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Memory Tips for the ADHD Brain, Part 1

1I’m still a criminal. I admit it. In my dark, pre-ADHD-diagnosis past, I was a grand larcenist. But the only things I steal these days are magazines. From doctors’ waiting rooms. And a while back, while waiting for my ADHD meds prescription, I took a five-finger discount on a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine on the subject of memory. Just leafing through it I got a million ideas for #CrusherTips (on Twitter), Facebook posts and, of course, blog topics. So here’s the first of what will be a series of blogs on memory and the ADHD brain.

In ADD Crusher™ Video I, I teach the power of using our unique ADHD way of seeing the world – visually and spatially – to stop losing and forgetting things. It’s prefaced by the fact that we adult ADDers so often lose and forget things because of our weak working memory. And this report, called simply, “Memory”, yields tons of scientific background for buttressing that weak memory.

 

In the last few decades, we’ve gone way beyond the simple notion of long- and short-term memory as its key types. We now distinguish four types of memory:

  • Episodic: Ability to remember personal experiences – a recent phone conversation or a movie you saw last week.
  • Semantic: Ability to store and receive general knowledge and facts – the number of days in a year…the names of the planets in our solar system.
  • Procedural: Ability to learn skills that will then be performed automatically or with little conscious effort – like riding a bike or driving a car.
  • Working: Ability to pay attention, focus and keep needed info in short-term memory, like a phone number or directions to a party.

As mentioned above, we ADDers suck at the latter type. But, as the Johns Hopkins report says, even if all your memory types are working well, “some memories will be stored and recalled more easily than others.” For instance, those with an emotional component (you’ll never forget where you were on September 11, 2001), or those that are recognized as most important. Or those related to something already stored. These three areas represent tricks Crusher teaches in both the videos and audio companions, and that we’ll recap perhaps in the next installment on memory. But meantime, here are some simple memory tips for ADHD offered or inspired by my stolen materials:

1. Say it out loud. We’ve all heard the trick for remembering names as “make sure you say, ‘Nice to meet you, ROBERT!!’ – you’ll be more likely to remember his name!” Well, this also applies to things you need to remember to do, e.g., “I will turn off the oven in five minutes!”

2. Visualize it. We ADDers tend to be visual-spatial thinkers, so when we associate something we need to remember with a visual or dimensional cue, we’re more likely to remember it. The obvious application is in remembering names: “Bob Taylor is a tailor with a sewing machine that bobs as it sews.”

3. Gamify it. More than anyone, we love to have fun, and it’s easy to create games around remembering things. For instance, you have a short list of items to get from the store. Create a game for remembering them. Maybe you’ll match each item to a part of your body. Or you’ll create a word out of the first letters of each item.

4. Don’t sweat it. Remembering things takes concentration, and concentration is made more difficult when we’re stressed. The more relaxed we are in approaching a task, a problem, or the need to remember something, the more powerfully our brain performs. So don’t tense up with worry about not remembering – just stay cool and get ‘er done.

keep-calm-and-crush-it-ADHD

I have a lot more to say about memory, and will do so in upcoming blogs. I also have a lot more magazines to steal from doctors’ offices – so I have to go now and make my next appointment.

Crush on!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Eight ADHD Myths — Crushed

Not for nothin’, Crusher believes in facts. Erroneous beliefs about ADHD are fueled by ignorance, emotion and plain ol’ BS. And we all have a stake in promoting scientific fact, because myths stunt advancement of knowledge and discourage people from seeking help. With this in mind, here are some of the most common ADHD myths, and the myth-crushing facts that we all need to make sure the world knows…

Myth #1: There’s no such thing as ADD/ADHD – it’s a pharma conspiracy to make $$$ from us inattentives.

  • Myth-Crusher: It’s real. It’s documented. It’s accepted by the medical profession at the highest levels. If your doctor is not among the enlightened, switch to a reality-based one. Meantime, here’s a good primer on the topic.

Myth #2: It’s is a new phenomenon.

