TotallyADD Blog / Treatment: Holistic & Medication Archives - TotallyADD.com | Adult ADD | ADHD in Adults
Welcome to the TotallyADD Blog.
This is going to be one of those stories where I admit to resisting something that turned out to do me a world of good. Dunno if that’s a ‘guy thing’, or an ‘ADHD thing’, or a ‘Rick thing.’
But it’s going to take me a minute or two to get there. Stay with me! (Or skip to the end, then come back and read chunks in a random order until it makes sense. Hey, it’s your ADHD, do what works for you.)
So, as you well know, there is a lot of confusion about ADHD. Some people don’t believe ADHD exists. Including a lot of ADHD experts. And even some folks like us who have ADHD.
“What did he just say? ADHD Experts don’t believe in ADHD?” Yeah. Kind of. It’s the name, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
It’s those first two words. ‘Attention Deficit.’ The fact is, most of us can hyper-focus when we’re interested. So saying we suffer from a Deficit of Attention is a bit like saying someone who is seven feet tall has “Door Frame Head Bang Disorder.” Yes, that’s one problem a 7’ person faces, but there’s a lot of other issues they deal with. And if they love basketball, being 7’ tall isn’t a problem at all. ADHD is complex. Who among us only suffers from a deficit of attention?
This must be why, these days, every expert we interview is keen to talk about ADHD as a deficit of Executive Functions. Executive Functions are, well, think of it this way… Imagine a top-level executive at a company that makes toilets (it’s just an example, ok?). Call her Tanya. Of Tanya’s Toilets. As a top executive, Tanya doesn’t make the toilets, she doesn’t test them, or work on design, engineering, or a thousand other details. The ‘doing’ gets done by others.
So what does Tanya do?
What Is Executive Function?
That’s an executive’s job. And part of your brain has that job. That’s its Executive Function.
Part of my brain is supposed to have that job, too. But that list of Tanya’s roles? That’s not me. At least, that’s not my brain’s natural inclination.
If I was working at Tanya’s Toilets I’d be in the design department, coming up with a dozen ideas a day on new designs, ways to improve efficiency, and… Okay, I’m going to switch from a mythical toilet factory to my life. (Insert your own joke here.)
Can I Trust These People?
Back in my early days, writing for stage and radio, I had to create systems to keep track of scripts as they moved from a funny idea to a finished performance. It was difficult and took a lot of time and energy for me. It was exhausting. Disheartening. Which meant my personal life was a mess.
When I began working in television, I discovered the power of the Production Manager and the other specialists who didn’t come up with the funny ideas, but could get them produced. They created the system and kept it humming with far less stress that I ever experienced. All I had to worry about was being funny. Wooooo hoooo!
Admittedly, it was unnerving to have other people making all these decisions—at first. I discovered I have, well, control issues. (Who me? Really?) But… deep breath… By the time The Red Green Show hit it’s stride, I learned to trust the team to work their magic.
Work Was Going Great! But…
When I launched my own series, History Bites, I was the Host, Head Writer, Producer and Director. I still had a strong team to support me, but work was taking everything I had.
Then I discovered coaching.
I’d like to be able to tell you that I instantly knew an ADD Coach would be the answer I didn’t even know I was looking for. Alas! At the time I thought, “I don’t have the time or money to fit coaching into my schedule.”
Looking back now, I can see it was a bit like driving madly around North America at full throttle searching for an address I desperately needed to get to, but had no idea how to find, and complaining, “I don’t have time to stop and plug it into the GPS.”
What Can A Coach Do?
Remember that list of Tanya’s Executive Functions? Managing time and resources? Checking progress, following up and providing feedback? Motivating and supporting? Keeping focused on goals? Yadda, yadda, yadda…
OMG! These are the precisely the things a coach does!
But, you may well ask, and if you didn’t, I will ask for you, “What if I already have a doctor (or a therapist or an analyst or…)”
Totally different story. Like saying, “I already have car, and a tank of gas, why do I need a GPS to navigate?”
My doctor was there to help me stop the suffering. Starting with medication. He could help me work through emotional stuff, beliefs, and feelings. We worked on areas where I felt I was ‘broken’ or ‘failing.’ Crucial stuff.
If I was to give my life a grade, my doctor helped me go from an F to a C. My coach has taken me from a C to an A. An A+ on a good day.
