Archives for April 2010

Is ADHD becoming more wide spread?

There is a lot of skepticism about ADHD (almost always among those that don’t have it). There is both skepticism that it is being over-diagnosed, or that it’s a modern illness that drug companies have created.

The truth is that there is historical evidence of what we now refer to as ADHD as far back as 93 BC. The Greek physician and scientist Hippocrates described a condition featuring ‘quickened responses to sensory experience, but also less tenaciousness because the soul moves on quickly to the next impression’.

In his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Mental Derangement which he wrote in 1798, Sir Alexander Crichton refers to hyperactivity as “mental restlessness”.

In 1902 the British doctor (whose name is ironically) Dr. Still, made reference to cases of impulsiveness.

So it isn’t that ADHD is ‘new’ or ‘modern’. It’s that much more is known about ADHD now than ever before and everyone that has ADHD or is close to someone with ADHD knows this is a very good thing.

My First Radio Show!

my-first-radio-showToday I hosted my first radio show!!! The song that kept playing in my head when I woke up this morning was, “Video Killed the Radiostar’ by Buggles: a song that my sister and I played millions of times when we were very young as it was one of the first vinyls we owned. 
 
I declared the show a personal success after receiving 3 phone calls and many emails saying ‘Congrats’ and ‘thanks for the great information’ within minutes of its end. I also received this wonderful tweet.
 
@jojojo09 “You have a new fan and you have hardly started speaking. I am fighting tears. Hearing u speak validates me”
 
I couldn’t ask for better feedback.
 
The show, which I named “Untapped Brilliance”, after my book ‘Untapped Brilliance how to reach your full potential as an Adult with ADHD is an extension of my coaching philosophy. As an adult with  ADHD you have many wonderful traits. However, you tend to forget those great traits as you spend most of your time focusing on the things that aren’t working in your life.  If, however, you can shift your focus to what is working in your life and  learn a few tricks and techniques to minimize the negative effects of your ADHD, you will just shine! And have a more joyful life.
 
The show is going  to be a wonderful combination of information from me about non-pharmaceutical ways to manage your ADHD and special guests talking about their expertise on topics that are known to help ADHD. For example, meditation is really beneficial in reducing  the negative effects of ADHD. It’s also a difficult technique to learn. So next week I will be interviewing Bonnie Hutchinson, meditation expert, and she will be teaching everyone how to meditate.
Also being interviewed will be successful ADHDers, who have created a life that works to their strengths, to act as inspiration. Finally, every week  myself and any guests will be able to answer questions from listeners either directly on the phone, or via email. Today Anne from Iowa asked the great question “Should I get tested if I think I have ADHD?” If you missed the answer or any part of my first show, you can listen to the recording at http://tobtr.com/s/1020033.
And if you have a question for the next show, please email it to me at Jacqueline@untappedbrilliance.com.
 
P.S. If you want a blast from the past,  listen to “Video Killed the Radiostar’ by Buggles on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwuy4hHO3YQ

Should I Get Tested For ADHD?

Should I Get Tested For ADHD?Are you wondering if to get tested for ADHD when you are an adult? Some people are hesitant to get an official diagnosis for ADHD. They wonder if there is any point spending time and money on getting a test now they are adults.
Getting an official diagnosis can be empowering. It explains why you are the way you are; why aspects of life are more challenging for you than other people. It can increase your self-esteem and confidence, because now, you know your struggles aren’t because you are lazy or careless, but because you have a real, neurological differences in your brain.

There are also some darker emotions that surface as you think of having this new ‘official’ information about yourself:  Anger and sadness that your life could have been different if you had known sooner.  Sometimes, it’s the thought of those emotions that prevent people from getting diagnosed.

If you are wondering if to get tested for ADHD, here are some points to consider:

Yes get tested!

Burning desire to know
If you have a burning desire to know if you have ADHD, making the decision to get tested is an easy yes. When you know for sure if you have ADHD, you gain clarity, have “a-ha” moments, and feel validated. You can also start treating your ADHD.

You are a student
If you are a student and you think you have ADHD, then absolutely get tested. No matter what your age, 18 or 64, being a student when you have ADHD, is challenging. By getting an official diagnosis for ADHD, you are eligible for student accommodations, such as extra time with exams, sitting exams in a quiet room, help with note taking, etc. These accommodations are only available when you have an up-to-date ADHD diagnosis. They are very helpful in making sure you get the grades you are capable of.

On the fence?

If you are on the fence and can’t decide if you should get tested or not, it means you haven’t got enough information at the moment to make your decision. Here are some common concerns people have when they aren’t sure if to get tested for ADHD.