  • Myth-Crusher: ADHD kids are cited back to 1845. Our culture of gadgets and mega-multitasking didn’t start it. Harvard’s David Urion says, “People have this idea we live in a world that causes ADHD.” While of course one shouldn’t text and drive, “for a harbor pilot bringing a four-masted sailing vessel into Boston Harbor, paying attention was a good idea then, too.”

Myth #3: Only the USA uses medication for it.

  • Myth-Crusher: An NIMH study of data from 1993 to 2003 says while the US remained by far the leading consumer of ADHD medications, other high-income countries, particularly Canada and Australia, had significant increases in medication use, and that more countries have begun to use them — from 31 in 1993 to 55 in 2003. Surely many, many more by now.

Myth #4: Poor Parenting Causes ADHD.

  • Myth-Crusher: While poor parent management (being critical, negative) can exacerbate ADHD and increase risk of comorbidities, the fact is, genetics account for 80% of the variance in ADD symptoms. It’s worth noting that the belief that symptoms are intentional and controllable often results in harsh, punitive parenting practices.

Bad Parenting ADHD

 

Myth #5: Medication is the only treatment option that works – nothing else helps.

  • Myth-Crusher: the most authoritative voices (Barkley, Ratey, Hallowell, etc.) will tell you that medication can be the single most impactful remedy. BUT they ALSO say it’s not the ONLY treatment option, and that meds can have greater impact with the addition of other practices. Just beware of BS miracle claims.

BTS ADHD1

 

Myth #6: ADHD meds are mind-control that turn people into zombies & junkies.

  • Myth-Crusher: Actually, it can be just the opposite. Having UN-treated ADD increases risk that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol. Proper treatment reduces that risk. And ADHD meds have on balance been proven safe/effective for 50+ years. (And NO, Crusher is not a tool of Pharma. Just the messenger.)

zombie-warning

 

Myth #7: ADHD affects only boys.

  • Myth-Crusher: Girls are just as likely as boys to have ADHD, though they tend to be less hyperactive. And as a result, girls are less likely to be diagnosed and treated. Some research also suggests higher rates of overall distress, anxiety and depression in ADHD girls. Read this previous Crusher blog that expands on these sad stats.

Myth #8: Kids with ADHD eventually outgrow their condition.

  • Myth-Crusher: More than 70% of childhood ADHD cases continue into adolescence. Up to 50% will continue into adulthood. And of the up to 6% of the adult population with ADHD, the majority remain undiagnosed, only one in four seeking treatment. Without help, these adults are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, to name a few. More sad stats at another Crusher blog.

Well, that’s enough myth-crushing for one sitting. Don’t “myth” the next Crusher blog!

– Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a library of over 100 videos teaching hacks and strategies that “unleash the power of your unique brain” to beat procrastination, get prioritized and take control of your time. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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The Relationship of ADHD and Substance Abuse

Recently I blogged about the power of AWARENESS as an ADHD alternative treatment. Awareness of the impact of diet…of the full range of treatment options…of the damage of unchecked negative self-talk…of your own strengths and weaknesses, etc. All things that can empower you if you have greater awareness. Well, you can add to that list, awareness of the frightening statistical friendship of ADHD and substance abuse. Once again, I’ve listened to an archived show on Attention Talk Radio – this time, an interview with clinical psychologist Dr. David Teplin – and come away with a must-write blog on substance abuse as one of the top adult ADHD symptoms.

Some Hallucination-Inducing ADHD Statistics

Did you know that those with ADHD are six times more at risk for substance abuse than the general population, and will suffer with the abuse for a longer time? It gets uglier…

  • Up to 45% of adults with ADHD are alcohol abusers.
  • Up to one third abuse illegal drugs.
  • Between 35% and 71% of all alcoholics are also ADHD!
  • Between 15% and 25% of drug abusers are also ADHD.
  • ADHD adults are disproportionately represented among patients in treatment centers (not to mention also among the prison population, which I blogged about from the 2012 ADHD Coaches Organization conference).

