Archives for December 2009

Getting Sick Can Be Frustrating

It’s flu session. Getting sick is never any fun, and as an adult with ADHD getting sick can be frustrating as your mind continues to work as fast as ever, yet your body isn’t as physically strong as usual and you don’t have your usual energy to keep up.

If you are really sick, then you have no choice but to lie in bed and sleep and watch movies. However for the days when you are ‘sort of sick’ but by no means yourself here are some tips.

1)    Clear your schedule. Don’t feel you are letting people down. No one minds when you have to cancel a plan because you are not feeling well. Plus the people in your life don’t want to catch your germs and possibly get sick themselves.

2)    Sleep. Its not an old wives tale, you really do heal when you sleep. Get as much sleep as your body needs. Don’t feel guilty or lazy… just sleep. You will recover much faster if you do.

3)    Hydrate. Increase the amount of fluid you drink when you are sick. Drink water, hot or cold, herbal tea (Echinacea is great), juice, anything that will hydrate you will help. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because among other things it dehydrates you.

4)    Food. Listen to your body regarding both the timing of your meals and what the meal consists of. Don’t eat just because its lunchtime. Eat when you are hungry and something that appeals to you. Be sure to eat non processed food, so that you get the maximum about of  vitamins possible.

5 a)  To do’s. When your body is not as strong as usual, you can’t get as much done as you would usually and that can be stressful. Write a list of everything that needs to be done. Just the act of downloading it onto paper is very helpful.

b) Then when you have energy look at the list and pick something from it. Once you have completed the task and you find you have more energy select something else from the list. If not simply relax till you do.

6)    Avoid overwhelm. By staying focused on what you are doing at any given moment. If you are walking to the health food store to buy a few things to make you feel better, don’t start thinking about what needs to be done next. The next task might seem very daunting in your mind however when you are actually doing it will be fine. Simply focus on the task in hand.

7)    Don’t worry. When you are physically ill, it effects how you think and feel on an emotional level too.  Rather like problems seeming much worse in the middle of the night. If you find yourself worrying, remind yourself that you aren’t well and you will pay the problem some mental attention when you are feeling better.

Herbal ADHD Treatment

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“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission.” – Mourning Dove

The term “herb” simply means a plant that is used medicinally. For centuries, herbs were used for their medicinal properties to soothe and heal illness and disease. Their use in the western world diminished towards the end of the 17th century when pharmacology and chemistry knowledge developed. However, in the last few decades there has been a resurgence of interest in herbs and their healing properties again.

Some people are very skeptical of using herbs and other methods of complementary therapy. If this is you, that’s ok! There are lots of excellent ways besides herbs to help you and your ADHD. However, if you are interested in herbs then this is a good starting place.

Herbs can be taken in the form of a tincture, in capsules and essential oils or drunk as a tea (my personal favourite.) Below is a selection of herbs that can help your ADHD.

Herbs that stimulate and aid cognitive functioning:

Ginkgo

Stimulates blood circulation, particularly cerebral circulation, and increases concentration, focus and aids memory. Note: It can take up to three months before seeing effects, and shouldn’t be taken with Ritalin or other ADHD medication.

Rosemary

Improves and stimulates memory. In Greece, students burn this herb in their rooms during exam time. Note: Not recommended for people who have hypertension. Ask a naturopath or an aroma therapist before using rosemary essential oils.

Bacopa

Stimulates intellectual activity such as focus, concentration, memory and mental endurance.

Syberian ginseng

Stimulates the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for functions such as memory, attention, perceptual awareness, etc. As a bonus, it protects your immune system.

American ginseng

Often used in combination with gingko to improve the symptoms of ADHD. American ginseng is found in the form of capsules or in soups and teas. Like other ginsengs, it protects your immune system. Note: Not to be taken for more than six weeks straight.

Herbs that help you to relax and reduce anxiety and stress:

Chamomile

Soothes the central nervous system and can reduce nervous tension, irritability and emotional stress responses. Note: this plant stimulates perspiration.

Passionflower

Helps with insomnia (take two cups maximum before bedtime), acts as sedative for anxiety, aids stress and nervousness.

Herbs that do both!

Gotu Cola or Gotu Kola

Improves concentration, revitalizes and strengthens the memory and nervous functions and is an anti-anxiety and anti stress agent.

Lemon Balm

Supports mental performance, attention span, accuracy and memory. Relieves restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and mild mood changes. For anxiety it’s best to take it in form of tincture.

A word of warning:

Before you dash to your nearest health food store, a word of warning: Because herbs are “natural,” our brains equate that with “safe.” However, herbs need to be used with the care and respect we give pharmaceutical drugs. Remember, Morphine is “natural.” It comes from poppy seeds, yet it’s a highly addictive controlled drug. Like pharmaceutical drugs, herbs can have undesirable side-effects. However, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbal ADHD treatments are not standardized in terms of purity and dosage.

Herbal medication can interact with prescribed medication. Medical doctors may not be knowledgeable on the use of herbs, but your pharmacist is great resource to find out about any potentially dangerous interactions.

However, the most effective and safest way to use herbal ADHD treatments is to work with a good naturopath or herbalist in your area.

Bottom line, if herbal ADHD treatments interest you, they can be very effective. But you do need to practice caution as you would with any drug.