  1. I don’t want to take ADHD Meds There is an assumption that if you are officially diagnosed with ADHD you will automatically have to take ADHD medication. It’s not true!. Getting a diagnosed and taking medication are 2 separate things. When you know that you have ADHD, taking medication one option in a broad spectrum of treatments.  Head here to learn about the 4 prongs to treat ADHD.
    Remember, you are always in control.
  2. My spouse / parents don’t think ADHD exists The topic of ADHD triggers a lot of people. Even people who know very little on the matter have strong opinions about it! If you bring up the topic of getting tested for ADHD, people close to you might say things like:“You managed this long without knowing, why do you want to know now?
    “I don’t believe ADHD exists.
    “Well, it doesn’t change your daytoday reality.
    By moving ahead and getting tested, it can feel like you are rocking the boat, and upsetting these relationships. Still, getting tested is a personal decision and one only you can make for yourself. It might mean being brave and doing things that other people don’t agree with, maybe for first time in your life.
  3. What if I don’t have ADHD? Before I decided to get tested for dyslexia, this was one of my concerns. I was worried that I would have made a fuss about nothing and wasted peoples’ time (even though I was paying them). Self-doubt creeps up in many ways, so it could be how you are trying to stop yourself from doing something that feels scary.

For ADHD, there are screening quizzes that help you know (or rule out) if you might have ADHD. Here are the links to 3:

http://psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm

http://totallyadd.com/do-i-have-add/

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1041.html

It’s ok to be wrong! I know a few people who felt they had ADHD. Their behaviour to an outsider looked like they had ADHD.  However, after they went through the ADHD testing process, the results show they had unusual learning disability; not ADHD. This would never have been picked up if they hadn’t been tested for ADHD. Plus, the treatment plan is different. So, even though the results came back negative for ADHD, the testing gave them extremely valuable life changing information.
Another reason people shy away from getting diagnosed is that knowing they might have ADHD gives them hope. They always felt different somehow, and found life a struggle. The only explanation for these differences seemed to be that they were ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’, etc.When they heard about ADHD, light bulbs went off. “Yes! That is it!” They feel full of hope.  The thought of an official diagnosis being negative is crushing because, then what? Does it mean they are lazy, etc. after all?

Absolutely not. If the diagnosis is negative (and we don’t know it will be,) it just means you are one step closer to solving the mystery of what you do have. There is a leap of faith involved and only you can decide if you want to take it. However, I don’t know anyone who has regretted being tested for ADHD.

If You Decide No

If you decide not to get tested at the moment, you can change your mind at any time. It’s not a permanent decision. You can re-evaluate at any time. In a week’s time, or 5 years of time, etc. – It’s totally up to you!

 

Have you been tested for ADHD? Leave a message in the comment below!

 

ADHD and Nutrition

 

adhd-and-nutritionADHD and nutrition is a hot topic. Eating the right food is key in helping to minimize the negative effects of ADHD. Yet getting the right nutrients is problematic for people with ADHD. Very often they are slim or even skinny (but not necessarily healthy) or they are overweight.

One of the reasons for being slim or skinny is often connected to ADHD medication. Ritalin, Adderall and other stimulant medication suppress the appetite. While the medication is in effect you don’t feel hungry, but are famished once the medication has worn off. The overall effect  is that you are eating less calories than you would otherwise and so lose weight, or find it hard to gain weight. Another reason for being skinny is that ensuring you always have food around takes a lot of brain work and effort. You have to plan meals ahead of time, go grocery shopping and finally prepare the food. All of these steps require planning and organization and when there are dozens of other things going on, food takes a back seat. This can result in you not getting enough nutrients.

If you have ADHD and are overweight it could be because it’s time consuming to have meals at home so eating in restaurants is the easier option.  In order to make their food tasty, restaurant kitchens use much more fat, salt and sugar than you would at home. So it’s easy to understand why you could be heavier than you would like. People with ADHD are also likely to eat impulsively and not because they are hungry.

Living with ADHD is stressful and one way to combat stress is to comfort eat.  People rarely comfort eat with celery sticks or baby carrots!

ADHD and nutrition doesn’t have to be a battle ground here are some things you can do.

1) Do not feel guilty or bad about yourself whichever group you fall into.
2) Start to make small and easy changes to your diet. For example, start with one piece of fruit a day. Then, when that is second nature make another small change
3) Do 30 minutes of exercise every day. Besides being great for your ADHD brain, when you exercise, your body craves healthy food, making it much easier for you to make healthier food choices.
4) If you go to a restaurant, make a healthy choice, it’s much easier to order a large mix salad than having to shop, then chop it yourself.
5) If you are taking ADHD medication having breakfast and then taking your tablet has been found to be helpful in fending off weight loss.

Your Body, Self Esteem and ADHD

How you take care of yourself and your body is very telling of your self-esteem. If you abuse your body in any way, with food, drink or drugs that is an indication of low self-esteem. This is where the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ is perfect. You don’t have to wait until your self-esteem is higher to stop abusing your body. Start to treat it beautifully now and your esteem will rise. Nourish your body with healthy yummy food; give yourself permission to buy the strawberries, even if it isn’t a special occasion. A glass or wine with dinner or a cold beer on a hot day is great, but everything in moderation. It’s easy to wash down the stresses of the day with large qualities of alcohol but it’s not a good way to appreciate your body. If you take drugs to feel ‘normal’ there are lots of others ways to do that than to harm your body in this way.

A great way to appreciate your body is to find an exercise that you love to do and then do it every day. Not only will you start to feel healthier and notice physical changes in your body when you exercise your body naturally craves healthy foods and water and so it makes moving away from the unhealthy substances much easier.

Start to take care of your body today and notice how much better feel about yourself inside and out.