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Reply To: ADD doesn't have to suck all the time

Reply To: ADD doesn't have to suck all the time2014-08-01T23:03:48+00:00

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It’s funny, I found CBT to be a complete waste of time. But maybe that’s because I am just too stubborn and bullheaded. Or maybe just because I didn’t have the right kind. I was reading an article in ADDitude a few days ago that addressed the fact that people with ADHD are not motivated the same way Neurotypical people are and how that needs to be considered in their treatment. It suggests a type of CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

“If the importance of a task, and the rewards of completing it, don’t motivate an ADHDer to get things done, what can he use to move him to action? As it turns out, figuring out and embracing his deeply held values can help an ADHDer get things done and stay focused when other things have failed.

Michael Manos and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic have used Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) —a third-generation cognitive behavioral therapy developed by Stephen Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahi in the late ’80s for people with anxiety disorders — to help ADHDers get things done.

The subtitle of one of the ACT manuals is “How to Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life.” A big impairment reported by people with ADHD nervous systems is that they spend too much time in their heads because they are confused and hurt by the neurotypical world.

Hayes’s ACT manual works for ADHDers because it recognizes that the concept of importance – meeting a deadline or doing something that your boss considers important — is not a motivator for people with ADHD and anxiety. ACT solves the problem by helping ADHDers use their values — which give their lives meaning and purpose—to motivate them to be productive.

With ACT, patients are asked what matters most to them. What are the important things that give meaning to life? What aspect of their life has made a difference to themselves, to their family, and to their community or their profession? Some people value their family the most. For others, it might be setting a record or gaining fame. For other ADHDers, it may be faith in God. I ask my ADHD patients whether they are engaged in something meaningful that reflects their values. I ask them to ask themselves several times a day, “Am I doing something that matters to me?” This puts the person in touch with his values.

Generally, after several weeks of doing ACT, a patient has several ways to access his abilities when he needs them. He knows the paths to success.” –  Secrets of ADHD Treatment, William Dodson, MD