What my coach does is help me create strategies, and generate actions that work for me. My coach gives me straight talk, with much love. She reminds me of my priorities, checks in, nudges me when I go off course, and makes me pause to celebrate and acknowledge my victories so that they don’t slip by unnoticed. Like a lot of folks with ADD, I’m always on the next thing. The next script. Or the next breakthrough flushing mechanism for Tanya’s Toilets.
Just thought of a sales idea: “Tanya’s Toilets. Flush With Success.”
Where Was I? Oh, Right…
The point is, when my wife first suggested we try coaching, I was verrrrry uncomfortable with the idea. Just as I was when Production Managers started taking over all the things I’d forced myself to learn how to do in the entertainment biz. People with ADD can have trust issues, can’t we?
Now, all I will say is this: Coaching has made a huge difference for me. In ways I never would have anticipated. (See, I told ya I would get to this part of the story!)
Coaching isn’t free. But I can tell you that coaching has saved me years of time, money, and effort. I’ve avoided endless frustration. And been far more productive.
A lot of people with ADD we’ve spoken to have expressed similar concerns and questions about coaching. Or they never even realized it existed. Which is why our newest video looks at the hows and whys of ADD Coaching. It explains the many ways coaches work—in person, by phone, on Skype—and how you can work with a coach to create solutions and strategies customized to your needs.
As coach Barbara Luther says, “There’s no one else in your life that’s going to tell you the truth, really truly, and listen and hear who you are, who you are becoming and what you really want—AND keep you working toward that. That’s the coach’s job.”
Curious? Check out the trailer for ADD & Coaching: You Don’t Have To Go It Alone, now the shop.
By Rick Green
Like 99% of people with ADD who eventually try medication, I was reluctant to rely on a ‘crutch.’ I was worried I’d become addicted, that it would kill my creativity, turn me into a hop-head. (Actually, I’m not even sure what that is, except they used it a lot in 1940’s detective movies.)
DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MR. RICK
I was afraid that my doctor was going to push pills on to me.
I was concerned that the Pharma companies were going to get me hooked.
I was afraid I would no longer be ‘Rick’.
I had a thousand concerns.
So my doctor answered my questions. He assured me that a mild stimulant would not make me an addict, and that none of his clients who worked in ‘creative fields’ had said it impacted their creativity, I gingerly gave medication a try.
That is, I gave official, approved, doctor prescribed, legally obtained medications at try. I was already self medicating with overwork, constant novelty seeking, adrenaline, and vats of caffeine.
For me, medication made a big difference. Shocking in a way. I was able to sit and finish my tax paperwork. The first time that happened was mind-boggling. I felt like I’d won the Indy 500. I wanted to open a bottle of champagne and spray my pit crew while Miss Goodyear Tires presented me with my trophy. Magic pills!
My doctor was right. I was still creative. I wasn’t addicted. I was actually felt more like myself rather than less.
And so I stopped asking questions.
IF IT AIN’T BROKE…
I didn’t read the pamphlet that came with the medication. Boring, right. Didn’t even glance at it. I didn’t keep up on the latest information.
When I used to read the Forums here on TotallyADD, I rarely looked at the conversation streams about medication. Even though those streams were, and are, the most searched and read.
So I had no idea that having orange juice in the morning would negate the effect of my particular medication. Until a few weeks back, when someone mentioned this during a conversation, and everyone but me was nodding, “Yeah. You can’t have orange juice, it interferes.” “Yeah, ruins the uptake.” “That’s right.”
WHY WASN’T I TOLD?
How come I didn’t know this?
What else don’t I know?
Why didn’t my doctor tell me?
Why didn’t the pharmacist warn me?
Why didn’t the drug company inform me?
And then I saw the common thread in all of these thoughts… me.
Why hadn’t I made the effort to find out? Here we have created this website, TotallyADD, with Forums full of first hand experience. It is a treasure trove of insight and information. Why am I NOT using it?
We so often complain about irresponsible doctors, companies, and organizations. But I’m embarrassed to say, the one weak link in the chain, the irresponsible one, is not a doctor or a drug company.
October is ADHD Awareness Month and we’re presenting a very special, 3 part webinar series with Rick Green and Dr. Charles Parker. The following blog entry outlines what will be presented, special offers for participants and links to register. Hope you can join us for this series! – Ava Green, TotallyADD
By Dr. Charles Parker
1. The Why Webinar
Office Measurements And Brain Function: Why Use Brain Measurement Tools
Agenda: Intro, Introductory slides about Reality, Change and Pre-Frontal Cortical Executive Function – and New Brain Measurement Tools.
