The Imagination in ADHD

I have ADHD.  That means I have one hell of an imagination.  But is having a potent imagination a blessing or a curse?  Centuries ago Samuel Johnson, who had one hell of an imagination himself and also fit the profile of ADHD, wrote about “that hunger of imagination which preys incessantly upon life, and must always be appeased by some employment.”

Our imagination is hungry, we who have the condition so misleadingly called ADHD.  I say misleadingly because the last thing we suffer from is a deficit of attention.  To the contrary, we possess an abundance of attention.  Our challenge always is to control it.

The most difficult part of our mind to control is our imagination.

Hungry?  It’s ravenous.  It must be fed. It knows no feeding schedule, but when it feels the need, it lets us know.   If we can then find employment, to use Johnson’s word, for our imagination in some pleasant or constructive project, scheme, or other undertaking, then our imagination becomes our ally, even proof of our genius, our originality, our way of changing the world even.  When suitably employed in creating something of value to us or to others, then we give thanks to our genes and our Creator for this gift called imagination we did nothing to earn but can never abandon.

However, when we cannot find suitable employment for this hungry faculty over which we have so little control, why then it turns on us with a ferocity others can’t understand. It sets about:

  • devouring us,
  • ripping away at our self regard, our
  • feeling of security in the world, our
  • confidence in a bountiful future, and our
  • actual grip on reality, on our own sanity.

What happens when our imagination is not fed?

When not fed by some suitable employment, our imagination turns into an:

  • untamed and vicious beast, an
  • an ugly, salivating monster,
  • our worst enemy, made all the worse and far, far more dangerous by being of us, in us, and always with us.

We can to nothing to dispose of it or rip it out of our minds.  To quiet it we sometimes turn to drugs, alcohol, or compulsive behaviors like gambling, spending, or sexual escapades.  It is the rapacious hunger of imagination, unable to find suitable employment, that turns so many of us who have ADHD into addicts and compulsive people of all kinds.

But is also that hungry, never-satisfied imagination that turns so many of us into:

  • artists,
  • inventors,
  • discoverers,
  • builders, and
  • creators of all stripes and types.

It is that hunger of imagination that drives the man with ADHD always onward in the lifelong search for something “commensurate to his capacity for wonder”.

Were our capacity for wonder not so great, were we not so predisposed to imagine greater than what ordinary life offers up, we would not be driven all but mad by our need to fill that capacity for wonder–to create the perfect song, or swing, or double helix, or arc, or love, or empire.  Had we punier, less intrusive imaginations, we could relax.  But because we can envision the ideal, because we can imagine perfect love, perfect symmetry, perfect prose, or perfect beauty of any kind, then we can never rest easy until we create it.

Which, of course, means we can never rest easy.

So, tell me, does this hell of an imagination create heaven, or hell?  Is it a blessing or a curse?  If you ask me, it’s both.  I have no choice but to live with it, allow it its shabby stall in my mind, feed it best as I can, and try to stay on the sane side of life as it works its way with me.

Watch Dr. Hallowell’s YouTube video on Tapping Into Your Imagination

If you wonder if you have ADHD, click here to learn about the symptoms of ADHD.

Don’t let the Corona Virus Infect Your Productivity.

Having difficulty staying focused and productive while working from home?  Then CoreCoaching is the antidote to keep the barrage of Corona Virus news and these uncertain times from infecting your productivity.

Now that you’re working on your own time from home, DISTRACTION looms large and  that can spell TROUBLE.

You need structure to work well from home.

That’s why CoreCoaching with Rebecca Shafir, M.A., C.C.C. can help. By providing effective, practical and non-medication solutions, Rebecca will help you get things done, done well and done on time. Rebecca’s coaching and training approach builds the core skills and routines that enable success at home, at the workplace and in one’s personal life.

Sessions can be conducted by phone, Skype or FaceTime.  You can do this. It’s easy – just call Rebecca to set up a structure for managing distractions and getting your work done, done well and on time.

You may only need a one session consultation that includes a follow up session, or weekly support to sustain a streak of productivity.

Whatever it takes to get you on track, Rebecca will make it happen.

