Archives for June 2013

ADHD and OCD

ADHD and OCDPeople with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an anxiety disorder that results in obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These thoughts and behaviours are experienced to such an extent that they get in the way of daily living.

People with OCD usually belong to one of these groups:

Checkers who continually check things associated with possible danger. They check for things such as: if the door is locked or if the stove is switched off.

Hoarders and collectors who keep unnecessary items. They don’t throw things away as they fear something bad will happen if they do.

Washers who are fearful of contamination. They have obsessions with cleaning or hand-washing.

Counters, arrangers / orderers who need symmetry and exactness. They might perform rituals and counting or seem superstitions about certain numbers and colors.

Sinners who fear if everything isn’t just so, they will be punished.

People with OCD often have ‘magical thinking’. They think if everything is perfect, nothing bad will happen. They perform their ritual; it offers a moment of mental peace before the obsessive thoughts start again.

Do you have ADHD, OCD or both?

ADHD and OCD might look alike. Both are highly genetic and result in reduced attention, poor memory and impulse control.

ADDers might also display behaviours that, on the surface, look like OCD. However, they have developed these behaviours to help themselves to function in the world, instead of the constant obsessive thoughts that drive a person with OCD.

For example, someone with ADHD might run round their home checking the windows and doors are shut and locked before they leave. Habits like these aid poor memory (which ADDers are prone to) and have been developed to avoid any unpleasant surprises.  In contrast, someone with OCD is probably already certain that everything is secure, but he /she would be checking due to an obsessive urge.

ADHDers who keep an organized environment do so because it gives them a sense of emotional peace. They know they feel more focused, less scattered in a space as such. It’s a way for them to control the negative effects of ADHD rather than an obsession.

Finally, ADDers often do have a lot of clutter; but rather than being hoarders, it’s because decluttering is boring and involves attention to detail to keep clutter at bay.

Another big difference between ADHD and OCD is chemical. ADHD is in part due to low dopamine levels in the brain and OCD is due in part to low serotonin in the brain.

The medications prescribed for the 2 conditions are different too. Stimulant meds like Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD, aren’t effective for OCD and SSRI anti-depressant meds aren’t usually helpful for ADDers.

While ADHD and OCD are very different, many people do have both ADHD and OCD. In fact, if you have ADHD, you have a higher percentage of also having OCD than someone with ADD.

Remember, if you have either OCD or ADHD or both: Don’t panic! Both can be treated and managed.

 

Do you have OCD and ADHD? What have you found most helpful in managing these conditions? Leave me a note comments section.

 

 

ADHD and Motivation

Dr. Russell Barkley says that ADHD is more about loss of interest and motivation than attention and concentration. This makes sense, as we know ADHDers can pay attention for hours  on tasks they love.

Motivation is a characteristic that makes us want to ‘do’ an activity. Unfortunately, there is lotsof moral judgement about motivation and people think lack of motivation is a sign of laziness or not caring. The good news is that in recent years studies have found evidence that motivation is more about brain chemistry, than will power. It has been found that motivation problems in people with ADHD are due to lower levels of dopamine in their brains. The larger the disruption of the dopamine pathway, the greater the ADHD symptoms and the lower the  levels of motivation.

Now that you are armed with this knowledge what can you do?

make things happen adhd1) Take good care of yourself the Untapped Brilliance way. This means, taking Omega 3 supplements, eating an ADHD friendly diet, getting enough sleep, exercising and meditating. All these activities increase the dopamine. If you need help incorporating these into your life check out Untapped Brilliance book.

2) What do you love to do? What are you highly motivated to do? When you know what those activities they are, make some changes in your life so you spend more time doing the activities you are motivated to do. Your life will become more productive and enjoyable.

