This is from the book I co-wrote, TRANSFORMING ADHD (I’m allowed to post some of the book). I hope you find it of use. It’s less glamorous-looking than I’d like, but if you knew my schedule, you’d understand. Besides, it’s all about the content, right?
Brief, fun video on what it is that accurately reflects the latest and greatest understanding.
Getting what you want when you have it
Effective interventions and therapies This gets you to the blog of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, which was partly formed to spread the word about evidence-based practices.
Practices Christine Carter, who’s connected to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, offers a free ebook on ways to play the short game to win the long game. Go back and click on Practices to get to her site and the ebook link.
Coaches We still need good research on ADHD coaches, but what research we now have suggests high satisfaction from those who use them. Thing is, they can cost many quite a bit. A coach through Edge, for example, costs $400 for an initial session and then $125/week (if interested, go back and click on Coaches).
More Click on More for two resources that I previously posted. They remain awesome.
In my last post, Let the Games Begin?, I shared the recently approved video game prescription for ADHD and this got me thinking about other interventions on the frontier…
Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation. In the spring of 2019, the FDA approved TNS as a “treatment” for childhood ADHD based on research out of UCLA: here.
The device the researchers used is called Monarch eTNS. It sends gentle electrical pulses to the trigeminal nerve, which then leads to stimulation of various brain regions.
For a user-friendly description of the research, read this.
Neurofeedback. A 2020 review by scholars from several countries found it useful for children with ADHD: here.
With ADHD, you’re likely to give up a bigger reward for a smaller one if the smaller one comes NOW and the bigger one LATER. NOW wins time after time. Why? Partly because our future selves are strangers to most of us, and we feel little for them. What do we owe this stranger? For many of us it turns out, “Nothing.” We see this when it comes to money. Specifically, saving it.
I know this can be a bleak subject, but part of the remedy is facing reality. Let’s start with the state of the union on this. I, for one, was blown away.
In the U. S., post-retirement we live 17-20 years on average, and over 50% of us have less than $25,000 saved for these years. This means, apart from social security, over half of us have less than $123/month to live out our “golden years.” More like copper years, right? See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764505/.
Sure, for some, this is a continuation of pre-retirement poverty (it’s hard to save living hand to mouth), but for many this goes back to the present winning over the future. At a great cost.
With ADHD, the cost is likely to be higher. Recent research examining the financial status of adults with and without ADHD (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31343233) went beyond confirming prior research noting bad financial news, on average, for those with ADHD. The researchers looked at some of the reasons why this is the case. That is, why less income, less savings, and more debt?
Here’s what they found. Compared to adults without ADHD, adults with it reported more often buying on impulse and more often using “an avoidant or spontaneous decision-making style” (e.g., I will avoid looking at my bank account before buying). On top of this, adults with ADHD scored lower when given measures of financial competence and capacity (e.g., being able to evaluate financial problems and understand bank statements).
But there is good news is. If you struggle with money, things can be better.
Here are some antidotes to an impoverished future (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764505/):
1) Episodic Future Thinking, or EFT (https://tonyalippert.blog/2019/03/19/what-gets-us-to-change/),
2) Focus on the “cool” versus the “hot” aspects of what you want NOW (e.g., on the color and shape of a cinnamon roll versus the anticipated taste),
3) Sinking your ships by giving yourself no way out (or in) by, for example, leaving money at home when you are out and about apart from what’s needed–no credit cards, Apple Pay, etc.–on hand)–see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPQhj6ktYSo starting where Dan Ariely talks about self-control contracts for more–, and
4) Connect to your future self (https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/best_possible_self).
For more examples on the above antidotes, go to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764505/.
Here’s a toast to your future self! And to your present one who cares.
First time ever I was interviewed about ADHD for a blog, given my book TRANSFORMING ADHD, this blog (mostly) on ADHD and my work with adults diagnosed with it. Fun work and fun interview.
Hot off the press: Adult ADHD appears to be on the rise. At least the diagnosis of it.
Scholars at Syracuse University compared the prevalence of ADHD among adults from the 2007 and 2012 U.S. National Health Interview Survey and found it jumped. From 3.41% to 4.25%, with the gap between women and men closing by almost a third (31.1%), given the increased prevalence among women of all ages.
I know, I said hot off the press, and we are talking about numbers from 2012. But the study just came out days ago, so it’s hot off the press.
To see the study, or at least the summary of it, here’s the link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31189421.
This is an overview of ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), primarily numbers and names.