Schedule your complimentary chat.

Contact Rebecca Shafir, executive function coach at the Hallowell Center Metrowest at 978-255-1817 or email her at: RebeccaShafir@gmail.com.

See www.MindfulCommunication.com

CLICK HERE to learn about other Coaching Services available at The Hallowell Center Boston MetroWest.

Testimonials

Amy P., a college junior writes, “Rebecca ,I’m freaking out. I’ve worked so hard this semester and now that I’m home, gone is the structure that was making things work for me. My parents are meddling in my work and that’s making me anxious! I feel like I’m back in high school. I need your help!”

Ari Y., an attorney at a large law firm writes, “The transition to working from home is not going well. My willpower to stick to a schedule and get work done here is daunting. How do I manage the distractions, the panic all around me and stay on track? It’s just Day 3 and I’ve got four big documents to send in next week. The virus is a bad thing, but losing clients will really make me ill! Would coaching help? “

ADHD and Organizing Your Space

Humorous though it may seem, disorganization can plague your soul and wreak havoc in your life. Disorganization is especially pronounced in people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) People with ADHD have trouble organizing things. They have trouble organizing time, their thoughts, and data.

Adults with ADHD

Adults with ADHD tend to “organize” by putting things into piles that, over time, grow and proliferate like weeds. Living in such a disorganized environment, whether in the workplace or at home, is like having cobwebs in the brain. Fortunately, there are some useful devices and new habits you can employ to restore a measure of order and clarity.

Because the ADHD brain is low on filing cabinets, you need to set up more filing cabinets outside the brain. In other words, you need to replace the piles with files, so to speak. You need to establish some structure in your daily life that will allow you to make up for what’s missing internally in your mind.

Children with ADHD

Some of the most common occurrences of disorganization in children with ADHD, manifests itself in:

  • messy backpacks,
  • missing homework assignments and
  • lost school supplies, or
  • their phone to name a few of the most common occurrences.

Parents of children with ADHD devote a good deal of time to helping them get organized, but the effort need not feel oppressive in any way. Daily routines and chores are easier to remember (and can even be fun) when written out on a color-coded checklist.

Furthermore, by breaking down all the steps, even the simple ones like “brush teeth” and “make the bed,” can make the morning less stressful for the whole family.

Organizational Tools

An alarm clock is an example of structure. So is a key chain, as well as a basket to put the key chain in every day when you get home.  If you’re always losing your phone, keys or other items, then the Tile Pro is a helpful tool in locating misplaced items.

Preset alarms serve as helpful, handy reminders for everything from time to do chores to time to take daily medications. While, weekly planners are indispensable tools for organizing and prioritizing homework assignments. In addition, they serve as helpful reminders, for example, to bring a special t-shirt or snack to school or pick up your dry cleaning on the way home.

In the world of ADHD, there is NOW and NOT NOW, which is why a Time Timer is a helpful  tool for managing homework.  Feeling the passage of time helps to develop time management skills.  Begin by setting it for 20 minutes to begin every study session or whatever project it is you’re working on. Then break for 5 and reset for another 20.

And thank heavens for Post-It Notes, which serve to remind your ADHD child, partner or yourself about a myriad of tasks. Setting up these tools helps provide a critical structure so that over time they’ll learn to initiate and use these tools on their own.

Get Well Enough Organized

Most people will counsel you to get super-organized. I urge you to ignore that advice. There’s no need to go overboard with any of these organizing tips. People with ADHD need not become super-organized neat freaks – a goal that is usually out of their reach anyway. They just need to become well enough organized to achieve their goals.

It’s all about mastering basic tools of organization like:

  • making lists;
  • keeping important things all in one easy-to-access place;
  • creating flash cards and other memory aids to help remember important information; and,
  • knowing where to find things quickly without going on a massive treasure hunt every day.

Books on getting Organized

There are some good books on getting organized written specifically for people with ADHD. A good one is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau. It has many specific tips and methods that will help people with ADHD.