About Humanity: Our prefrontal cortices react to natural change much better than cows and dogs. Our synchronized executive function helps humans adapt to change throughout every life, from childhood to death. With balanced timing in the prefrontal cortex we keep the beat and adjust our dance to changes in everyday reality.
“Function” is your new best friend – your actual Mind-Working Process – mind activity works if you work it. Markedly improved mind and brain assessment tools evolve everyday. From the remarkable advances in functional brain imaging, to EEG’s, and computer assessments we can directly see how adaptive your PFC works in the context of the changing reality of your life.
These new mind-tools provide fresh data not unlike Galileo’s telescope. After you see the relevance of brain function, your own thinking changes. SPECT changed my life – and I’ll tell you how and why SPECT is important, how it opened the doors for me to the details of more precise thinking outlined in these next two webinars, and how it led me to seek even more specific functional answers.
This brief review condenses thousands of hours of assessment into simple, short, cost-effective screening questions that help to address PFC cognitive activity.
- The sequence of thinking, acting, and remembering are the three most important activities of PFC Executive Function. Working Memory separates us from cows.
- When Reality changes those with ADHD become desynchronized in that process of using working memory effectively. Examples from everyday life make brain function assessment easy.
- Applying these measures improves target recognition for treatment strategies – with whatever treatments used. Without effective targets it’s like shooting geese at night. Honk, bang!
For more thoughts on this ADHD Galileo Moment:
As many neuroscientists have said: If you don’t look you can’t see.
2. The How Webinar
Useful Office Measurements: When Executive Function Is Obviously On Or Off
Agenda: Slides on Changes in Thinking. Critical Thinking matters. Just a slight change, a small shift in perspective, can change a person’s entire lifetime.
How to Measure Functional Desynchronization [Read: Not Dancing To The Beat of Your Reality]: If our working memory becomes even partially desynchronized, our PFC coping tool becomes rusty and ineffective in the context of that activity. That circumstance, that changing reality is handled inefficiently, ineffectively, over years.
ADHD is not a 24×7 diagnosis; symptoms are Contextual and always directly related to the circumstance and stimulation of the specific Reality in question. In this discussion I will show you exactly how anyone can tease apart working memory for an office assessment of effective Executive Function, then apply those findings for improved medical precision.
Medical Applications: Interesting pharmacology insights often don’t make it down to the patient level. But without patient participation the team struggles with imprecise communications. These insights will help you participate more effectively with your medical team. Just a few of the details I’ll be sharing with you that could make a big difference in your life are:
- Serotonin products cannot be used to treat dopamine problems. Antidepressants target serotonin and feelings, stimulants target dopamine and PFC Executive Function.
- The absolute relevance of Duration of Effectiveness – DOE – for every stimulant medication – every med check.
- Recognize the 4 Subtypes of Depression and the 2 Subtypes of Anxiety to avoid mixing treatment objectives with differing psych med products or supplement strategies.
- Understand how mixing antidepressant and stimulant Drug Interactions can create problems with outcomes and create significant, even dangerous side effects.
For additional links to evolving mind-oriented Critical Thinkers – you will love these guys:
As Dr. de Bono observed in one video at this link [http://corepsych.com/de-bono], the current science is: “Ebne: Excellent, but not enough.”
3. The What Webinar
Measurable Biomedical Functional Reality – And Treatment Failure
Agenda: The essential principles of functional assessments elevate our understandings from reductionistic, limited, frozen, ADHD labels that remain fixed in time – and too often unrelated to real life – to the changing reality of life’s circumstances. Use fresh telescopes to identify biomedical ADHD complexity.
Treatment Failure Remains Far To Commonplace.
Consider Body Impediments: The most important fact that creates treatment failure: The body distorts, confounds, and corrupts what good medicines should accomplish. Brain function suffers at the hands of biomedical, metabolic, body insults. In our collective biomedical innocence the suffering ADHD person, the medications and, more often than not, the doctors, get blamed inappropriately. If you miss the body and only treat appearance labels you could find yourself shooting at the wrong target.
Last time I checked the body was connected to the mind. Medication, indeed all treatment outcomes will improve once the standard of care for ADHD/EFC [Executive Function Challenges] begins to routinely include what the environment and the body does to unbalance the mind.
