ADHD and PMS

ADHD and PMSPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is never pleasant, but when you have ADHD, it can strike louder and harder. During the first half of your cycle, you probably feel ‘normal’, clear headed and productive. Then, as your period gets closer, you begin to feel like Mr. Hyde.

Beside the regular physical symptoms of PMS such as:

Acne

Changes in sleep patterns

Dizziness

Fluid retention

Headaches

Hot flashes

Nausea

Zero energy

Your ADHD symptoms can get much worse, and you can find it difficult to: [Read more…]

How to Wake Up When You Have ADHD

How to Wake Up When You Have ADHD

Waking up at a particular time can be very difficult when you have ADHD and it can cause huge problems, such as being late for work, flights, interviews or lectures.

If you have difficulty waking up, don’t just see it as a morning problem; instead, look your sleep habits as a whole. Everything is connected and if you can’t wake up, it could be because:

– You couldn’t make yourself go to bed

– you had problems falling asleep

– the quality of sleep was poor

However, while you are addressing those issues, you still need to wake up in the morning!.

Here are 7 suggestions to help:

1) Have More Than 1 Alarm Clock.

3 seems to be the magic number.  Place 1 by the side of your bed and the others in your room but a walk away from the bed, so you have to get up to switch them off.

2) Don’t Press Snooze!

Pressing snooze just delays the inevitable, and those extra 7 minutes won’t help you feel less tired.

3) Getting Up to Take ADHD Meds

If you take ADHD medication, consider setting one of your alarm clocks 30 minutes to 60 minutes earlier than the time you need to get up. When this alarm clock goes off, take your ADHD medication, then go back to sleep. When the next alarm goes off, your medication is already in your system and it will be easier to wake up.

4) Wake Up and Smell…

Have you heard of the bacon alarm clock where the smell of bacon wakes you up? You might not have been one of the peeps to get the limited edition device for your phone, but waking up to a tempting smell is a great idea to get you moving in the morning.

– Set a coffee maker on a timer and co-ordinate it with your wake up time. Then Voila! You wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

– Cook your breakfast in a slow cooker overnight. This might sound weird, but I tested this recipe out and it was awesome!

http://paleomg.com/blueberry-breakfast-carnitas/

5) Have Something to Motivate You in The Morning.

Dr. Russell Barkley says ADHD is less about attention and more about motivation. What motivates you to get out of bed?

– Your dog?

– Getting something checked off your do to list?

– Eating a favorite breakfast food, or your first cup of coffee?

The trick is to pick something that really motivates you and not something that you would like ‘in theory’ or feel you are supposed to want.

The thing that motivates me first thing in the morning is to answer emails. This isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to do, but it does motivate me. I check my email on my iphone while still lying down in bed. If an email has come in overnight, there is no way I can snooze, I have to get up and answer it.

One of my clients was really struggling to get up to get to work on time. After several conversations, we made the connection between him arriving on time and getting a promotion he really wanted.  He has been on time and even early ever since then.

6) Music

It’s very hard to stay asleep when there is upbeat music playing. Pandora has made waking up to music very easy. Thanks to the alarm clock feature on the app. Check it out here:

http://blog.pandora.com/2013/12/09/wake-up-with-pandora-introducing-the-alarm-clock-on-mobile/

7) Have a Morning Routine.

A morning routine sets the day up for success. In his book, ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod, explains his formula for a successful morning routine and people love it! It’s so compelling that you will be bounding out of bed earlier than you ever thought possible.

8) Get a Novel Alarm Clock.

There are 3 great alarm clocks to help you wake up:

Clocky

Clocky Is an alarm clock on wheels and makes snoozing a thing of the past. If you don’t get up when the alarm goes off, Clocky jumps off your nightstand and hides, all the while making a sound like, (and I quote) “deranged R2D2 hitting a bell”.

http://budurl.com/nfsg

Sonic Bomb

The Sonic Bomb Clock is the answer for everyone who sleeps through their alarm clock. It has an adjustable alarm that you can set to go off so it’s louder than a jackhammer. However, if that wasn’t enough, it comes with a bed shaker! You pop a harmless looking device under your mattress and when it’s time to wake the alarm sounds and your whole bed shakes until you are wide awake and UP!

http://budurl.com/7wf6

A Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock

A Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock has a light that gets brighter and brighter rather like the sun rising, so that you wake up gradually. This is particularly good for people who are grumpy when they are woken up abruptly.