Although not a book on organizing, Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child  gives parents an upbeat and encouraging new approach to living with and helping their ADHD child. The practical strength-based techniques Drs. Hallowell and Jensen present put the talents, charms, and positive essence of the child ahead of any presumed shortcomings.

ADHD Coaching

If you’re unable to get “well enough” organized on your own, have an ADHD coach can help. At The HALLOWELL  Centers we recognize that even the best treatment plans can get sidetracked without the proper “follow through” tools and mechanisms. Our Coaching services utilize the latest in applied psychology,  organizational theory and brain science to help get you on track and keep you on track. Learn more HERE.

Or you can learn more about coaching by listening to Dr. Hallowell’s podcast: Learn all about ADHD and Coaching.

* This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

ADHD in the Elderly

In the Wall Street Journal, on 2/25/20, there was a report on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in older people.

ADHD in the Elderly

I’ve been treating “older people,” let’s say people over 60 for decades.  It’s a myth that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) only occurs in children.  A myth perpetuated by unwarranted requirements in the diagnostic manual that symptoms must appear prior to the age of 11.  The fact is that the symptoms of ADHD can appear at any age, and when they do, they deserve to be treated.

The oldest person I ever treated for ADHD was 86.  Once he discovered that what had been holding him back his entire life was not the depression he and his doctors had ascribed it to for decades but rather ADHD; once he got off the anti-depressants he’d been talking, without benefit for decades; and once he comprehended the magnitude of ADHD and how it impacted all elements of his life, this new knowledge filled him up with hope.  No longer did he see himself as incapable of achieving his lifelong dream of writing a novel.

Luckily, the stimulant medication I prescribed for him worked, and worked brilliantly.  It caused no side effects, other than appetite suppression, which he was able to deal with simply by eating even when he wasn’t very hungry.

A New Lease on Life

With the new lease on the life that the diagnosis of, education about, and medication for ADHD provided, this man was able, at last, to write the novel he’d been wanting to write for 50 years.  He was able to die with his dream fulfilled.

This is just one of many stories I could tell about diagnosing ADHD for the first time in a person over 60, and treating it with stimulant medication.  The most overlooked group is women.  But older men routinely get missed as well.

As long as the doctor monitors possible side effects, like weight loss, elevated heart rate or elevated blood pressure, as well as insomnia, agitation, or general unpleasant feelings, it is entirely safe to prescribe stimulants to people of any age.   More than safe, 80% of the time it is hugely beneficial.

Making Sure The Diagnosis is Accurate

You just want to be sure the diagnosis is accurate.  It takes a careful and experienced doctor to tell ADHD from early Alzheimer’s or other dementing process; depression; anxiety disorders; anemia; hypothyroidism; or other medical conditions that can confuse the picture.

But if you have a good doctor, keep in mind the possibility of ADHD before you accept far more dire diagnoses like dementia, depression, or encephalopathy.

As I’ve said many times. ADHD is a good news diagnosis.  Once you find out you have it—no matter what you age might be—you life can only improve.

Learn More

ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment – What You Should Know

Think you might have ADHD? Click here to learn How The Hallowell Centers Can Help You.  Getting started is easy.  Book a free 15-minute patient care consult at one of our Hallowell Center locations.

 

How Do We Do It?

Since the last time I wrote to you all in this space, three events have dominated the news: Trump’s impeachment and trial; Kobe Bryant’s sudden death, along with his daughter and seven others; and the coronavirus outbreak.

One question that trio of events brings to my mind is: how do we do it? How do we cope with life? How do we manage, when each day holds the possibility of more terrible news.

Imagine, first, the impeachment and trial of our President. That alone could bring us all to the edge, regardless of our political leanings. We’ve gotta wonder, what is happening to our country?

Then, one of the superstars in our sports world if not the world in general, a man millions of children and adults looked up to, admired, took hope from, and felt immense pride in having seen or cheered, suddenly dies in a helicopter accident along with his daughter and friends. That stunned us, as it hit the news on a Sunday afternoon. It came so totally out of nowhere, a Nowhere we all fear whenever we stop and think. After all, Nowhere could hit us any day.

