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ADHD Drugs Don’t Work?

ADHD Drugs Don't WorkADHD drugs don’t work? Controversial title, right? The topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has received a lot of debate in recent years. The treatment is with drugs. Those who are for the treatment call it a breakthrough whilst many argue it is unnecessarily medicated. I’m no psychologist or medical professional, but I’m fairly sure at school, I’d have been diagnosed with ADHD. Teachers always reported I had the concentration span of a goldfish, that I disrupted the class and one teacher reported that I was so laid back about work I was almost horizontal. Whilst I found that hilarious, you can guess who didn’t.

You may remember my post on creativity last week with creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson’s account of Gillian Lynn. [Read more…]

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12 Ways To Focus At Work

Bored at workWhether you run your own business or are an employee, these 12 ways to focus at work will definitely help you to step up your game. It’s so easy to lose attention, particularly if you have some form of ADHD. It’s even easier to lose focus if you don’t enjoy the work. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re not sold on what you’re doing then you will certainly struggle with focus, as I have found a lot in the past! Whatever your struggle with focus is, check these tips out by Amanda Gardner from Health.com. [Read more…]

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Ways To Focus With ADHD

If you’re a sufferer of ADHD, or if someone close to you suffers from ADHD then these ways to focus with ADHD are a worthwhile read. Focusing on one task at a time, without getting distracted is difficult enough at the best of times, but when you have ADHD, the distraction factor is intensified. It’s easy to get mentally involved in the next task without completing the one in hand and by the end of the day, you wonder what you’ve achieved. Here is a simple technique written for Psychology Today by Mark Bertin which may just help not only those who suffer from ADHD, but also those who simply struggle to focus.

Learning to STOP

Ways To Focus By Saying StopTo create this pause, practice the acronym ‘STOP’ with each transition. Before getting up from the table, leaving your desk, or shifting your activity at any time during the day:

  • Stop what you’re doing.
  • Take a few breaths.
  • Observe what’s going on for you, internally and externally.
  • Pick what would be best to do next.

Having paused and checked in, what would it take to finish what you started? With children, you might even review the three steps before beginning a task. Take out the milk and a glass. Pour and drink the milk. And then . . .  step three, put milk in the fridge and the glass in the dishwasher. Check the assignment pad, finish the homework. And then  . . . put it in the backpack. Create reminders to STOP over and over again through the day. Eventually this pause in transitioning becomes a habit, consistently getting you and your child from point A to point C—a complete and well-considered conclusion.

Click here to view the whole article on Psychology Today

These ways to focus with ADHD are helpful to me, and I don’t think I have ADHD. I’ve certainly not been diagnosed with it anyway. Occasionally I get to the end of the day and wonder what on earth I’ve achieved but I think that’s fairly commonplace. What I have found really helpful, is planning the following day, the day before, setting myself allocated time slots for each task (with a timer) and removing all distractions (social media, phone, emails). Exercise is also an absolute godsend when it comes to focusing and also alleviating stress.

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Ways To Focus Through Better Organisation

If you think you have a mild case ADD/ADHD (without a clinical diagnosis) then this article from GetButtonedUp.com may change your opinion. We are a apparently a little over liberal with the labeling of ADD/ADHD and this opinion leads on from the professional insight of neuropsychologist, Dr Jerome Schwarts of Harvard Medical School. He states that “ADHD is a clearly diagnosable neuro-biological disorder, which is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity and inattention and occurs in about 4.4% of adults.” So for the rest of us, the chances are that we need to better organize ourselves and this is relatively easily achieved when you go back to basics. Here are a few ways to focus through better organisation:

Ways To Focus Through Better OrganisationWays To Focus Through Better Organisation

The brain is an organ that controls focus, thinking, and pretty much literally everything else that you do or feel. Everything. But just like all of our other organs, to function properly and efficiently it requires some very basic things: sleep, exercise, hydration, and a healthy diet. Surprised? We didn’t think so.

Somewhere the message gets lost in translation. If you are having trouble focusing ask yourself if you’re treating it as one: Have I eaten today? Did I sleep well last night? When was the last time I exercised? Am I eating in a way that promotes or diminishes focus? If the answer to any of these questions is no (with most of us, at least one will be) then perhaps it’s time to organize your life in an effort to focus better.

Click here to view the whole article from Get Buttoned Up

I think for the majority of us, these ways to focus through better organisation are sound advice. I have at times wondered whether I have ADD and had it been a condition when I was at school, then I’d have been diagnosed with it. Many of my school reports would say I had a concentration span of 5 minutes and I could never concentrate on my homework – except for one subject, music. I struggled through two degrees which I believe now, weren’t inline with my true strengths. Could it therefore simply be, that you can focus easily on whatever interests you, and will naturally struggle when attempting to focus on subjects that are not of interest, or not inline with your strengths? What do you think?

