children and Adults (If this will not link: Copy and paste https://addfreesources.net/screening-evaluation-forms/

Online ADHD Tests

Response to Treatment Rating Scales – Children and adults

FREE Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – Children and adults

 

Image courtesy of graphic mouse/FreeDigitalPhoto.net)
Modified on Canva – www.canva.com

 

Treatment for ADHD and Addiction

New treatments combine medication for ADHD, drug detox and therapy.

by Trey Dyer

About 4.4 percent of American adults — 10 million people — have ADHD. And roughly 8 million children have been diagnosed with the disease, making it one the most commonly occurring mental health disorders in the United States.

 

The rate of co-occurring substance use disorders is high among those with ADHD. Individuals with this diagnosis are 2.5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder. A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that 15 to 25 percent of adults who have a substance use disorder also have ADHD.

 

For co-occurring ADHD and substance abuse disorders, the best treatment programs combine medical treatment for ADHD, drug detox and therapy that address both disorders. Additionally, proper ADHD treatment during childhood can prevent further development of the disorder that may lead to a substance use disorder during adulthood.

 

The risk for substance abuse is often higher for people with ADHD. Compared to the general population, people with ADHD are:

  • Three times more likely to develop a nicotine use disorder
  • Two times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder
  • Two times more likely to develop a cocaine use disorder
  • 5 times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder

 

Research shows that those with ADHD may have lower levels of dopamine — the brain chemical responsible for reward-seeking behavior — and turn to substance abuse or other dopamine-releasing behaviors as a result.

 

Despite the increased risks, those with co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders are not doomed to struggle with addiction their entire lives. Many rehab centers offer specialized programs for co-occurring disorders that focus on treating the separate disorders concurrently, giving patients a realistic chance of reaching recovery and living a healthy life.

Treatment for Co-Occurring ADHD and Substance Use Disorder

 

Treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders is most effective when the disorders are treated simultaneously. Addressing them at the same time is preferred to treating them one at a time, which was the generally held practice in the past.
Medication is the most common form of treatment for ADHD, and with proper use, it can greatly benefit those with co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders. Stimulant and nonstimulant medications can be effective in treating individuals with ADHD with or without a co-occurring substance use disorder. The most common types of medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants.

Stimulant Medications

A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital examining the results of six long-term studies found that stimulant treatment for ADHD during youth leads to reduced risk of developing a substance use disorder during adolescence and adulthood.

 

The two most common stimulants used to treat ADHD are methylphenidate and analogs of amphetamine.

 

Amphetamine medications activate the reward pathway and trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, bringing balance to dopamine levels among those with ADHD. This can help alleviate drug cravings.

 

According to researchers at Columbia University, clinical trials of Ritalin (methylphenidate) have also been effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD and substance use disorder when combined with relapse prevention therapy. The drug has a relatively low risk of abuse under proper medical supervision.

 

Methylphenidate has been used for decades to treat ADHD and has shown to be effective for children and adults. Uncontrolled trials of methylphenidate have shown to have a positive impact in reducing symptoms of ADHD and cocaine use disorders, according to researchers at Columbia University.

 

Nonstimulant Medications

 

Some nonstimulant medications can be used to treat ADHD and may present an alternative to stimulants. While stimulants have a higher abuse potential, nonstimulants are often seen as a less effective treatment option.

 

Atomoxetine is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that can be used to treat ADHD. It affects those with ADHD similarly to stimulants, but in a more gradual manner. With no known abuse potential, atomoxetine is an attractive alternative to stimulant medications.
Tricyclic antidepressants have also been used to treat ADHD. However, they are generally less effective than stimulants in treating ADHD.

Problems with Medication Treatment

 

Research from Massachusetts General Hospital shows medications that are effective in treating adult ADHD may be effective for adults with ADHD and co-occurring substance use disorders, but the medical benefits of the medications are hindered if an individual is actively abusing substances.

 

Challenges of treating patients with a substance use disorder include:

 

  • Patients may not take medications reliably.
  • Patients may require higher doses in order for a medication to be effective.
  • The presence of other substances in a patient’s system may make the therapeutic effects of a medication less effective.

Individuals actively engaging in substance abuse are more difficult to treat with medication, with or without a co-occurring disorder.

 

Alcohol and ADHD Medications

 

ADHD medications are associated with high risks when used concurrently with alcohol. Adderall is a medication of particular concern because it is commonly abused by college students who participate in binge drinking culture at parties, bars and nightclubs.

Individuals who abuse Adderall and alcohol together find that the depressant alcohol effects are lessened by the stimulant properties of Adderall, allowing them to drink more for longer periods of time.

Abuse of Adderall or other ADHD medications while drinking may cause people to consume hazardous amounts of alcohol. ADHD medications that block the depressant effects of alcohol may cause individuals to ignore signals from their bodies that they have had enough to drink, which can lead to dangerous health concerns such as alcohol poisoning.

It is crucial for people to consult their doctor about alcohol use while taking any type of ADHD medication.

 

About the Author: Trey Dyer is a writer for DrugRehab.com. Trey is passionate about breaking the stigma associated with drug addiction in the United States. When Trey is not writing, he can be found fly fishing, playing soccer or cooking BBQ.

 

Sources:

 

Adler, L. et al. (2005, March). Long-term, open-label study of the safety and efficacy of atomoxetine in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: an interim analysis. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15766294

Columbia University. (n.d.). Adderall: Health risks when combined with alcohol? Retrieved from http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/adderall-health-risks-when-combined-alcohol

Levin, F. et al. (1998, June). Methylphenidate treatment for cocaine abusers with adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a pilot study. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9671342

Mariani, J. & Levin, F. (2007). Treatment Strategies for Co-Occurring ADHD and Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676785/

Michelson, D. et al. (2003, January 15). Atomoxetine in adults with ADHD: two randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12547466

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrcomorbidity.pdf\

Somoza, E. (2004). An open-label pilot study of methylphenidate in the treatment of cocaine dependent patients with adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15077842

Sottile, L. (2015, October 20). The Disturbing Relationship Between Addiction and ADHD. Retrieved from http://www.vice.com/read/the-disturbing-relationship-between-addiction-and-adhd-511

Wilens, T. et al. (2003, January). Does stimulant therapy of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder beget later substance abuse? A meta-analytic review of the literature. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509574

 

“Image courtesy of stock photos/FreeDigtalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

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