Gathering momentum all the while was the news of a new deadly virus, which is dangerously easy to spread, coming to life in China and beginning its dissemination, infecting and possibly killing who knows how many, in how many ways, in how many countries, and for how long. Panicked, millions of people even in the United States bought masks, while greedy opportunists stockpiled them.

And these are just the stories we all know of, national and international news, enormously distressing events we try to piece together each in our own ways, but also as a national and international community. Add to them the private stories each of us lives with; or the local stories on:

  • family tragedies and miseries;
  • the house down the street where we know something terrible is amiss but we don’t know how to help or if even help would be welcomed;
  • or the people who are in the ambulance whose siren is screaming outside right now, or will be soon;
  • there’s a mother who lost her teenage son to an accidental overdose,
  • a wife who lost her beloved husband way too soon to a heart attack while he was out jogging,
  • and the homeless woman who’s just trying to find food while preserving some shred of dignity.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “We live in a world that is bursting with sin and sorrow.” He also wrote “Life is everywhere a state in which there is much to be endured and little to be enjoyed.

Enough. I know. Of course, I don’t mean to be a total downer. I know, I know. We all need to look on the bright side, because, for sure, there is a bright side if we look hard enough.

But I do wonder, how do we manage?

Life keeps going on, the regular radio shows talk to us while we commute, the regular TV shows entertain us after dinner, we have our routines that propel us from get-up to go-to-sleep, and we find a way not to slip into too dark of a place.

Still, how do we do it? Selective denial? Jack Daniels? The right diversion? Prayer, meditation, travel, and the gym?

Those of you who read this column know by now where I am headed. You know I tout one solution over all others. And it is a solution we need now more than ever.

The Solution We Need Now

It is the solution that’s found in one another. And the solution found in connection. It’s also the solution whose essence is love, but whose ordinary existence is “How’s by you?” It’s free, connection is; it’s infinite in supply; and yet you’d think it was rare as spun gold as seldom as people turn to it.

Now more than ever. Reach out. Try, try, try not to judge one another. Try, try, try to move past the angry thought and roost instead in a place of forgiveness, humility, forbearance, and joy.

And roost with others. Invite over a friend. Make a lunch date with that person you haven’t seen. Speak well of someone for no reason other than you like that person.

When the News Is Bad

When the news is bad—and every day has always had bad news; Samuel Johnson, after all, lived in the 1700’s and look how bad he saw things to be, so we’re no worse off than people have always been—remember that you—we—do have each other.

We do, we really do, have someone we can go out and rag on life with; someone we can grab a beer with or maybe go dancing; someone who makes us laugh, even when skies are gray.

And we have dogs. For heaven’s sake, get a dog. And every day, do what I do and make a little gratitude list, if you don’t think it’s too hokey. And don’t think it’s too hokey. Don’t be one of those people Samuel Johnson said were “too refined ever to be pleased.” (Yes, I do have a thing for Samuel Johnson. More on that if you’d like in another column; just let me know.)

So when hope seems hard to come by, and you can’t figure out the why’s of all the bad stuff that happens, let alone the how-to-deal-with-its, just remember you have me and I have you and together—yes, world, together—we can keep each other on this side of despair.

Better yet, we can pave brand new paths toward joy.

 

 

Changing Your Perspective on ADHD

Most people who don’t have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) don’t understand it. They often associate ADHD with what is wrong with a person.  And when you receive a diagnosis of ADHD, you may feel shame, fear and self-doubt. So changing your perspective on ADHD is the first step in removing the stigma surrounding ADHD.

You see, I have ADHD and my daughter and one of my sons have ADHD.  I believe in emphasizing the positive traits of ADHD.  I think that people with ADHD represent some of the most fascinating, fun, and fulfilling of all the people I meet. However, words such as structure, supervision, reminders, and persistence don’t even begin to describe the magnitude of the task people with ADHD have to tackle every day, especially kids.

Children need their parents to understand their difficulties, and teach them to overcome those challenges. As parents, the best way to help your child is to start by changing your own thinking about ADHD. When explaining ADHD to a child, I say, “you have a turbo charged mind – like a Ferrari engine, but the brakes of a bicycle, and I’m the brake expert.” When ADHD is properly treated, children can achieve great heights: doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, dreamers, innovators, explorers and even Harvard grads. Founders of our country may have had ADHD. The flip-side of distractibility is curiosity.

