Archives for January 2015

ADHD and SAD

ADHD and Seasonal Affective DisorderThe winter of 2013/14 was a particularly

brutal winter here in Montreal. The cold weather started earlier than usual and went on and on. It seemed to be a never ending winter. That year, I had an unprecedented amount of clients suffering with depression. I had already had a sneaky suspicion that adults with ADHD were more prone to get SAD than the non-ADHD population, and a little bit of research backed up my hunch.

You are more likely to experience SAD if you have ADHD.

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a form of depression. It is triggered by the reduction of sunlight and colder temperatures that come with the change of seasons. These environmental changes spark a change in your circadian rhythm. When it’s dark, the sleep related hormone, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin can also cause depressive symptoms. With the shorter days and longer nights of winter, more melatonin is produced.

If you have SAD, there are things you can do to help. The bonus is that many of them help with your ADHD too!

1.Take Omega 3 Supplements

Ok, now you probably think I am obsessed with these! but omega 3 helps keep good levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain. Not only do those neurotransmitters help you to focus, concentrate, increase your memory, etc., they also keep you feeling happy and depression symptoms at bay.

2. Take a Vitamin D Supplement

There is a connection between low vitamin D levels and SAD. You can get your Vitamin D levels checked with your doctor.

3. Get a Light Box

Using a light box every day for 30 minutes is very helpful as the light curbs the release of melatonin. Do a quick google search to find a supplier in your area. Don’t wait until you start to feel depressed to use it. Start as soon as the evenings start to lengthen in the early fall.

4. Exercise

Stress and anxiety both make depression worse. The good news is that exercise helps reduce both! Exercise also helps your ADHD, so even if you don’t feel like moving, you will feel so much better afterwards.

5. Go Outdoors

Even though it’s cold, still go outside (without your shades) for 10 minutes or more a day. The daylight helps regulate your circadian rhythm and increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. You could even combine your exercise time with outdoors time.

6. Eat a Clean Diet

One of the symptoms of SAD is eating more starches and sugar than usually. It is a way to self-medicate. When you eat carbs, you get an increase in dopamine and you feel better. However, the feeling good is short lived and can often lead to weight gain and fatigue; which makes you feel worse. Instead, eat a clean, healthy ADHD-friendly diet with a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein.

7. Sleep

Depression plays havoc on your sleep cycle. You can find yourself barely sleeping or sleeping way too much. If you need help with your sleep, check out  ‘Sleep Solutions

8. See a Therapist

Talk therapy is always a great way to proactively manage your stress and anxiety. To find a therapist in your area, visit: http://therapists.psychologytoday.com

9. Anti-Depressant Medications

Visit your doctor and discuss your symptoms with them. Anti-depressants might be part of your treatment plan. The Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) group are known to be especially effective for SAD.

10. Don’t drink

Drinking alcohol can feel good in the moment, but like eating starch and sugar, the good feelings are only temporary. Also, hangovers from drinking increases anxiety and depression.

Do you have SAD? What have you found helpful?

 

 

 

 

How to Lose Weight and Exercise When You Have ADHD

How to Lose Weight and Exercise When You Have ADHDDo you know what the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are?

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Be a better person
  4. Improve health

If you lose weight and exercise, then improving health practically takes care of itself! So today’s article is focusing on weight loss and exercise when you have ADHD.

(If you would like to be a better person, head here http://budurl.com/tqtb )

ADHDers do have some unique challenges regarding weight.

For example:

  • ADHDers gain weight more easily than someone without ADHD
  • It is harder for them to lose weight
  • Adults with ADHD are more likely to be overweight or obese than the rest of the population

ADHD affects the executive functioning of the brain. The executive function involves self-regulation, planning, organizing, prioritizing and awareness of the future. In relation to your eating habits, this affects what you eat, where you eat and how much you eat.

But don’t let that depress you. I know a lot of adults with ADHD who have successfully lost weight and maintained that weight loss.

Exercise not only helps the longevity of your body, but it helps reduce some of the negative effects of ADHD too. For example, exercise improves your attention, mental focus, memory, mental stamina, and allows you to expend pent up energy.  Unfortunately, exercise is one of those activities that can get put off until your life is… more organized, less crazy or your version of that.

Here are some resources to help you with your New Year Goals:

ADHD and Weight

If you have tried to lose weight in the past and have been disappointed, don’t give up.  In this article, I explain why losing weight is challenging when you have ADHD and what you can do about it. Also, there are 2 great comments from Untapped Brilliance readers, Val and Rick who share what they did to lose weight.

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-and-weight

ADHD and Exercise

Dr. Hallowell says, “Exercise stimulates epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, like meds. So exercising is like taking meds for ADHD in a holistic, natural way”.

That is a compelling reason to exercise, isn’t it

http://untappedbrilliance.com/exercise-and-adhd

Book Recommendations

Books are a great way to learn information that motivate you to continue you with your goals. If you don’t like to read, you can get the audio version.

Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace by Martha Beck

Anything Martha Beck writes is gold. This book is filled with humour, brain study research and suggestions that work for the ADHDer. For example, Martha believes willpower is NOT an effective tool for weight-loss!
This book will change your life and your waistline.

Four Day Win.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain

In this book, Dr. Ratey explores the fascinating connection between the mind and body and the importance of exercise on the mind.

If you need additional motivation to exercise, this is it!

Spark

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a powerful tool you can use to help your subconscious get in line with your conscious goals. This is the website I recommend to everyone.

http://budurl.com/w77u

They have hypnosis for almost every problem you could think of.

Here are the links to weight loss

http://budurl.com/u392

and exercise

http://budurl.com/f6vn

Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate, so if you buy using the link, I do get a commission. However, I only recommend products I believe in, love and use regularly myself.

ADHD Diet

Danielle Walkers Against All GrainThe best diet when you have ADHD is one that is:
– Gluten-free
– Sugar-free
– Full of vegetables

This is a great cookbook, full of easy and quick recipes to make.

Against All Grain

Meal Planning

One of the biggest problems ADHDers have when trying to eat healthy, is meal planning. Meal planning can be a logistical nightmare! This is because it involves all the things that can be difficult when you have ADHD; like making decisions, paying attention to details and forward planning.

In this short video, I share ways to take the pain out of meal planning. Also, there is a downloadable print out to help you.

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-meal-plan

The New Year is a great time to make improvements to your life. However, New Year Resolutions don’t have a good success rate. Instead, turn your resolutions into goals. Goals are specific and measurable. Rather than say ‘exercise more’ what exercise will you do? How often? How long for?

Next, get your agenda out and schedule in the times now!

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-goals-for-the-new-year

 

Good Luck!! What are your Goals for 2015?