Archives for September 2013

How to Treat ADHD

ADHD can’t be cured, but it can be successfully managed. You can take charge of managing your ADHD using this multi-prong process (which sounds more complex than it actually is)! The 4 prongs are:
How to Treat ADHD
– Medical treatment
– Natural treatment
– Life Skills
– Psychological well-being

Medical treatment

This could mean ADHD meds; if they are something you have chosen to take. It also means treating other conditions that you might have; from thyroid problems, depression to sleeping disorders. Not only does this help you live a long and healthy life, it also helps your ADHD. Even conditions that seem completely unrelated, can negatively affect your ADHD.

Natural treatment

Treating your ADHD naturally includes all the Untapped Brilliance steps, such as taking an Omega 3 supplement, eat a healthy ADHD diet, meditation, daily exercise and getting a good night’s sleep. These all help reduce the negative effects of ADHD by increasing dopamine levels in your brain.

Life Skills

You have heard the phrase ‘Pills don’t teach skills’. No matter how successfully you are implementing the first 2 prongs, now it’s time to develop life skills such as time management and organizing skills. When learning these skills, take baby steps; you can’t change a lifetime of habits overnight.
Traditional strategies to these problems don’t always work for ADHDers, so don’t feel bad if advice from well-meaning Non-ADDers don’t work. Instead, notice what works for you and continue to do that.

Psychological well-being

This is paramount to success. For example, self-esteem is often lower in people with ADHD than their non-ADHD peers, through years of trying to conform to a world whose brains work differently to yours. When you are in a good head space, it’s easier to implement the actions involved in the other prongs. There is no shame in reaching out for help from a good psychologist.

When managing your ADHD using these prongs, you will look and feel better than you have done in years!

Cod Liver Oil vs. Omega 3 Fish Oil, Which Is Best When You Have ADHD

Omega 3 Fish OilWhen I suggest someone with ADHD take Omega 3, a common response is, ‘That’s fish oil right? Can I take cod liver oil instead?’

My standard reply is, ‘You could, but it’s not as good’.

Here’s why.

Cod liver oil

As its name suggests, cod liver oil is taken from the livers of cod fish. The collected liver oil is high in vitamins A and D. This oil has a lower concentration of Omega 3 than in Omega 3 fish oil.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega 3 is fish oil is taken from the flesh of oily fish like mackerel, herring and salmon. Because the oil comes from the flesh, not the liver, they have 3 times the amount of DHA and EPA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the long chain omega-3 that have the important health benefits. Vitamin A and D are not found in this oil.

You’ve probably heard horror stories from your Grandma about how she was made to take cod liver oil on a spoon when she was young. Even though that doesn’t sound pleasant cod liver oil is not really bad. In fact, if nothing else was available, it would make a good plan B. However, as an adult with ADHD, increasing the amount of EPA and DHA is a great way to help your ADHD. They improve your memory, focus, concentration and happiness levels, which is why Omega 3 fish oil should always be your first choice.

Also because cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D, and large amounts of vitamin A can be toxic, it is not safe to take large amounts of cod liver oil.

The ADHD Breakfast

The ADHD BreakfastI know you have heard of it before, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day when you have ADHD. It’s vital that the first meal of the day has some good quality protein in it as that is the best fuel available for your ADHD brain to be able to function at its best all day long.

It’s easier to implement advice when know the reasons behind it, particular if it’s advice that you have heard of a million times. So here is what happens behind the scenes.

To protect our brains from bacterial infections and other nasties, there is a barrier called the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is very strict in what it allows to pass from the cells of the rest of our bodies into the brain area. It’s like the VIP area in a club.

When you eat protein, it is turned into amino acids and that, in turn, is made into neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that allow you to focus and concentrate, feel sleepy or be motivated.

Amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine use the same pathway to cross the blood-brain barrier; but there is a ‘first-come, first-served’ rule because they can’t both use the pathway at the same time.

A high-carb meal increases the tryptophan levels and so, serotonin is produced. The result is, you feel sleepy; so eating this type of meal is good in the evenings. In contrast, a meal with protein increases tyrosine levels, so norepinephrine and dopamine are produced. Consequently, you feel alert, energized and ready to focus; so this type of meal is good in the morning.

The reason why breakfast in particular is so good is that we have been fasting for 8 or so hours, and our brain hasn’t received any nutrients during that time. So it’s particularly responsive to that first meal.

If you don’t like typical breakfast foods: eggs, protein powder, etc., make a mental shift and see it as a meal with no rules. This gives you permission to eat any healthy protein, such as chicken left-overs or a tin of tuna…

If you don’t usually have time to eat breakfast, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. You will have a more productive day by eating breakfast than having those 15 minutes to sleep.

Experiment with your breakfasts and find which foods allow you to function best.

What’s your favorite breakfast? leave a note for me in the comments section!



PS. The photo with this article is one of my favorite protein-rich breakfasts: Scrambled eggs with a little bacon and a lot of mushrooms, red peppers and tomatoes.