Barriers Parents Face: Steps to Changing Your Perspective on ADHD

1. Educate yourself

By far, the biggest barriers for parents are denial, ignorance, and a refusal to learn. Dads and moms can dig in and simply refuse to listen to facts or reason. If this goes on too long, children can suffer severe damage, and families can be destroyed. The stakes are high, not only for the child, but the whole family. So you need to learn what ADHD is and what it isn’t. Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD in the first place. You need to understand what a positive attribute ADHD can be in your child’s life. So read books. Talk with professionals. Talk with other parents whose children have ADHD. You need to understand ADHD well enough to embrace it so you can help your child avoid unnecessary suffering, as that breaks kids rather than builds them up. It takes time, and effort, but it’s worth it.

2. Look for that special spark

In my daily practice, I see and treat kids with ADHD. Just being with them usually makes me smile. They invariably have a special something, a spark, a delightful quirk – which they sometimes try to hide, but which I usually can find. Then they relax, brighten up, and make me laugh and learn.

Look for that special something and help your child feel good about who s/he is. Identify his/her talents, strengths, interests and dreams. Teach him/her to see and believe in what s/he can do, and avoid the tendency to focus on what s/he can’t do. When you believe in your child, it makes it easier for him/her to believe, too.

3. Unconditional Love:

Let your love for your child carry the day. Tune out the diagnosticians and labelers and simply notice and nourish the spirit of your child for who s/he is. Providing this unshakable base of support will set the tone for all interactions to come. This is what builds self-esteem, confidence, and motivation, which in turn create joy and success in life.

Several studies suggest that loving acceptance by parents is the most important thing teens with ADD need in dealing with symptoms. Make sure that your child knows, every day, how much you love her. Showing your love and affection will buoy your child’s sense of hope and help the family weather criticism from outside sources.

This is what these kids need more than anything else: love that never gives up.

4. Reframe Challenges in terms of Mirror Traits:  Remind yourself and your child of the positive sides of the negative symptoms associated with ADD. By recognizing the mirror traits, you avoid the ravages of shame and fear.

ADHD Change Perspective

5. Surround yourself with Laughter:

Laughter is the best medicine. Surround yourself with people who can laugh. It is important to be able to regain a perspective that allows you to see the humor in all of the messes and fixes these kids can get into. Why wait to look back on something and laugh at it – go ahead and enjoy the ridiculousness of the situation in the moment.

When our kids begin to laugh at themselves, and not take themselves quite so seriously, it allows them to learn humility without shame, and adds to their moral character and their enjoyment of life.

Conclusion:

As a parent, how you approach your child’s ADHD will set the tone for how your child manages their ADHD. When you show them compassion and understanding, you teach them to love themselves and see their strengths. That will help them find the motivation they need to take control of their ADHD, one strategy at a time.

Adapted from Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and Peter S. Jensen, M.D., Ballantine, 2008.

Resources:

Check out the ADHD Workshops for adults and parents at the Hallowell Center NYC

Parenting with Impact Video Series on the Keys to Unlocking ADHD

Learn about the Zing Performance program, a non-medication treatment for ADHD

12 Practical Tips for Managing Adult ADHD

Over the years, Dr. Hallowell has invented and discovered practical tips to manage his ADHD. He’s also collected various tips from people of all ages on how they manage ADHD to live happy and successful lives.  You may not find all of these tips useful. However, just make note of the ones that ring true to you, and try and put them into use in your life. If you need help implementing them, ask someone else to help you do this.

 12 Practical Tips for Managing Adult ADHD*

*Adapted from Delivered from Distraction, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., John J. Ratey, M.D., Ballantine, 2005

1. Educate yourself. Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for managing ADHD is understanding it in the first place.  You need to learn what ADHD is, and what it is not. A diagnosis of the mind, like ADHD, must be fully understood if it is to be mastered and made good use of. At its best, ADHD can become an asset, rather than a liability, in a person’s life. But, for this to happen, the person has to develop a deep appreciation for how ADHD works within him or her. To understand ADHD, read books. talk with professionals and talk with other adults who have ADHD.  Soon you’ll be able to design your own tips to manage your ADHD.