3) Get creative with the activities you have to do, but don’t enjoy. Use your timer, as that creates a challenge and a sense of urgency. Set up a reward system that motivates you. For example, put one dollar in a jar every time you do X. Apply it to something that does interest you. Michael Phelps’ (Olympic Swimming Champion) Mom did this for her son. Michael hated math, but loved swimming. So she customized his math problems ‘If you swim one meter per second, how long would it take to swim 800 meters?’

When you make these changes in your life, you will definitely notice a new level of productivity and purpose in your life.

How to Save Time When You Have ADHD

how to save time when you have addDo you feel like you never have enough time? Do you start the day with great intentions and a long to do list, but by the end of the day, nothing is crossed off?

If you are constantly busy, but don’t have anything to show for it, you are not alone. Many people with ADHD feel like this. It’s frustrating and demoralizing. However, life doesn’t have to be like this.

The first step to any problem is awareness. For 3 days, write down how you are spending your time. Do it in 30 minute chunks. Start with the time you wake up, through lunch, all the way till bed time. Once it’s written down you have a clear visual of your days. Even though this may seem a lot of effort, don’t skip this step. What we actually do, compared to what we think we do is usually very different.

Next look for time sabotagers. There might be big chunks of time wasting activities, like Facebook or playing solitaire. If this is you, it’s easy to pinpoint time drains.

For everyone else, your time drains are probably more subtle with a few minutes here and there. Perhaps you left your lunch in the fridge at home and went back to get it. You spent longer than you need on each phone call. You have quick chats throughout the day with co-workers. Each one of the activities seems harmless, but added up can lead to hours of wasted time.

Now, that you have identified how your time is spent and you have identified the drains, it’s time to fix them. Tackle on issue at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are some suggestions to help you with your time drains:

1) If you are constantly forgetting things, create checklists to help you remember what items you need.

2) If you are doing the same time consuming actions every day, see if you can chunk them together. For example, do one weekly food shop, rather than going every day after work.

3) If you are always say ‘yes’ when people ask you to do something, start getting comfortable saying ‘no’. Sounds brutal, however ADDers are helpful people and are quick to say yes to things and then end up overwhelmed.

4) If you are a multi-tasker. Stop! It doesn’t work, it lowers your IQ and makes you feel scattered and unfulfilled. Instead, work for short periods on one task, either to completion or to move it forwards a little and then start working on the next task.

5) If you are a talker, brainstorm ways to keep conversations short.

6) If you don’t see suggestions to your problems on the list leave a comment below and I will be able to help you!!!

How To Get Rid Of Your ‘To Do’ List…Forever

How To Get Rid Of Your 'To Do' List...ForeverMy friend and business partner Marcia Hoeck is one of the most productive people I know, yet she never uses a ‘to do’ list. Marcia only discovered she has ADHD a couple of years ago, but that didn’t stop her running a highly successful marketing company for 25 years…and not once did she use a to do list.

I love lists! They make me feel organized and I get a thrill every time I cross an item out, But not everyone feels like this. Some people write lists, have lists of list, but don’t actually take action. This leaves them feeling  anxious, overwhelmed and unproductive.

Is this you? Don’t worry! You can use Marcia’s strategy and never have to write another list ever again.

Marcia replaced lists with ‘time blocking’. When she has something to do, instead of writing on a list with the hope to getting round to doing it someday, she opens her agenda and blocks out the time she will do this task. Sounds simple doesn’t it!

However, even though it seems simple, you will properly feel some resistance to this idea. We are so hard wired to use lists, moving away from them is a big mental leap.

Two other issues to be aware of in order to make time blocking work:

1) You need to commit to doing the task at the time you allocated. This isn’t a punishment, it’s to help you!

2) Be realistic about how long a task takes you.  ADDers tend to think things will take less time than it actually does. If you plan days with unrealistic time slots, you will quickly fall behind, feel bad about yourself and think time blocking doesn’t work.

Your challenge this week is to try time blocking for a day and see how you find it. My guess is you will enjoy the peace of mind it gives you and want to use it all the time!