Wow, not lookin’ so good for us!! And that’s not all – don’t forget all the behavioral issues that result from these abuses: drunken driving, arrests, failed relationships, poor career prospects…and on and on. As if the ADHD alone weren’t bad ENOUGH!!!

But wait! There’s more! Then we of course have to contend with the frequent ADD/ADHD co-morbidities of anxiety, depression, bi-polar, oppositional defiance disorder, and so on – that make matters worse, as well as confounding proper diagnosis and treatment.

Substance Abuse Kid

WHAT is Going ON Here?!?

Well, as a former alcohol and drug abuser myself, I’m not surprised at all these ugly stats and the isolation of substance abuse as one of the most prevalent adult ADHD symptoms.

Looking back at my teen years, it’s pretty clear how I got my start. They say marijuana is the gateway drug – but I feel regular old cigarettes are a bigger gateway for ADDers. And sure enough, we ADDers start smoking earlier that the average kid smoker – and are less likely to quit. And the gateway effect is aided and abetted by the gravitation to permissive peers and like-minded others who’ll accept us and our behaviors, making for a snowball effect. Here are some of the why’s that Dr. Teplin touched on…

  • Both we ADDers and substance abusers tend to lack sufficient amounts of dopamine. Abuse, just like all risky behaviors, counters that dopamine deficit. (Hmmm. Is THAT why they call it dope?)
  • Nicotine is a mild stimulant. Its mild ‘upper’ effect probably contributes to the attraction and difficulty in quitting.
  • Alcohol and marijuana are both depressants that might have a calming effect on hyperactivity.
  • As ADHD sufferers, we’re likely to be defined as failing, outcasts, not up to par – all great reasons to go have a drink!

But back to the awareness lesson here. Whether or not we are grappling with some substance, having the knowledge about this dysfunctional relationship can help our overall mission of greater understanding, facing new challenges – and maybe even equip us to help a fellow ADDer in need. If someone you suspect of having attention disorders also has this most pernicious of adult ADHD symptoms, approach gently….Bless!!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Natural ADHD Treatment via 6 Executive Functions

Executive Function – “EF” – is quite the fashionable phrase the last few years. But what does it really mean, and what does it mean in terms of natural ADHD treatment strategies or to better understanding ourselves?

Fact is, as Dr. Russell Barkley recently pointed out in an interview on Attention Talk Radio, there’ve been too many definitions floating around out there, and no definitive one. But his new book seeks to wrap this matter up in a neater bow for us ADDers.

Executive Function: 6 Tools for ADHD Success

He breaks down EF into six ‘mind tools’ that together make for a kind of Swiss Army knife for adult ADHD. They go a little something like this:

  1. Self-Restraint: Ability to inhibit your automatic actions/reactions.
  2. Self-Awareness: Ability to monitor yourself and what you’re doing.
  3. Hindsight Informing Foresight: Ability to visualize past imagery and make better-informed choices.
  4. Self-Speech: Ability to talk to yourself privately with instructions.
  5. Self-Regulation of Emotions: Ability to control your emotional state, a natural ADHD treatment that requires practice! Take it from me!
  6. Problem-Solving: Ability to play with ideas in your mind to create constructive solutions.

For me, each one of these is a juicy box of possible topics to riff on – cuz each conjures one or more ADHD alternative treatment strategies that are either somehow expressed in the ADD Crusher™ videos, or that I’ve begun writing/developing for future Crusher™ videos. So if I were to let loose on all of these, I’d write a freakin’ book. I’ll spare both of us and, for now, just talk about Self-Restraint and how understanding it can be put to work for us.

If self-restraint is the opposite of impulsiveness, then we ADDers reaaallly suck at it. Even a cursory look at the role of impulsivity in the ADDer’s life explains much of the pain in our often tortured existence.

  • It’s the unintentially offending remark that alienates a friend or acquaintance.
  • It’s the poorly considered – or the NOT-AT-ALL considered – purchase of something we don’t need…and the financial woes that result.
  • It’s the walking out of the house without our keys…or phone…or child.