2. Tomorrow Starts NOW. Make deadlines – In the world of ADHD there is NOW and NOT NOW.  You need to prioritize and avoid procrastination. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Then go on to the second and the third task.

3. Consider joining or starting a support group. Much of the most useful information about ADHD has not yet found its way into books, but remains stored in the minds of the people who have ADHD. In groups this information can come out. Plus groups are really helpful in giving the kind of support that is so badly needed. If you live in NYC, Dr. Hallowell offers a support group in his office. Learn more here.

4. Try to get rid of the negativity that may have infested your system if you have lived without knowing that what you had was ADHD. A good psychotherapist may help in this regard.

5. Get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is “well enough.” That doesn’t mean you have to be very well organized at all — just well enough organized to achieve your goals. Here are 10 tips to start 2020 off right.

6. Do what you are good at, instead of spending all your time trying to get good at what you’re bad at.

7. Choose “good” helpful addictions, such as exercise. Many adults with ADHD have an addictive or compulsive personality such that they are always hooked on something. Try to make this something positive.

8.  Understand mood changes and ways to manage them. Listen to Dr. Hallowell’s podcast on How ADHD Affects Emotion.

9. Sleep – Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. 

10. Learn how to advocate for yourself. Adults with ADD are so used to being criticized that they are often unnecessarily defensive in putting their own case forward.

11. Learn to joke with yourself and others about your various systems. If you can learn to be relaxed enough about the whole syndrome to be able to joke about it, others will forgive you much more easily.

12. Coaching. It is useful for you to have a coach, for some person near you to keep after you, but always with humor. Your coach can help you get organized, stay on task, give you encouragement or remind you to get back to work. Friend, colleague, or therapist (it is possible, but risky for your coach to be your spouse), a coach is someone to stay on you to get things done, exhort you as coaches do, keep tabs on you, and in general be in your corner. A coach can be tremendously helpful in treating ADHD.

Summer Camp for ADHD Brains

It’s not too soon to start making summer plans for the family. Long, school-free days can leave kids feeling restless and a bit unsettled. This is especially true for kids and teens with ADHD who, while grateful to escape the constraints of classroom schedules, benefit greatly from the predictability of daily routines.

This summer why not attend our ADHD Summer Adventures Camp for Families?

ADHD Summer CampIt’s like none other. It provides families with a fascinating week of learning, connecting, adventuring, reflecting and community-building. All members of the family are invited. Camp is suitable for siblings who do not have ADHD too.

The camp offers a mixture of ADHD education for parents through seminars and Q&As, and fun camp activities for kids, like kayaking, art and music. There’s also plenty of time set aside for families to spend quality time together.

The camp is held at the Leelanau School, situated on the stunning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. Families can choose to stay at the school in dorm-style lodging, or opt for other local accommodations nearby. It’s an incredible week that provides a strong foundation for families to build on throughout the year.

You’ll learn while you have fun!

ADHD Summer Camp Group 2019
2019 ADHD Family Summer Adventures Campers

Parents – I work with parents to share with them my 30+ years of experience with the strength-based approach to ADHD. You’ll learn how to help your child actually enjoy having ADHD while creating stronger family bonds.

Youth – Rob Himburg engages in fun activities with youths (ages 8 to 18) which build in strategies to improve executive functions. Kids will gain new insights for improving organization, time management, and self-advocacy and have fun doing it through adventure and play.

Limited Registrations Available with an EARLY BIRD SPECIAL UNTIL 2/29/20

REGISTER NOW!

In this mini podcast, camp alumnus and mom, Julie Christin, talks about her family’s experience, including the comfort of meeting other families who can relate, and how much she learned about raising a child with ADHD.

Learn more at Dr. Hallowell’s Summer Adventures ADHD Family Camp.

Questions? Please contact Sue Hallowell @ 781.820.0881.