Epigenetics matter: From nutrition, to neurotransmitters, to candida, to gluten, casein and eggs – even garlic – what we do to/with our bodies often directly affects brain treatment outcomes. From ADHD, to bipolar to depression and anxiety we’re living in a immense state of anti-Galileo biomedical technology denial. Rusty, compromised neurophysiology proves ineffective no matter what treatment strategy – unless it’s first corrected. New data demonstrates the fact that changes between mind and body go both ways.
Interestingly, various medical body experts regularly affirm that these subtle, chronic, body issues aren’t valid or relevant – they aren’t life and death issues that merit their attention. However, the increasing weight of evidence now affirms the functional reality that body biology alters brain targets. The brain lives downstream from even subtle but profound body impediments.
The good news: These imbalances, the biomedical challenges, are now remarkably measurable – and once identified, more often than not, can be corrected. I’ll outline a number of these during this presentation.
Remember: if you don’t look you don’t see. Let’s stop finding blame – register now so you can work with us. Together we can explore the landscape of new solutions – that medically connect both body and brain.
Epigenetics: For an interesting Neil Degrasse Tyson [the astrophysicist] link regarding how environment, nutrition and associated genetic alterations [epigenetics] modify otherwise predictable outcomes: http://www.corepsych.com/2013/08/epigenetics-matter/
Book It: Dr. Parker and Rick Green:
3 Dates, 3 Topics
Together we deconstruct puzzling medication realities: Three Wednesdays in October: 1st, 15th, & 29th at 6 – 7:30 PM EDT.
Cost of Admission: None. Sign up now, everyone will win something. I’ll give away 3 of my best-selling New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science and Common Sense in paperback to those who sign up for this drawing. And, everyone who signs up for the drawing will also receive a complimentary copy, with no further opt-in for this 25 pg Special Report: Predictable Solutions For ADHD Medications.
Actually, Everyone Wins
First register for the webinars, then at that time you also can register for drawings for the books.
Yes, you could receive both of these gifts for simply signing up, and if you do read either of them before the webinars, you’ll be amply prepared to ask questions at each presentation. This is the best bang for your valuable time, and will encourage an interesting You/Rick/Parker/Galileo discussion process.
These 2 gifts will only become available to those who sign up for the webinars at TotallyADD. If you already have one or both, join us for the most updated information anyway! Neuroscience evidence changes almost everyday, and neuroscience evidence changes thinking.
We’ll see you in October! I’ve talked to Rick and we’re really excited about the opportunity to work together and to invite you to join our conversation.
By Rick Green
At the moment I am high. Higher than Mount Everest. Thanks to a Boeing jet. Something with a lot of 7’s in the name.
Talk about mixed feelings. On the one hand I’m glowing and optimistic, the result of being in the presence of scores of people who have dedicated their lives to transforming other lives. Changing the world one person at a time.
On the other hand there are tinges of sadness and frustration flavored with a weary melancholy. Why are so many brilliant coaches struggling to find clients? Why are so many of the sessions about finding ADDers, not actually reaching people who would benefit hugely from coaching?
While waiting for my flight to Chicago to board, I wander into a shop selling everything from chocolate bars to native sculptures to I Love Arizona key fobs. Scanning the wall of magazines a headline jumps out at me: “50,000 life coaches can’t be wrong, inside the industry that’s making therapy obsolete.”
IF THERAPY IS OBSOLETE WILL THERE BE A GLUT OF USED COUCHES?
Harper’s Magazine is always a good read. This one proved no exception.
The article is classic journalism. While skeptical, and yet reluctantly admitting that this whole business and life coaching can make a dramatic difference. Which I already know.
The article makes it clear that coaching is not free, averaging perhaps $100 per hour. Or about ¾ of what I pay my dental hygienist to scale my teeth. It’s sounds kind of steep. Until you experience the difference that a good coach can make.
I’m not sure how many people are stopped by the cost. For a long time I suppose I was. And yet I never begrudged the $135 I spent getting my teeth cleaned. Because I knew it was a lot cheaper than having a cavity filled or a tooth replaced.
So yes. Money is always an issue.
MONEY? THAT WOULD BE NICE.
ADHD folks are rarely awash in cash. A famous study done at Harvard suggested we earn between 8000 and $14,000 less than our non-ADHD peers every year. [By the way it’s not that the study wasn’t exactly sure of the figure and said it was somewhere between 8 to 14,000. It’s a scale based on whether or not the person has post-secondary education.]
But the truth is, if we’re willing to be honest, we do find money for the things that matter to us. I know of people living in fairly dire circumstances who have the latest smart phone and video games.