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Groundbreaking Research On New Focus Nutrient

Reports from Harvard University and the Brain Institute of Utah have revealed some groundbreaking research on new focus nutrient, citicoline, brand-named Cognizin®, and its effect on women. According to the research, healthy women who consumed 250mg a day of Cognizin® outperformed those who took a placebo pill on a measure of attentional performance and focus. They made significantly fewer errors and omission each task carried out. This excerpt from The San Fransisco Chronicle explains all.

Cognizin For Focus And AttentionDoes Cognizin® work? GoGungHo® Inc (makers of a focus/energy gel shot), believe it does. They made an agreement for the exclusive rights to distribute Cognizin®, at the proven effective dose of 250mg, within the energy/focus shots and drink category. And GungHo® is going GungHo. They recently broke launch records with the social media release of their product; University studentsgamers and women, love the “smooth focus”said Mason, co-founder. “We asked students what they wanted in an energy drink and they told us they actually wanted focus. Focus to game, study or work without the typical distracting buzz, jitters and crash. They also wanted the convenience of a gel shot with no sugar and all-natural ingredients.” GungHo has a patent-pending on their focus gel shot. “We combined the long-term impact on focus and memory provided by the Cognizin® with the immediate alertness of caffeine – far less than used in typical energy shots – and the smoothness of ashwaganda. Hence folks can get the energy and focus they want without the harsh jitters or crash.” Said Dr Dan Mowry.

Click here to view the whole article

Quite why the groundbreaking research on new focus nutrient was performed only on women, we do not know.  However it does say that Cognizin® could by used by adults of all ages to help them improve their focus, attention and memory. I’m not an advocate for drugs to help with attention and focus but this appears to be a totally natural ingredient, so potentially groundbreaking results indeed. My belief is that all drugs will have some kind of side effect.  Drugs for, say, the treatment of ADHD are fairly new, so no one really knows the long-term effect. I understand that they’re working for kids with ADHD in schools (and adults), but it may just be, that they need something else to help them concentrate as Sir Ken Robinson points out (videos for which you’ll find in the ‘Videos’ section).

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An Alternative Approach To Focusing With ADHD

Procrastination weaves its evil tricks at the best of times, but when you suffer from ADHD, it’s even easier to procrastinate and allow yourself to succumb to distractions. This is an alternative approach to focus with  ADHD written by David D. Nowell, Ph.D For Psychology Today. According to Dr Nowell, those who suffer from ADHD have lower density of dopamine receptors than those who do not suffer from ADHD and since dopamine is responsible for reward and motivation, those who suffer from ADHD tend to struggle to maintain concentration with boring tasks and often seek attention from others.

An Alternative Approach To Focusing With ADHD

And these longer term goals can be broken down into daily step by step action items. Some of those to-do items are not fun, and are not easy. And as we approach boring or hard tasks our brains begin to scan the environment for something—anything—more immediately and intrinsically rewarding.

At my ADHD workshops for clinicians and teachers I suggest that there’s no such thing as procrastination. There’s just choosing. And choosing again. That moment by moment choosing is the “stuff” of longer-term goal attainment. If you know anyone with an academic degree, a savings account, a healthy body, or a relationship that’s lasted longer than three weeks, give them (or yourself) a pat on the back! That goal required day-by-day, decision-by-decision commitment to a mental picture in which you believed, and towards which you strived—even when it wasn’t fun or easy.

Our brains are wired for just this type of visualization and sequencing and “stick-to-it-iveness.” But it’s not easy, and we’re surrounded by seductive distractions. And people with ADD/ADHD are at particular risk of being seduced off-task.

Click here to view the whole article

An alternative approach to focusing with ADHD such as visualization of your goals is thought provoking, not just for those with ADHD, but for non sufferers too. Developing a mental image of your goal using sensory detail, together with affirmations is often advised in a few books I’ve read recently. The penultimate paragraph of advice was poignant:

When you see me struggle with dull or difficult tasks, help me “connect the dots.” Remind me of why I’m doing this and what the payoff will be for me. Describe for me in vivid sensory detail (the smells, the visuals, the feelings) what it will be like for me once I’ve attained that goal.

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How Exercise Benefits Your Brain

There are a number of posts on this site related to how exercise benefits your brain, each with a different angle.  This article explains how exercise throughout childhood has been proven to shape the way our brains are wired and helps with learning and memory.

How Exercise Benefits Your Brain

Exercise is a real boon – clearing the mind, pumping in more blood and oxygen to the brain and doing much more, latest research suggests.

David Bucci, associate professor of psychology at Darmouth College, and his collaborators have identified a gene which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise benefits the brain and in mental illness too.

Bucci began his pursuit of the link between exercise and memory with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among the commonest childhood psychological disorders, the journal Neuroscience reports.

“The notion of pumping children full of psycho-stimulants at an early age is troublesome,” Bucci cautions. “We frankly don’t know the long-term effects of administering drugs at an early age – drugs that affect the brain – so looking for alternative therapies is clearly important.”

Based on observations of ADHD children in University of Vermont summer camps, athletes or team sports players were found to respond better to behavioural interventions than more sedentary children, according to a Dartmouth statement.