The Pause That Refreshes

These are all areas where a PAUSE could be enough self-restraint to mitigate the bad results. Yes, the pause is the thing. If you could pause to first consider the impact of your words, you’d have the opportunity to edit them. If you could pause to first consider how stupid buying that motorcycle is right now, you might recall that you just bought one last week. If you could pause to inventory your important personal items, tasks, family members, etc. In other words, you could change the course of what follows.

This raises two questions. One, if I’m inherently impulsive, how the @#$%$ am I supposed to remember to pause?!? And two, even if it occurs to me to pause, what do I do in that pause to make things any better?

How to Cause the Pause

We’re gonna need an external cue that reminds us at the appropriate time to pause – or at least to be ready to pause. And here’s the cue: entrance/exit. If you were able to associate the idea of entrance and/or exit with preparedness to pause, you’d be much more likely to do so and reap the benefits of self-restraint. And by this I mean both literal and figurative entrances/exits. To wit:

  • When you enter a room full of people or enter into a conversation or argument, this is your cue to pause and be prepared to exercise self-restraint.
  • When you enter a store or enter an e-commerce website, this is your cue to pause and ask yourself if you’re about to make an impulsive purchase.
  • When you exit your house, that doorway is your cue to pause and pat down your body to be sure you have everything you need; and when you exit your car, before you slam that locked door or trunk lid shut, pause to make sure your keys are firmly in your hand.

Awareness of how exective function plays into life’s successes and failures is one of the natural ADHD treatments utilized by the great coaches.

Stop…Feel…Go!

And you can see in the above examples the answer to the second pause-related question – i.e, once you’ve caused the pause, you need to execute what I call Stop/Feel/Go. You stop your motion to feel your emotions, feel your surroundings or literally feel your pockets/keys/phone – and only then permit yourself to go forth.

Stop Feel Go ADHD Solution

 

I’ve been doing and teaching this for years – but listening to Barkley made me realize this is absolutely foundational to strong Executive Function. Thanks, Dr. Barkley!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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How to Find the Right ADHD Coach for You

Following on last month’s Crusher blog on the benefits of ADHD coaching, figured a good next step was to drill down a bit into just how to pick the right coach or coaching program for YOU. After all, there are said to be some 1,000 ADHD coaches in the US and Canada alone, any of whom could potentially work with you locally or remotely. (I was with a whole bunch of the top coaches on the planet last week at the ACO conference where I presented some coaching best practices that I call “Practical Zen Brain Hacks” — more on those powerful alternative ADHD solutions soon.)

Remind Me. Why Is ADHD Coaching a Good Idea?

If you’re serious about pursuing alternative strategies to crush your ADD so that it’s no longer running your life; if you really want to better understand the behaviors that have held you back; if you want to be more effective at work or school or parenting or just in everyday life…then an ADHD coach is worth at least looking into.

Ultimately, the right coach can:

  1. Help you create positive new habits
  2. Help you discover various paths toward success, and…
  3. Be there as an accountability buddy

Success-Failure-ADHD-strategies

OK, I’m Curious. What’s Next?

Do some searching for qualified ADD coaches online. There are a bunch of directories to be found with a simple search for, um, ‘ADHD coach directory’. But the shortcut is to look to trusted organizations like…

ADDCA (ADD Coach Academy)
ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization)
ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association)

Check out all of them. Also, check out these Crusher-recommended coaches. They’re great coaches from many states across the country – but remember that coaches can work with you from anywhere on the planet.

Scour a couple of these directories to get a sense of the range of offerings. You’ll find some coaches specialize – for instance, in students, or teens, or parents/families, or executives, etc. Of course make note of their credentials, as some are more seasoned than others (although a newly minted coach could end up being perfect for you, so don’t let that be the only criterion). Then identify a few that “speak to you” – you like their tone, approach, etc.

OK, I’m Ready to “Interview” a Few

Once you’ve identified a handful you think you might like, give them a call or shoot an email with some questions, like…

  • What’s your relationship to ADHD and what got you into coaching?
  • How many clients do you currently work with?
  • How will we work together (e.g., frequency and method of sessions)?
  • How will we define progress or success?
  • What is your overall coaching philosophy?