The same edition of Harpers magazine notes that Americans spend $2 billion a year on mayonnaise. No mention of the cost for angioplasties, cholesterol medication, and strokes. Do you see where this is going?
I appreciate that coaching is not free. But most coaches will do a free session so that newcomers can see how the process works, and discover the difference it can make.
And yes, we all find the money for the things that we really, really want. And what we want is based on what we see as valuable. What a business executive would call R.O.I., Return on Investment.
And that return could be almost anything: fun, pleasure, safety, security, excitement, joy, love, weight loss, inner peace, better health, cool toys, simpler lives, more friends, or washboard abs.
The potential ROI on your investment in coaching can be, well, almost anything you can imagine. Clearly coaches, especially ADHD coaches, need to explain not just how coaching works, but the potential benefits, the return on your investment.
1 HOUR COACHING? $100. LOVING MY OLD JOB? PRICELESS!
Even if your income doesn’t change much, if coaching helps you transform how you do your job, how you organize your life, how you fill your days, how your home life goes, well, I’ll let you put your own price on that.
In the meantime, I’ll work on lining up a few webinars on coaching. Maybe even include some demonstrations of individual and coaching. If you’re interested in being a guinea pig, let me know.
I can’t guarantee that coaching is right for you. But I strongly suggest you cut back on the mayonnaise. (That’s a bit of free coaching.)
If you want to know about eliminating gluten, I’ll have to start charging.
But we have a good idea of what it is. So, my question is: what would you say is the opposite of ADHD?
After pondering that question, I’ve found a lot of people say Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That’s what I thought for a long time.
But after our webinar with Dr. Roberto Olivardia, and some presentations at the Ontario Brain Institute, I’ve learned that people with O.C.D. actually have more difficulty than ADHD folks in stopping their runaway thoughts.
With ADHD the mind flits like a butterfly. With OCD it becomes locked in an emotionally charged loop. In both cases, not a lot of control.
HERE AND NOW
To my mind, the opposite of ADHD, for me, is when I’m really present. Focused but not hyper-focused! (When I’m hyper-focused I’m not really present to what’s happening around me. Someone could swipe my pants and I wouldn’t notice.
No, the opposite of ADHD, for me, is being simply present, attentive, following what’s being said, what’s happening, or what I’m doing. Not impatient. Not worry about the future, or fretting over the past. Not in my head.
The best term to describe this state? ‘Mindful.’
And a lot of exciting research is demonstrating that ‘Mindfulness’ is a state that you can develop. How? Through a surprisingly simple but powerful practice known as ‘Mindful Meditation’.
I could try to explain how it works, but I’ll leave that to the premier researcher in the field of ADHD and Mindfulness, Dr. Lidia Zylowska. A co-founder of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, Lidia has written, “The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD.”
Here’s the good news: this week she’s hosting a webinar for you, the TotallyADD members. It’s Wednesday, January 8th, at 9:00 pm EST, or 6:00 pm where she is at UCLA. (Almost exactly a year since she hosted her first webinar with us!)
ATTENTION IS SIMPLY BEING ATTENTIVE
To make sure you get the most out of the webinar Lidia has some questions for us to ponder:
Have you ever been in a shower and so caught in your thinking that you were not sure if you already shampooed your hair?
When driving, have you ever missed your exit on the way to an important meeting because you were planning the meeting in your head?
Have you ever done or said things out of habit and then immediately regretted them?
Have you caught yourself eating mindlessly even when not hungry?
Do you feel so stressed that you can’t relax even when the workday is over?
Do you often listen to (insert here what applies to you: a movie, your spouse, your child, your boss, etc) and realize that you are spacing out and not really hearing what is being said?
Do your emotions often drive you to do something impulsive, or alternatively, you are often not sure what you feel/want?
If you said yes to several of the questions above, learning mindfulness can help you become more present in your life, more self-aware and more in control of your reactions. While ADHD is often described as a difficulty with self-regulation, mindfulness teaches self-regulation skills.”
This is a powerful practice. One I use often. As Lidia leads us through this webinar you’ll experience first-hand how Mindfulness can impact your ADHD.*
And a recent article from the NY TImes: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=101340?src=dayp
Dr. Zylowska is funny, smart, fascinating, and knowledgeable.
*To view the recorded webinar with Rick Green and Dr. Zylowska, go to: http://totallyadd.com/webinars/