Accordingly, they investigated a mechanism through which exercise seems to improve learning and memory, known as the “brain derived neurotrophic factor” (BDNF), also involved in growth of the developing brain.

The degree of BDNF expression in exercising rats correlated positively with improved memory, and exercising as an ­adolescent had longer lasting effects compared to the same duration of exercise, but done as an adult.

“The implication is that exercising during development, as your brain is growing, is changing the brain in concert with normal developmental changes, resulting in your having more permanent wiring of the brain in support of things like learning and memory,” says Bucci.

Read the original article here

When reading this article on how exercise benefits your brain, I thought it was interesting to hear David Bucci’s opinion on the unknown long-term effects drugs, namely those used to treat ADHD.  Surely anything that chemically alters the brain has got to have some kind of side effect?  Our bodies weren’t designed to be chemically altered, surely? As Sir Ken Robinson argues, perhaps children diagnosed with ADHD, simply perform better in different environments, that require for them to move, in one way or other, in order for them to think? In case you missed this short clip:

 

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Focusing Tips For Adult ADHD Sufferers

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD or you simply struggle to focus, these focusing tips for adult ADHD sufferers are a gainful read.  I have excerpted part of an interview, conducted by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D for The Huffington Post who is interviewing psychologist, Dr Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA. He specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of children, teens, and adults with ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

Focusing Tips For Adult ADHD Sufferers

In your book More Attention, Less Deficit, your chapter on nonmedical treatment includes the phrase “pills don’t teach skills.” Could you explain what that means?

Medication is often an effective treatment for ADHD, but suddenly being better able to focus your attention doesn’t mean that you know how to prioritize your to-do list or organize your desk. The medication can set a good foundation wherein the person can do a better job of learning and applying these good habits. It’s similar to how wearing glasses doesn’t give you better driving skills, but it does enable you to use those skills more effectively.

I really liked the title of one of the subsections in Chapter 8: “I’m Only Getting Treatment to Shut You People Up”. Could you give some suggestions as to how a family member could address the possibility of ADHD with someone they love?

Speak from the perspective of what you see and how you feel that it is making the person’s life harder. Focus on the things that are important to this person (such as, “you lost your brand new cell phone”) rather than what is important to you and that you feel should be important to them (such as, getting better grades in college). It may also help to let your actions speak louder than your words, by not covering up for the person’s ADHD moments. Let them feel the pain more because that is what will give them the incentive to work on it.

What are three tips that an adult with ADHD could implement today?

  1. Get rid of some stuff that you don’t need (which is a lot more than we think). The less stuff you have, the easier it is to find what you need when you need it.
  2. Start setting alarms to remind you of important times or appointments.
  3. Get more sleep. Being tired will only make your ADHD worse.

I think anyone can make use of these focusing tips for adult ADHD sufferers. It’s interesting how medication is not necessarily regarded as the best solution for ADHD.   Medication may provide a temporary solution but never addresses the route cause.  And who wants to take medication for the rest of their lives? Surely that can’t be good for anyone.

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Tips For Parents Of Children With ADHD

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, then these simple tips  for parents of children With ADHD written by licensed counselor, Shannon Anderson, for the South East Missourian may be worth a read.

Tips For Parents Of Children With ADHD

Play board games that require attention to detail such as Battleship or Memory. Encourage your child to slow down and model how to think through a move, etc. in order to not only do better in the game but also reduce impulsive decision making.

Another important tip for parents of an ADHD child is to make time to be outdoors as often as possible. Take a nature walk, play a ball game, anything like this is a great way for the child to utilize some of the excess energy that develops while sitting in class for a good part of the day. If done immediately after school, before homework time, I can assure you that when homework time does come it will be a lot more bearable for both the parent and the child!

Click here to view the original source of the article

These tips for parents of children with ADHD are in line with other articles I have read on ADHD.  Whilst I am no expert on ADHD, I think Sir Ken Robinson, Creativity Expert and Author of The Element, makes some excellent points about ADHD in this thought provoking clip:

 

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Goal Setting Helps Focus Children With ADHD

As an adult, goal setting is an excellent way to focus, but is it right to advise that goal setting helps focus children with ADHD? According to Professor Andrew Martin, it’s effective.

PB goal-setting guides students’ to focus on their progress measured against personal achievements and milestones rather than comparisons to their classmates. It involves trying to do a bit more or a bit better than previous efforts each time important schoolwork is attempted.

Professor Martin’s findings were published in the international journal Contemporary Educational Psychology, as the first empirical study on PB goal setting to include children with ADHD. Previous research had demonstrated PB goal setting for general student populations, but Professor Martin’s study showed its benefits were amplified among children with ADHD. Click here to view the original source of the article

Thankfully this research has been conducted among high school students, rather than children. If goal setting helps focus children with ADHD, I think this advice should be applied as late as possible in childhood. It would be highly unjust to expect young children to start setting goals. What do you think?

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