Don’t make a commitment right then and there – make sure you’ve spoken to all of your short-listers, then marinate on it for a day or two. As you do, consider the pricing for each coach in the context of the comfort- and confidence-level you have after your ‘interviews’. This is important, because you don’t want to nickel-and-dime such an important decision. The results you get from the right coaching relationship will easily outweigh the dollar costs of the sessions.

Indeed, a great coaching relationship can help you grow, mitigate miseries and even develop your ADHD gifts. Make it happen — take action if you’re so inclined!

-Alan

P.S. — If the timing or funding isn’t in place for a coach right now, consider a “virtual coach” like ADD Crusher™ Videos and Tools — they’re endorsed by the top coaches around the world and many use our tools in their coaching practice. I kid you not. -ab

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a library of over 100 videos teaching hacks and strategies that “unleash the power of your unique brain” to beat procrastination, get prioritized and take control of your time. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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The Benefits of Coaching as ADHD Alternative Treatment

Break Through Barriers

In just a few days, I’ll be heading to Phoenix to speak at the ADHD Coaches Organization conference — my third year in a row, and it’s always a great gathering. Which brings me to the topic of ADHD coaching: In my series of #CrusherTips on Twitter, I recently tweeted, “Hire an #ADHD coach. Even if 4 a few sessions, u can make huge strides,” and got quite a few re-tweets on it. I think a lot of ADHD adults would LOVE to try a coach but, as I’ll outline in a moment, barriers get in their way. I’ll help crush those barriers, but first let’s outline what ADHD coaching is all about, and why it’s more and more mainstream for those seeking alternative ADHD treatments.

 

What’s It All About, Coachie?

You’ve no doubt heard of career coaching, executive coaching and maybe even life coaching. Why would an executive need coaching? Why would anyone need coaching on “life”? Well, for one, neither careers nor specific jobs nor life come with an instructional textbook, yet the more you know about the possibilities in your career/job/life, the more likely you can be more successful and fulfilled.

But secondly, even if you had the textbook (i.e., a pretty good fix on what you want and how to get it), think about the difference between just reading a college textbook, vs. having a star professor walk you through it. The combination of expertise, objectivity and partnership from that third party can be the difference between doing so-so…and totally CRUSHING IT.

ADHD coaching is similar to other coaching branches, in that…

  • It’s based on a partnership between you and your coach…
  • Coaching sessions might focus on a particular issue or problem you’re having, and…
  • The coach will offer objective insights and perhaps a range of different approaches to tackle the problem.

Ultimately, a good coach can help you create positive new habits, help you discover various paths toward success, and be there as an accountability buddy.

 

If It’s a Great ADD Alternative Remedy, Why Isn’t Everybody Doing It?

Several reasons. And not necessarily valid ones. Here are five Barriers to ADHD Coaching – each one CRUSHED:

  1. General Awareness: “I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as an ADHD coach.” See above. CRUSHED.
  2. Qualified Awareness: “I wasn’t aware of the benefits of ADHD coaching.” See above. El CRUSHISIMO.
  3. D.I.Y. Syndrome: “I know about ADHD coaching and the supposed benefits – but I can do this myself.” Ya, how’s that workin’ so far? OK, even if you’re in pretty good stead, don’t you want to kick life into a higher gear? Yours to CRUSH.
  4. Cost: “It’s probably too expensive.” OK, there’s definitely bucks involved, but coaches span a wide range of fee levels — and there’s always group coaching as a lower-cost alternative. Le CRUSHETTE.
  5. Procrastination: “I’m in, baby!! But, um, just haven’t gotten around to reaching out to a coach yet. But I will, soon!” See below! And put it on auto-CRUSH.

OK, I’ve done my job. Now you do yours. If so inclined, take action and hit this link to Crusher-recommended coaches. They’re all amazing coaches from many different states across the country – but know that coaches can work with you from anywhere on the planet.