There are many on the market, with all different features to meet your needs. A quick Google search will help you choose yours.

Wishing you a fabulous Good Morning!!!

If you need some extra help with your sleep and waking up, come and join us for the ADHD Sleep Course

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How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

You know the saying, ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel?’ Well it is a good motto to remember as you are going through the steps of getting

an ADHD evaluation.   It can feel like a lot of leg work and emotionally overwhelming at times. However, at the end you will be rewarded with huge clarity.

You will know the following:

*What type of ADHD you have

*Recommendations for the best treatment

*If you have any co-existing conditions with ADHD  (this is very important)

*Or if you don’t have ADHD, you will learn what condition(s)  are causing the ADHD like symptoms.

Since  putting the wheels in motion to get an official diagnosis can seem daunting, you might be tempted to try and self-diagnose with an online quiz. However, there are downsides to this. ADHD can look like many other conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, learning disabilities and much more. It would be easy to misdiagnose yourself with ADHD and not get help for the condition you do have.

In addition, if you self-diagnose, you would not be eligible for accommodations at work or school and neither would you be able to get a prescription for ADHD medication – all of which can be very helpful in managing ADHD symptoms.

Online quizzes can be helpful as a screening process though! Sometimes,  taking an online quiz can give you the confidence you need to speak to your doctor about getting an ADHD evaluation.

A well-recognized tool is the Jasper/Goldberg Adult ADD Questionnaire. If you google it, it is available on many websites.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” published in May 2013 (DSM-5) provides the criteria that all clinicians use when assessing a patient for ADHD.

The criteria differs from previous DSMs as it takes into account that ADHD presents itself differently in adulthood compared to childhood.

The DSM lists 9 inattentive ADHD symptoms  and 9 hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. If, a person who is 17 years or older  experiences 5 or more symptoms from one of the lists, and they meet the following points below, they can be diagnosed with ADHD.

  • The characteristics have been present for 6 months or more
  • The symptoms were present before you were 12 years old
  • The traits affect your life in 2 or more settings (e.g. home and work)
  • The symptoms impact performance so that you are not able to perform to your full potential
  • The symptoms aren’t due to another condition, such as bipolar disorder, sleep disorder or anxiety.

If you meet all of these requirements, you will be diagnosed with one of the 3 presentations of ADHD.

  •  ADHD Predominantly Inattentive presentation
  • ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive Impulsive presentation
  • ADHD Combined presentation

Also, the severity level of your ADHD will have been identified.

  1.  Mild (while still meeting the diagnosis criteria)
  2. Moderate
  3. Severe

How Does the Clinician Reach Their Diagnosis?

They become a detective!  With your help, they gather information about you and your life. This information primarily comes from speaking with you. However, with your permission they might speak with your spouse or a family member or ask them to fill out a questionnaire.

The clinician also  needs to discover how you perform in different areas of life, for example, at work and school, both now and in the past. School report cards from childhood and work evaluations are helpful.

Your medical history including information about your birth or problems that your mom experienced during pregnancy are all relevant. Your family’s medical history is also of interest because the biggest ‘cause’ of ADHD is genetic.

Sometimes a physical condition needs to be ruled out, so you might be asked to have tests to check your thyroid, liver or kidney functions or have a test for epilepsy. Eyesight and hearing tests could be requested too.

The clinician might perform tests in their office to measure your memory, attention and disability levels too.

The diagnosis is often done over a couple of visits so that you are fresh and alert for the appointments and to give you time to get questionnaires completed. In total it approximately 3 hours.

Who Can Evaluate you for ADHD?

