For me, the Take-Home tip from this podcast – was the “Do Not Disturb” on your phone. Usually when writing, I leave my phone downstairs but today I didn’t by mistake – and I was tempted by the constant boings of push-notifications to read emails half way through. Damn, I then lost my thread.
Her idea to turn on the Do Not Disturb mode on the I-phone (if you swipe up from the bottom as if using the Torch, it is a “crescent moon” shape on the tool bar) is genius.
For all that scattered attention, mindwandering, forgetfulness and disorganization there is an even more confusing aspect to ADHD that is often cited as evidence for why the person can’t have it at all. Hyperfocus, the ability to lose time and be completely absorbed by some interesting occupation, and interesting is the crucial word here, seems to suggest that the adhder can pay attention when it suits them.
When Dr Ned Hallowell, the ADHD expert from America, came to the UK – I was surprised to learn that he controlled his own ADD symptoms with coffee rather than medication. Any ADHDer is likely to LOVE coffee, or have an on-off relationship with it, knowing that overly wired means that you just do stupid things faster. Here is a neuroscientist explaining how to use coffee to your best advantage….
Recently I took part in a double-blind randomised controlled medical trial for a cannabis inhaler to help in controlling ADHD symptoms. At the end of the six-week trial, I was later told that I was on the placebo – which was no surprise as the mouth puffer had no effect whatsoever. While I wasn’t expecting to feel euphoria, I expected to feel something – and quickly sensed I was puffing a dud. However, the trial run out of the Maudsley clinic in London, was evidence of the growing interest in CBD – Cannabis oil or medical marijuana – typically the extract of the plant without the THC, the part that makes you high. Continue reading “CBD – a help for ADHD?”→
Here in the Washington Post about what ADHD means to America’s children. It includes details of the first US national survey of medication among preschoolers. It makes positive and interesting reading. I like the Brain difference, rather than Brain deficit.
The British ADHD organization – ADDISS – ran a campaign a few years ago in ADHD awareness week (this year happening on October 14 ) called “ADHD IS real”. I can’t think of many Awareness weeks that have to focus on the fact that the condition they are campaigning about actually exists.
Few mental health issues seem to suffer from the same stigma as ADHD. When I asked the head of the UK ADDISS, Andrea Bilbow OBE, to explain to me why I could only find well-funded parenting groups for Autism and Aspergers in my area, and nothing for ADHD, she explained: “Autism has the Aaahh factor, people feel sorry for the sufferers or carers. ADHD is just seen as annoying”.
Two phrases that mean little, but that are cliches bandied about journalists. We journos love a catchy cliche, however unhelpful they are. This piece by Nicholas Hellen in yesterday’s Sunday Times is no different. The medication is not a chemical cosh, it’s a stimulant – that helps ADHD concentrate. They may become more focussed, but they don’t turn into zombies, or someone knocked out or whacked out on downers. And with around 3% of the population suffering from ADHD, many in the UK undiagnosed, particularly if adults, it is unlikely that they are over-prescribed in some areas, more likely to be underprescribed. I would look forward to getting hold of the data properly and checking it against the % of the population. Most likely the patchy provision for people in, say, Portsmouth – where fewer mental health adhd specialist nurses operate mean that it is hard to get a diagnosis.
I would expect that the above “postcode lottery” is not showing an over-precription of “chemical coshes” to children, but an “under-diagnosis” due to lack of CAMHS resourcing in the area.
Thanks to Scott Barry Kaufman for this great positive piece on the power of creativity and ADHD here in the Scientific American. The Author Kaufman suggests that there is a link between a fast brain that allows unfiltered messages to come through all the time, and unfettered imagination. Acting on impulse is not always bad – especially if you use those impulses to create something new. And working memory…pah, who needs it when it comes to artistic or scientific endeavour. Isn’t google our new working memory after all these days?