And if you REALLY want to get serious, you can take a basic course about ADHD – any maybe embark on a path learn to be a coach yourself – at the ADD Coaches Academy.

When at the ACO conference, I’ll post about how to pick the best coach for you.

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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The Risk-Taking Gene as Alternative ADHD Treatment

Having established in the last post that ADDers tend to possess the ADHD “risk-taking gene” – I suggested that there is a way to go beyond the inherent RISKS of having it (um, addiction, climbing high things, jumping off of high things, exceeding 160mph, etc.), to see its potential BENEFITS.

The ADHD Risk-Taking Gene in Creativity

The New York Times recently did a piece on Craig Venter, the guy who…

  • Decoded the human genome
  • Created the first synthetic organism
  • Charted a worldwide sailing trip during which he idendified more new species than anyone in history…
  • …and who is now plotting the creation of a man-made microscopic “bug” that will one day clean up oil spills, or one that “could swim in a pond and soak up sunlight and urinate automotive fuel”….or one “that could live in a factory and gobble exhaust and fart fresh air.”

How does he think up this stuff? As the Times continues, “He may not appear to be thinking about these things. He may not appear to be thinking at all. He may appear to be riding his motorcycle through the California mountains, cutting the inside corners so close his kneepads skim the pavement. This is how Venter thinks. He also enjoys thinking on the deck of his sailboat, halfway across the Pacific Ocean in a gale, and while snorkeling naked in the Sargasso Sea surrounded by Portuguese men-of-war. When Venter was growing up in San Francisco, he would ride his bicycle to the airport and race passenger jets down the runway. As a Navy corpsman in Vietnam, he spent leisurely afternoons tootling up the coast in a dinghy, under a hail of enemy fire.

“What’s strange about Venter is that this works — that the clarity he finds when he is hurtling through the sea and the sky, the dreams he summons, the fantasies he concocts in his most unhinged moments of excess actually have a way of coming true.”

This is the risk-taking gene in ACTION!! You see, Venter understands how taking risk – injecting stimulation into his thinking sessions – opens the window to creativity. It’s a form of meditation – much like the meditative state I enter when doing 160mph on a motorcyle (on a race track, of course – NEVER on the street, which is risk of the very stupid kind).

The Risk-Taking Gene in Business

ADHD TakeARisk1We’ve all heard the stats about entrepreneurs being disproportionately represented by our ADHD brethren (and sistren, if that’s a word). Surely, this has a lot to do with our disdain for rigid career paths that begin in a cubicle and end in a bigger cubicle with maybe a window. And certainly has to do with our hyperactive mind’s desire to always be trying something new, exciting, even scary. But it’s also that genetic code that says, “Hey, I’m willing to sell all my crap and move to Montana to start an organic horse radish farm…or build a freakin’ race track…or both!” All great entrepreneurs possess the risk-taking gene – or they wouldn’t be entrepreneurs…they’d be kickin’ back in their cubicle.

The Risk-Taking Gene as Alternative ADHD Treatment

In ADD Crusher™ Video I, I teach the power of two “nagging desires” – to keep the fires of forward movement burning – a “negative nag” and a “positive nag”. The negative nag can be the collection of stupid things you’ve done (many, thanks to your risk-taking gene) and maintaining a healthy regret to ensure you don’t dope off again. Your positive nag might be your strong desire to have independence – career, financial, personal, or otherwise – and your risk-taking gene can help carry you along that path, keeping you from weaseling out of tough decisions or following the path of least resistance. In this sense, the gene can be a form of alternative ADHD treatment!

Of course, this is not to say that we should be running around taking unnecessary risks. It is simply to say that there are impulses and tendencies we have that don’t ALWAYS have to be viewed negatively. Listen to your ADD DNA. Take some smart risks…and reap the rewards.

To Risk is to Crush…

– Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Risk-Taking, Stimulation and ADHD

We ADDers are said to possess the “risk-taking gene” – that bit of DNA that makes us chase stimulation beyond what would normally satisfy non-ADDers.