Psychiatrists, psychologists and some family doctors can all carry out evaluations.  Finding a professional who has experience testing for adult ADHD  is properly the hardest step in the evaluation process. Once you have found someone that you trust, they will be able to guide you through the rest of the process.

 

ADHD and Famous People

hollywood-sign-1598473_640A few summers ago, I had a conversation with a 9-year-old little boy. He had been diagnosed with ADHD because he was struggling in school. He hated having ADHD. It made him feel different from everyone else, and he didn’t think it was fair that he had to struggle so much with things that all his friends found easy. He was so hurt—I really wanted to help, so I asked him a few questions. He loved sports, and the Summer Olympics was fresh in everyone’s mind, so I told him about Michael Phelps having ADHD.

I had never seen such a rapid change in someone’s mood. This little boy was thrilled. He knew he would be OK. In fact, he knew he was going to be more than OK, because ‘clearly’, having ADHD gave Michael Phelps the winning edge!

We aren’t that much different from that 9-year-old little boy. Even though as adults we try to be cool and pretend that celebrities don’t influence us, they do (we live in a celebrity-centric world)! Famous ADHDers can inspire us with their victories as well as their stories of struggle; Michael Phelps was bullied as a child, and Tarma Mellon went to rehab..

Celebrities can show us that using their gifts (often the ones that non-ADHDers want you to get rid of!) is how they became successful, and their success paves the way so that you know success is possible for you, too.

6 Reasons Why Knowing Famous People Have ADHD is Helpful

1) It normalizes the condition – anyone can have ADHD.

2) It shows that it’s possible to have ADHD and still be successful.

3) Their stories can act as an inspiration for us.

4) It validates us. We realize we aren’t alone with quirks and ‘annoyances’.

5) It gives us confidence to use our ADHD strengths.

6) It gives us HOPE!

Here are 15 Famous People Who Have ADHD.

1) Tom Hanks

Movie star. Tom Hanks has won 2 Oscars for ‘Best Actor’. He credits his success to having ADHD (not in spite of it). He has starred in many brilliant movies including Philadelphia, Bridge of Spies, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Da Vinci Code and Toy Story.

2) Richard Branson

Billionaire and founder of all things Virgin. Richard has achieved success in many areas of life, including business, relationships and humanitarian work. Learn more about the secrets of his success here.

3) Michael Phelps

Swimmer and most decorated Olympian ever! He has a total of 28 Olympic medals – 23 of which are gold medals and has competed in 5 Olympics. Learn about the lessons we can learn from him here.

4) Justin Timberlake

Singer-songwriter, actor, record producer. JT is an all around performer. He can sing, dance and has incredible stage presence. He is funny, genuine and can fill a huge stadium in 6 minutes.

5) Robin Williams

Everyone loved Robin Williams. When he passed away, the sad news affected people all over the world on a deep level. We know he was a talented actor and comedian and after his death, many people shared personal stories of how he touched their lives. He had empathy and sweetness that resonated with us all.

6) Tamara Mellon

Founder of Jimmy Choo’s, the luxury shoe brand. Tamara thought of the idea of creating a shoe brand while she was in rehab. When she shared her idea, people suggested perhaps she could work in a shoe store first. However, like many ADHDers Tamara was a big thinker and created the Jimmy Choo empire. You can read all about her life and adventures in her memoir called ‘In my shoes.’

7) Seth Godin

Author of 18 best selling books including, Tribes, Purple Cow and What to do When It’s Your Turn. He is a thought leader, entrepreneur and writes on his blog every day.

8) John. F. Kennedy

The 35th President of the United States. One of the qualities that people who met him use to  describe him was his vibrant energy.

9) Simone Biles

At just 19 years old, Simone Biles holds the title of being the most decorated American gymnast.

10) Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist. There are no words needed to describe this legend.

11) Michael Jordan

Professional super-star basketball player. Considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, MJ is known for his skill, talent and burning desire to win.