What’s the prevalence? It’s estimated to be about 5-6% of the world population of children and 3-4% of the world population of adults (using DSM-IV criteria, DSM-5 criteria increase the estimates slightly). It’s estimated that about 1-2% of children without childhood ADHD may meet criteria for ADHD after 12 years of age. This suggests that about half of the population of adults with ADHD develop it “late.”
123s and ABCs…
When did the first formal description of ADHD appear, albeit under a different name? One best guess is 1798 by Alexander Crichton. Dr. Faraone at SUNY Upstate Medical University suggests it goes back even farther…to Weikard and a 1775 German medical textbook. See https://adhdinadults.com/a-brief-history-of-adhd/
Fast forward to 1968, when it became an official diagnosis here (the U.S.), being added to the DSM-II, clinicians’ reference for diagnoses of mental disorders. It was called Hyperkinetic Disorder of Childhood. The name changed over the years but the essence of the disorder as one of childhood hyperactivity, impulsivity and wayward attention remained.
In 1980, the DSM-III came out and added specifics to the diagnosis, such as indicating that symptoms had to appear before 7 years of age. There was no research showing that 7 was a magic number; only enough clinicians believing this made sense.
In 1994, the DSM-IV softened the age of onset “rules” requiring only some of the symptoms to appear before age 7. Subtypes were also added. It was during the 1990s that Adult ADHD became recognized as a valid disorder.
In 2013, the DSM-5 changed the requirement that symptoms be present before age 7 to before age 12.
WHAT IS IT? ADHD is a self-regulation disorder. Regulation is, essentially, flexible self-control described by 4 Ss: starting, sustaining, stopping and switching attention, action, motivation, and more. It is understood as a neurodevelopmental disorder, which is to say it is a way that the brain (“neuro”) develops that affects, more than anything, self-regulation, essentially, decreasing it compared to what’s seen for those without ADHD. And here’s the disorder part: It is associated with distress and/or dysfunction, including poorer results at school and work, higher levels of health-risking behaviors, and being less satisfied with oneself.
What Causes It? It’s believed to result from certain combinations of genes and environmental factors. Genes are believed to be necessary and… insufficient. So are environmental factors. This means you need both.
I know relationships from both a work and personal perspective. What I want to share as a level-2 certified PACT therapist (https://thepactinstitute.com/dividedpage/what-is-pact/) applies to intimate relationships with or without the influence of ADHD. PACT stands for Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (fancy, I know).
When a couple enters into troubled territory, its members can turn to each other for solace and connection, right? Even when the trouble is each feels hurt and misunderstood by the other.
Right? Yes, some couples can. The secure functioning ones. The ones who understand that their relationship depends on this.
Many couples, however, do the opposite. They turn away. Each member feels too hurt, misunderstood, blamed, and afraid. Afraid of more of hurt, more of the same. Too caught up with thoughts of how the other one should know. Should know what I’m feeling, what I want. My hurt and mind. So the members turn away from each other and toward others and other interests to meet his/her own needs. One goes out with friends. The other delves into a creative venture. One joins a club. The other travels alone. Again and again looking outside the relationship for more and more. Each, little by little, turning away, and forgetting how to turn toward, each other. Until…it’s over.
If this is your relationship and you want to turn it around before you and your lover/partner/spouse kill it, try turning toward. Start by doing this physically. Get face-to-face, eye-to-eye with your partner, close enough to see each other’s pupils. Hold for a few minutes. Keep your faces soft and friendly. It may sound simple but can be really hard for couples to do. So no judgments. Of yourself or your partner. Approach it playfully. Then rinse, wash, repeat, as Stan Tatkin, the developer of PACT, likes to say.
My hope is that, for each member, this may be a start to turning toward, and getting to know, the person you once loved fiercely and may find yourself loving fiercely again.
One resource focuses on children and teens; the other is for adults. Both can be remarkably useful for those with ADHD.
The first is understood.org (here) for “learning and attention issues.” What it offers is vast and, though, it’s targeted to parents of children and teens with ADHD, many adults with ADHD can find it of use. Much of what’s suggested for teens applies to adults, except for the context (e.g., work vs. school). Also, given that 25-35% of parents of youth with ADHD are likely to have ADHD (source), parents using the site may want to use the recommendations for themselves as well as their children.
The second resource is JAN, Job Accommodation Network (here), which is all about workplace accommodations for employers and employees needing or wanting to know what the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) encompasses, including job coaches…even the possibility of free ones. Who knew? From what I can tell, fewer than would have liked to have known.
I hope something here is of use to you.