The ADHD Gene

In her book, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, author Katherine Ellison tracks her family history back to immigrants who couldn’t help but seek the new – despite many risks along the way – and leave their less hyperactive cousins back in the Old Country. She notes that America in particular has a disproportionate number of people with this let’s-pick-up-and-move-again gene.

ADHD RiskTakingGene

America’s Unique Place in the ADD / ADHD World

We are indeed a nation of immigrants who were A) antsy as hell in their home countries and B) willing to risk all to come to a new continent. Now, I’m not saying that we’re a land of ADDers, but you do have to ask yourself…

  • Why IS America so full of risk-takers?
  • Why ARE we the creators of Jazz and Rock n’ Roll – the two most ADD-infused musical forms that ever were?
  • Why were WE the ones to impulsively venture to the moon?
  • Why do we seem to own so many land speed records? Is it just because we boast the Bonneville Salt Flats? I don’t think so.

For ADDers, Risk Can Bite…and Bestow

It’s in our genes. And this is why I find myself at motorcycle race tracks so often, along with a whole bunch of other ADDers. We love the noise, the speed, the risk – and most of us love it not just from the grandstands, but from the seat of a bike…on the racetrack.

Of course, our risk-taking gene is what gets us into crashes (as my 8-inch titanium plate with seven screws holding my shoulder together will attest) and plenty of other trouble. But next post, I’ll go out on a limb and propose how we ADDers can put that gene to work for us.

Stay Risky, My Friends!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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3 Special Challenges ADHD Women and Girls Face

Girls-and-Women-ADHDA while back I wrote a blog on the sad lack of ADHD awareness both around the world and even here in the U.S. The lack of awareness obviously makes things worse for ADD sufferers and those around them. But I failed to capture in that blog a major segment of society that gets a triple-whammy from low awareness: girls and women. Let me explain why it’s a three-fer…

Whammy #1: General Lack of Awareness and Diagnosis

We are – or should be – aware of the many costs of general ADHD ignorance. Higher medical costs, criminal system costs (ADHD women AND men are very disproportionately represented among prison populations, which I blogged about last March), lost business productivity, etc. Not to mention the personal misery and underachievement that accompany un-diagnosed and un-treated ADD/ADHD. That’s a whammy for both genders. But…

Whammy #2: The Under-Diagnosis of Girls vs Boys

Even in advanced Western nations where we’re supposedly enlightened about ADHD, the stereotype of the ADD kid as a bouncing-off-the-walls boy is the dominant perception. Girls, less likely to be of the hyperactive type, are more likely to fall through the cracks in their critical school years. It’s also surmised that girls try harder at school and may have better grades, further masking their condition.

As a result, boys are diagnosed between three and nine times as much as girls. Some research suggests that even when teachers recognize symptoms of ADHD in girls, it doesn’t get reported as much as for boys. So as awful as under-diagnosis is for everyone, it’s whacking our daughters and sisters harder.

Whammy #3: The Uniquely Ugly Outcomes for Girls and Women

Being a male who just barely avoided major bodily harm, dodged the long arm of the law on many occasions and probably cheated death once or twice, I know first hand the uglier possibilites of undiagnosed ADD. For everyone, it’s associated with lower levels of education, slower career advancement, more smoking and alcohol/substance abuse, etc. But here comes the icing on the triple-whammy cake (if you can call it icing): ADHD women and girls face some uniquely ugly statistics that men don’t face…

  • Unplanned pregnancy: Impulsive ADHD women are seven times more likely to become pregnant
  • A high incidence of eating disorders and obesity
  • With a higher divorce rate among ADHD adults, women usually end up on the shorter end of the economic stick when that happens – and typically maintain single-parent care of the affected kids.