12) Will Smith

Singer and actor. Will has won 4 Grammy awards. He is also a 2 time Oscar nominated actor for his role in ‘Ali,’ a movie about Muhammad Ali, and ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’

13) Salma Hayek

Oscar nominated actress. Salma is also a director and producer and brought Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, to life in the movie Frida.

14) Britney Spears

Pop Icon. Britney is a Grammy award winning singer. She has sold 100 million albums and over 100 million singles, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

15) Ryan Gosling

Oscar nominated Actor, writer, director. Ryan began his career starring in Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club. He has starred in movies  such as The Notebook,  Lars and the Real Girl and The Big Short.

Who is your favorite famous ADHDer?

 

Why do ADHDers Find it Difficult to Have an Organized Space?

Tidying UpLiving in a cluttered, unorganized environment is a common thing when you have ADHD. However, being surrounded by ‘stuff’ can make your ADHD symptoms worse. It is harder to focus and concentrate. It is easier to lose important items like keys and important paperwork, and it can also exacerbate coexisting conditions such as anxiety.

Here are 8 reasons why ADHDers find it hard to have an organized space

1) Distraction

You might start one activity, get distracted and then you start working on a second activity leaving the items from the first activity lying around.

2) Out of Sight, Out of Mind

You don’t like to put belongings away in cupboards because you are scared that you will forget about them.

3) Procrastination

Tidying up is one of those boring mundane tasks that ADHDers hate to do. This means that you keep putting it off for another day.

4) Memory

You keep newspaper articles and other objects as visual reminders of things you want to do and see. Your fear of forgetting means you accumulate lots of items, and they are difficult to keep organized.

5) Collector

ADHDers love to collect things: teapots, baseball caps, pens, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is; I bet you collect at least one thing. These collections can grow large and are tricky to keep organized.

6) Overwhelmed

You feel overwhelmed just looking at your cluttered space, and you feel parallelized, fatigued and can’t take any action.

7) Don’t Know How

You honestly never learned how to be tidy and organized. It’s not an excuse, but being tidy and organized isn’t a skill that you were born with and maybe no one taught you how to do it properly.

8) Decisions, Decisions

Organizing requires many decisions in a short space of time.

Making decisions is hard when you have ADHD. It takes mental effort, and you might second guess your decision or beat yourself up for making the ‘wrong’ decision.

How many of those points resonated with you? Don’t worry if it was all of them!

The opposite of a disorganized cluttered space, is a calm, peaceful one in which you know where your belongings are, and you feel happy to invite an unexpected visitor into your home. How do you create that space? With the help of a brilliant book by Marie Kondo called, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.

The difference between this book and every other book written about organizing is that you ask yourself a different question. Rather than asking ‘what could I throw out’, you ask ‘what do I want to keep’. Marie suggests holding each item and asking “Does this bring me joy?” If it does, then you keep it, and if not, it is time to say goodbye.

It’s simple yet very powerful!

This simple question is very helpful for ADHDers because it cuts out all the mental negotiating that can happen in your mind. You don’t have to consider if the item was a gift, if you used it in the last year or, if you might need it again. Just ask one question, “Does this bring me joy?”

Here are 3 of my favorite tips from the book that I think will help you too.

1) Pick an Area You Want to Declutter

Start small, maybe a shelf. Remove everything from the shelf. Next, only put back  the things that bring your joy. After  you have tried the technique on a small area, and experienced for yourself how easy and fun it was, you will be very motivated to continue.

2) Start with Items That are Easier to Part With

Marie says people have trouble throwing out things that have:

Functional value (when you could still use the item)

Information value (has information you think you might need)

Emotional value (being anything sentimental)

Don’t start with any of these things! It will sabotage your good intentions. Instead, pick a category that will be easy for you. Marie suggests starting with clothes.

3) Don’t Let Your Family See What You are Getting Rid of

When people see what you are donating, they might seem shocked and you might find yourself second guessing your decisions. You have done so well to get to the donate / throw out stage; you don’t want a third person to change your mind.

With fewer items in your space, it is much easier to keep the area clean and tidy without even trying!

Have you tried any of these suggestions?