Hope to meet you at camp,

Edward “Ned” Hallowell

ADHD The Key to the Best Outcome

People often ask me, “What’s the key to getting the best outcome in working with ADHD?”

There is no one key.  Watch out for simplistic solutions and the people who offer them. There is no one best remedy, there is no one best system, there is no one best medication or nutritional supplement.  And what works for one person will not necessarily work for you or your child.

However, having treated ADHD in children and adults for over 30 years now, and having ADHD as well as dyslexia myself, I can say with absolute certainty that while there is no one key, we do have a marvelous assortment of keys that open many of the doors untreated ADHD can seem to close.  The doors to success, personal fulfillment, joy, health, and lifelong satisfaction.

“The key” is to find the various keys that work for you.

The best way to do this is to work with a doctor who knows that vast array of available keys.  Sadly, such doctors can be hard to find.  If that’s the case for you, start with my books.  Start with Delivered from Distraction and SuperParenting for ADD.  Those books will show you many keys that might work for you or your child.  As you read, you will start to smile and fill up with knowledge and knowledge’s sibling, hope.

I can tell you for sure that there is always a realistic chance for major improvement.  So don’t settle for mediocre results.  People with ADHD are champions in the making.  Above all, I want you to know this just as surely as I know it. You, or your child, are champions in the making.  Let me help you get there, either through my books, or sign up for a free patient care consult and find out how The Hallowell Centers can help you.

Finally, the great mistake people make as they work with their ADHD or their child’s is settling for less than the best outcome.  Please don’t make that mistake yourself.

Next Steps:

If you think you or someone you know may have ADHD, learn what ADHD is and about Getting an ADHD Diagnosis.

Educate yourself about the signs of ADHD in Adults and in Children.

ADHD KeysIf you have a child with ADHD, then you probably try hard to figure out how to manage it. And sometimes, it feels like there are key secrets locked behind an iron door. Dr. Hallowell collaborated with Impact ADHD to create a  video and training program called: 4 Keys to Unlocking the Gifts of ADHD.

Special price of $35 for Dr. Hallowell’s followers.

If you’re looking for non-medication treatment for ADHD and Dyslexia, learn more HERE.

 

10 ADHD Tips To Start 2020 Off Right

People with ADHD can spend a lifetime dodging the necessity of organizing themselves. They avoid getting organized the way some people avoid going to the dentist: repeatedly postponing it as the problem gets worse and worse. The task of getting organized, one that bedevils us all, particularly vexes the ADHD mind.

As the new year approaches, I thought I’d share my top ADHD tips on performance management to help you start 2020 on the right track.

10 ADHD Tips on Performance Management*

1. External structure

Structure is the hallmark of the non-pharmacological treatment of the ADHD child. It can be equally useful with adults. Tedious to set up, once in place structure works like the walls of the bobsled slide, keeping the speedball sled from careening off the track. Make frequent use of:
  • lists
  • color-coding
  • reminders
  • notes to self
  • rituals
  • files

2. Color coding.

Mentioned above, color-coding deserves emphasis. Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color: files, memoranda, texts, schedules, etc. Virtually anything in the black and white of type can be made more memorable, arresting, and therefore attention-getting with color.

3. Use pizzazz.

In keeping with tip on color coding#2, try to make your environment as peppy as you want it to be without letting it boil over.

4. Set up your environment to reward rather than deflate.

To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADD’ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations.

5. Embrace challenges.

ADHD people thrive with many challenges. As long as you know they won’t all pan out, as long as you don’t get too perfectionistic and fussy, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.

6. Make deadlines.

7. Break down large tasks into small ones.

Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.

8. Prioritize. Avoid procrastination.

When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.

9. Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts.

Transitions are difficult for ADD’ers, and mini-breaks can help ease the transition.

10. Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket.

You never know when a good idea will hit you, or you’ll want to remember something else, it’s a good idea to keep a notepad handy.
If you missed my Distraction episode on Taking Back Control, LISTEN HERE to learn my easy-to-follow strategies for handling life and focusing on what matters most.

Learn more about ADHD.

*Adapted from Driven to Distraction.