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Archive for July, 2012

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Getting Stuck After an Initial Burst of Improvement in Your ADHD ADD Treatment?

The initial burst may be followed by long, frustrating periods during which the person with ADHD—or the entire family—feels stuck, as if they are simply spinning their wheels instead of making the kind of progress they should be making. I call these periods of being stuck “spinning,” based on an acronym, S.P.I.N. The term sums up the usual causes of getting stuck:
“S” stands for Shame.
“P” stands for Pessimism and Negativity.
“I” stands for Isolation.
“N” stands for No Creative, Productive Outlet.
Getting un-stuck often depends on reversing the influence of some or all of the components of SPIN. Let me offer some suggestions on each element of SPIN and help you get un-stuck @ http://www.drhallowell.com/avoid-the-s-p-i-n-cycle-of-adhd/

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

ADHD Relationship Tips

In couples the symptoms of ADHD can be particularly vexing. The distractibility,  impulsivity, and excess energy associated with the syndrome can perturb intimate relationships in ways that leave each partner exhausted, angry, hurt and misunderstood.

This is doubly unfortunate because two people suffer. However, if the situation is subtly regulated, the ADHD couple can thrive and find satisfaction commensurate with the high energy the couple usually posses.

The following guidelines or “tips” might be helpful settling the chaos that is so often present in the ADHD relationship and moving on toward a satisfying mutual relationship of love and understanding.

  1. Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. There are many things that look like ADHD, from too much coffee to anxiety states in dissociative disorders to hyperthyroidism. Before embarking on treatment of ADHD consult with your physician to make sure what you have is really ADHD and not something else.
  2. Educate yourself about ADHD.   The more you and your mate know, the better you will be able t help each other.
  3. Declare a truce. After the diagnosis is made and you’ve learned about ADHD, take a deep breath and wave the white flag. You both need some breathing space to begin to get your relationship on new footing.
  4. Set up a time for talking. You need to talk to each other about ADHD – what it is, how it affects your relationship, what each of you wants to do about it. Don’t do this on the run, i.e., during TV commercials, while drying dishes, etc.  Reserve some time for yourselves to talk uninterrupted.
  5. Spill the beans. Tell each other what is on your mind. ADHD shows up in different ways in different couples. Tell each other how it is showing up between you, what is driving you cray, what you want to change, what you want to preserve. Get it all out on the table. Thy not to react until all the beans have been spilled.
  6. Make a Treatment Plan. Brainstorm with each other as to how to each your goals. You may want professional help with this phase, but it is a good idea to try starting it on your own.
  7. Add structure to your relationship. Make lists, use bulletin boards, notepads in strategic places like by the bed, in car, in bathroom. Write down what you want the other person to do and give it to him in the form of a list every day.
  8. Break the tapes of negativity. Many ADD couples have long ago taken on a resigned attitude of there’s no-hope-for-us.
  9. Use praise freely. Encouragement, too. Begin to play positive tapes.
  10. Don’t use ADHD as an excuse. Each member of the couple has to take responsibility for his or her actions. Don’t blame it on ADHD. On the other hand, while one mustn’t use ADHD as an excuse, knowledge of the syndrome can add immeasurably to the understanding one brings to the relationship.

More tips on ADHD and Relationships @ http://www.drhallowell.com/add-adhd/add-marriage/

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Change Your Perspective on ADHD



There are positive sides of the negative symptoms associated with ADHD, which I call the mirror traits.   By recognizing the mirror traits, you avoid the ravages of shame, fear, and diminished dreams.  For example, take distractibility, the hallmark negative symptom of  ADHD. What is distractibility but a turbocharged kind of curiosity? If your mind cannot resist going where enchantment leads it, and if your mind cannot compel itself to stay where it finds nothing of interest going on, is this necessarily bad? It can be bad, to be sure. If you’re highly distractible, you may get into a lot of car accidents. But on the other hand, your turbocharged curiosity may lead you to look into the nooks and crannies of life where important secrets and great discoveries hide themselves away.

By casting the trait in a neutral light and saying it could be good or it could be bad, you avoid the most dangerous of all learning disabilities, which are shame and fear. Shame and fear hold people back in life, indeed cripple them. ADHD need not do that. As I have stated before, unwrapped properly, ADHD becomes a gift, an ally. But part of  unwrapping it, is understanding that a given tendency need not be altogether bad, that there can be good in the bad, just as there can be bad in the good.

Here is a list of negative symptoms associated with ADHD along with their mirror traits, their positive, inseparable counterparts.

Negative Trait                           to        Accompanying     
Associated with ADHD                    Positive Mirror Trait                                                             

Hyperactive, restless              to            Energetic

Intrusive                                     to            Eager

Can’t stay on point                   to            Sees connections others don’t

Forgetful                                     to            Gets totally into what he or she is doing

Disorganized                             to            Spontaneous

Stubborn                                     to            Persistent, won’t give up

Inconsistent                              to            Shows flashes of brilliance

Moody                                         to            Sensitive

 The more you can reframe your child’s symptoms in terms of the mirror trait, the more accurate you’ll be in describing the totality of our child, rather than just the problematic part. The deficit-based model ignores strengths. This can be disastrous. Ignoring strengths tends to extinguish them, or at best, not develop them.

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Helping a Child with Anger

It is important to “work it out.” What is “working it out” all about?  Hear both points of view.  Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.  Make a deal.  Sign a contract.  The more you can do this with your children, the better.  When a dispute comes up, don’t impulsively bark out a response; instead, negotiate.  Teaching your child to learn to negotiate, make deals, initiate agreements, and stick to contracts provides him or her with a lifelong skill.  Successful adults are usually the ones who have mastered these skills. http://www.drhallowell.com/live-a-better-life/anger-aggression/

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Can a Doctor Prescribe Love?

By far the most powerful therapy for any of life’s difficulties is love.  By far the most powerful tool we have to bring out the best in a person is love.  The difference between a happy life and a sad one is the quality of love in that life. Modern psychiatry too often forgets the primary importance of love.  As psychiatrists increasingly simply diagnose and medicate, they miss the great opportunity to “prescribe” love.  I urge my patients to lead what I call a positively connected life. Loving connections can develop in many different ways.  You may feel a loving connection to members of your extended family, to your mate, to your children, to your friends.  You may also feel a loving connection to your pet, to your favorite beach, to a team you root for, to a club or organization, to a piece of music or poem or painting, to nature, to certain ideas, to God.  Loving connections lead to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.  They are free and readily available. To tap into their power, all you have to do is intend to do so.http://www.drhallowell.com/live-a-better-life/love/

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The Basic Ingredients of a Happy Life

The basic ingredients of a happy life are simple. They include friends and neighbors; relatives; some work you like; perhaps some pets; a club, or a church, or a team; maybe a garden or other passionate pastime or hobby; maybe a good book or a movie; and some hopes and memories, too. To relish the full pleasure of these connections, we have to delve deeply into them and make the most of them. We have to nourish them so they become as strong as they possibly can be. http://www.drhallowell.com/five-suggestions-for-improving-family-and-community-connections/

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