It’s Getting (a Little) Better, Thanks to Some Champions

ADD writer/blogger Zoë Kessler has done a great service to her gender by often blogging and vlogging on this issue (and I thank her for some of the stats reported above). But one woman, Dr. Patricia Quinn, has made a laser-focused mission of helping girls and women – with a range of websites, books and support organizations I encourage you to explore by Googling her name. Or, to quickly learn more about girls’/women’s issues, a great primer is her archived interview on Attention Talk Radio back in December 2011. Give it a listen, and give some thought to how we can help undo this triple injustice to our mothers, sisters and daughters…and all AHDH women.

-Alan

PS – and speaking of women, wanted to share this nice endorsement from a prominent coach who helps a lot of ADHD women…”Alan Brown’s ADD Crusher videos are comprised of practical strategies to overcome the day-to-day impairments of ADHD that get in the way of success.  He speaks from the heart and experience since he, too, has ADHD.  Do you need another way to compete with your ADHD symptoms?  Go to his site and try his videos!”  – Karen K Lowry, RN, MSN, ADHD Coach, AAC

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

Image: NCPA

 

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Finding Alternative ADHD Treatment in Our Dark Past

I was interviewed a while back by Jeff Copper on Attention Talk Radio. They’ve on occasion done interviews with various folks called “behind the scenes” – a sort of “unplugged” version of the show where ADHD personalities can let loose with tales of the darker/funnier side of their ADD.

MessToSuccessLg

My Undiagnosed ADHD Past: The G-Rated Version

I love telling stories about my dark years – mainly the years in my 20’s when I had no idea what ADHD was, let alone that I was an epic ADDer. A lot of the stories are beyond “G”-rating, but even the ugliest episodes are worth remembering and retelling, because they shed light on the nature of ADHD and inspire me NOT to revisit those days or those behaviors (more about that in a moment).

Some highlights of my undiagnosed, untreated adult ADHD, much of which will likely sound familiar to many of you:

  • Banged up or totaled very car I ever got my hands on, including at least 2 dents on roofs (that I can remember). How do you dent a roof?? Well, flipping it over is one way, but there are others — trust me, I know.
  • When you crack up 8 motorcycles, you’re lucky to be alive – though most of those were on a race track, which is way safer than on the street believe it or not. I crashed one just a few weeks ago!
  • Alcohol was my escape – and my constant companion.
  • Drugs were my self-medication (though I didn’t realize it at the time).
  • Crime (most minor, a few major ones) for which I never got caught, amazingly.

I still think I’m on the verge of getting caught for stuff I did, or somehow in trouble. I see a cop car, and I think he’s looking right at me and knows every bad thing I’ve done! And on some level or another, nearly ALL adult ADDers – particularly those who went undiagnosed for a long time – have this kind of baggage. But, there are lessons to be drawn from our darker days…

Lessons from Dark Days Can Support Alternative ADHD Treatment Efforts

As I’ve said in this space many times, there are forms of alternative ADHD treatment in not only hard-fought changes to life habits, but also in simple acts and even simple thoughts and keener awareness. Here are lessons from my past that likely mirror some that any previously undiagnosed ADHD adult might have:

  1. Understand your past . Know why you did what you did. For instance, I did drugs because I was self-medicating; I committed crimes because of stimulation-seeking and willingness to do stupid things for peer approval.
  2. Come to terms with it . Don’t regret it – see it as part of the “quilt” that makes up your interesting life history. You’re your stories!
  3. Use the painful memories as forward-moving fuel . This is what I call a Negative Nag, which can combine with a Positive Nag to provide consistently strong MOTIVATION (Way 2 in Video I).
  4. Know that we ADDers have the risk-taking, stimulation-seeking gene – and most importantly, see the difference between stupid risk-taking and worthy risk-taking.

There’s one more section of this blog – the ADHD strategies I developed to emerge from the darkness. But I’m running a bit long, so I’ll pick up on those in a later blog (they’re of course the foundation of what’s taught in the ADD Crusher Videos, which you can preview here.

And By the Way…

Whether you’re a regular Attention Talk Radio listener or not, I announced on the show a special discount code for ATR listeners: ATR15. If you’re reading it here, you’re entitled to use it for 15% off any purchase at ADDCrusher.com. Go for it!!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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